Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Jesse Sylvia Wins 2016 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open Main Event

2012 WSOP Main Event Runner Up Captures First WPT Title and $821,811 For The Win


When the underdog beats the favorite in football or basketball a common reaction from the sports punditry is, “That’s why we play out the games.” One team may be higher-rated, with the superior record and home court advantage, but they still have to go out and convert those advantages into a win. Like sports contests, poker tournaments aren’t decided on paper, either. Jesse Sylvia came into the final table of the 2016 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event as the shortest stack, while Farid Jattin held roughly 45 percent of the chips in play and nearly three times as many chips as the next largest stack. When all was said and done, though, Jattin finished sixth and Sylvia emerged victorious with his first WPT title and the $821,811 first-place prize.

Sylvia finished as the runner-up to Greg Merson in the 2012 World Series of Poker main event for $5,292,889. With this latest win he increased his career live tournament earnings to more than $6.7 million. He was also awarded 1,440 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, enough to move him into 129th place in the overall POY standings.

Although Sylvia did come into the six-handed final table as the shortest stack, he was far from in panic mode with over 30 big blinds to start. On the seventh hand of the night he tripled up through Jattin and Simon Lam, getting all-in holding the 4Spade Suit4Club Suit. Both of his opponents held ace-king and neither improved. Sylvia doubled through Jattin again a few orbits later, calling a five-bet all-in from Jattin with the AClub SuitKSpade Suit and holding against the 5Spade Suit4Club Suit. Only 22 hands into the final table and the two had reversed roles, with Sylvia taking a massive chip lead while Jattin was left as the shortest stack. He was eliminated shortly afterwards by Zachary Gruneberg.

Gruneberg and Sylvia took turns eliminating their opponents, setting up a heads-up battle after only 46 hands at the final table that began with Sylvia holding the smallest possible chip lead.

Sylvia: 17,675,000 (118 big blinds)
Gruneberg: 17,575,000 (117 big blinds)

The two battled it out for 80 hands, with Sylvia hopping out to an early lead and steadily extending it until he held roughly a 10-to-1 advantage. Gruneberg did find a late double up, but in the end it wasn’t enough to help him mount a serious comeback. In the final hand Sylvia moved all in from the the button for Gruneberg’s 15 big-blind stack. Gruneberg made the call with the ASpade Suit2Club Suit and was in the lead against Sylvia’s JHeart Suit4Heart Suit. The board ran out JClub Suit9Club Suit8Club SuitQSpade SuitKDiamond Suit to give Sylvia the winning pair of jacks and send Gruneberg to the rail in second place with $490,617.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded to the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Jesse Sylvia $821,811 1440
2 Zachary Gruneberg $490,617 1200
3 Taha Maruf $300,031 960
4 Simon Lam $250,970 720
5 Chris Limo $207,569 600
6 Farid Jattin $167,942 480
7 Aleksei Vandyshev $132,089 360
8 Phong Nguyen $98,123 240
9 John Racener $69,253 120

Winner photo courtesy of World Poker Tour.