Poker Coverage:

Borgata Poker Open’s $3,500 Buy-in Looks to Attract Huge Field

Borgata Thinking Outside the Box for its Main Event


The Borgata Poker Open will feature a $3,500 buy-in.In these tenuous economic times, some people are hesitant to shell out $10,000 for a poker tournament, especially one without the mystique of a World Series bracelet. But $3,500? Now that’s an amount that the casual poker player might just be willing to put up.

The Borgata Poker Open recently announced that its main event would feature a $3,500 buy-in as opposed to the standard $10,000 buy-in that has been the norm over the years for World Poker Tour events. Tournament organizers are hoping the new buy-in will bring in a slew of casual players, and the initial feedback from the poker community has been supportive of the move.

“I really think the Borgata strives to give its customers value, and I don’t think all places do that,” said Roy Winston, who won nearly $1.6 million for his 2007 Borgata Poker Open championship win. “This move shows that the Borgata really caters to the player.”

The switch to a $3,500 tournament comes at a time when other WPT destinations have had to accept smaller fields with its more expensive buy-ins. In 2009, the Bellagio Cup attracted just 264 players with a $15,400 buy-in, the WPT Spanish Championship featured 172 players with a €5,300 buy-in, and the Foxwoods Poker Classic welcomed 259 players with its $10,000 main event.

This Borgata event, which is the most affordable WPT event in the United States since the tour’s first season which began in 2002, is very likely going to attract more than 1,000 players.

Ray Stefanelli, the director of poker marketing at the Borgata, said that the Atlantic City casino decided to make the switch because of the great turnout they had experienced with that buy-in amount at its other events.

“We actually conducted several tournaments over the past year around that price point,” said Stefanelli, highlighted by the Borgata Winter Open main event, which attracted 1,017 players — and that tournament was a non-televised event.

With additional exposure from the WPT, Stefanelli says that they’re hoping to attract more than 1,000 players once again in this time around. Winston, in his recent Card Player blog about the tournament, said that he expects the tournament to seat more than 1,200 players.

Roy Winston likes the Borgata.The 2009 Borgata Poker Open main event has a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million.

“I think this could be a great direction for poker,” said Winston. “More players in a main event with a smaller buy-in, makes sense. It will attract more players to take a shot.”

Winston (pictured right) further explained that players may occasionally take a single shot at a $10,000 buy-in event and then if they don’t cash, that’s it. For $3,500 events, players may be more inclined to give it a few shots and could invest more money into the poker community in the long run.

Stefanelli expects the tournament series, which runs Sept. 9-24 with the main event beginning on Sept. 19, to attract not only poker veterans but a lot of casual players as well.

“We thought the best thing for poker would be to provide a very intriguing buy-in that will attract not only poker pros, but locals,” said Stefanelli, who said he’s aware of all the options that poker players have today, from competing live events even to PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker series. He said that competition encourages them to make the Borgata as accommodating as possible.

The tournament series will also feature a heads-up event, as well as a six-handed event.



over 13 years ago

Maybe Poker brings down the economy?


over 13 years ago

I played in a satellite tournament with about 190 runners a little over a month ago. Down to 30 players with 28 spots getting paid. Tournament Director standing directly behind me. Guy at other end of table shows his cards so nobody will bet him off hand to take me out on bubble. He would have HAD to fold if anyone bets into him due to chip count, and I scoop enough chips to coast in. TD tells him by name he cant do that, and laughs about it and tells me tough luck, try again another time. The whole time joking with the other locals about what happened. VERY UNPROFESSIONAL.
You want to know why they want locals playing? You will see blatant cheating here by these locals, and room staff will turn a blind eye if they know them.
I'll never be back. And I used to play there once a month for several days at a time. Complaints to TD's and room management will go completely unanswered if you dont play in there every day. This is NOT my first time with a major infraction caused by one of their local Atlantic City or Philly boys.
Theres a reason AC has the rep it does. Believe it.


Mr. Honest
over 13 years ago

Typical answer schafer1985 thats why poker players are looked upon as the scum of the earth. Every time someone has a legit complaint as ihateub does in this case some tool says "you must be down" or "take your lose like a man". Im not trying to start s--t but poker players really really need to take a long look at there behavior. I live in Vegas and have for years and Im up overall playing poker so Im not crying sour grapes However I have seen a great increase in complaints from friends that work in the casino industry about the overall behavior of poker players and its ugly. So say what you want and I know there will be some but poker players are running the casual fan off and when all thats left in the poker room are just those mouthy know it all's the casino's will turn the poker room's back into the two table dwellings they were pre-moneymaker.

I love poker and know its potential but I have seen it take a turn for the worst. Players are taking for granted the large numbers and are throwing cation to the wind but what goes around comes around always


over 13 years ago

While the main event of the BPO is being discounted, the other events there are more expensive than those of their last multi-tournament affair in June. The Borgata doesn't crack down enough on ethics and etiquette violations, listed btw in the TDA rules, because they think - convolutedly - that such crackdowns are bad for business, which they interpret as catering to the young and immature. But their business in the poker room is poker, and what they will have left is a shrinking patronage composed of psychologically imbalanced people emulating other psychologically imbalanced people that they see on TV and the irreversible killing of the golden goose.


over 13 years ago

You guys are sore losers...Borgata is the best room in the country.


over 13 years ago

wtf? If someone has $10K or even $3.5K to drop on a poker tournament, they are not facing tenuous economic times. Get a f***ing grip on reality.


over 13 years ago

I've played in Atlantic City over the past five or six years, sometimes up to a week at a time. I'm net loser but not much and it's not their fault. The Taj seems to have the reputation of having relatively nasty players, but I've always thought that is just a part of the fun. I don't participate in the nastiness except as a peacemaker. When I think I'm being cheated, I change games. I've never been bullied or treated anything like bmpek or ihateub are saying.