Borgata Poker Open Begins 14th Annual WPT Tournament

The 14th annual Borgata Poker Open Began on Sunday as part of the Season XV World Poker Tour. Now one of the most popular stops for the tour, this New Jersey leg of the WPT has seen many changes since its humble beginnings in 2003 when just 235 players turned out to pay the $5,000 buy-in.

It was considered a big gamble on the part of both the Borgata and the WPT to set such a high Main Event buy-in on the first year a of a tournament's launch. The title went to Noli Francisco that year. But the Borgata and the WPT must have known more about what was to come than everyone else. Instead of lowering the buy-in amount they doubled it and more than twice as many players forked it over.

That 2005 tournament, which attracted 515 players for $10,000 each and made winner Al Ardebili a millionaire, was a genius move that perfectly capitalized on the poker boom. The headlines were huge, cementing the Borgata Poker Open in the narrative of modern poker. It was also a huge moment for Atlantic City gambling, which now held a piece of the coolness factor associated with elite poker.

The Borgata Poker Open continued to grow until it hit its peak in 2011 with 1,313 entries. This year Joe Lupo, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Borgata, gets the privilege of bragging that “The WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship event has consistently drawn more than 1,000 entries for each of the past seasons.”

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