Anthony Merulla Wins Borgata Winter Open Main Event for $842,379

Anthony Merulla won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. (Photo c/o WPT)

Anthony Merulla won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. (Photo c/o WPT)

Five Days of action at the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event led up to the final table of six fighting for the right to add their name to the WPT Champions Cup. It took nearly 100 hands of heads-up of action before Anthony Merulla defeated David Paredes to earn the title, $842,379 and a seat in the WPT World Championship this April.

Paredes entered the final table with the chip lead with Anthony Maio nipping at his heels. Jared Jaffe and Farid Jattin came to the table middle of the pack and Murella and Vladislav Mezheritsky occupied the bottom of the counts.

The final table kicked off shortly after 4 pm ET on Friday and the players wasted little time getting the action going. Less than two orbits  into play Jaffe opened, Merulla three-bet on the button and Jattin four-bet from the small blind to 1.125 million. Jaffe shoved for 5.5 million, had both players covered and Merulla Jattin both called off with shorter stacks.

Jattin tabled pocket kings, Merulla held a pair of queens and Jaffe had the worst of it with tens. The board ran 9 7 5 T A and Merulla took the pot as the only player holding a diamond. Jattin was eliminated and Jaffe was crippled to 15 big blinds.

Two hands later Merulla opened in early position, Paredes called from the button and Mezheritsky moved his short stack all in from the small blind. Merulla mucked his cards, Paredes called holding pocket jacks and Mezheritsky had had to improve to stay alive holding A K. He spiked an ace on the flop but a jack gave Paredes a set. The board finished with blanks and Mezheritsky was eliminated.

Another two hands later Jaffe open-shoved his short stack holding K J and Merulla called with A 8. The board ran 9 4 3 A J and Jaffe came up short against Merulla’s pair of aces to eliminate him in fourth place.

The table was trimmed to three players in 15 hands and Paredes had a commanding chip lead with 17.3 million. Merulla had 10.8 million and Maio was the shortest with 8.4 million. Two hours would pass before Maio took a stand holding pocket queens. The board was 7 5 2 9 when Maio called all in. Merulla held A 6 for the flopped nut flush and Maio was out in third place.

Merulla took a short chip deficit into heads-up play and after some measured play he scored a big double up about halfway through their match. He opened with a min-raise to 600,000, Paredes made it 1.5 million to go and Merulla four-bet to 2.6 million. Paredes moved all in, Merulla called with A K and Paredes was in a tough spot holding K 2. The board ran 8 4 4 T 9, Merulla stacked 22.25 million and Paredes was down to 14.4 million.

Paredes dipped to below 20 big blinds before he doubled, took a short lead before Merulla took it right back. The final hand came when Paredes opened with a min-raise and Merulla called. The flop came Q 6 3 Merulla bet, Paredes raised and Merulla min-re-raised. Paredes responded by moving all in and Merulla called holding two pair – Q 3. Paredes needed some help holding Q 8. The board finished 7 4, Paredes failed to improve and Merulla claimed the pot and the title.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Anthony Merulla – $842,379
  2. David Paredes – $499,549
  3. Anthony Maio – $307,565
  4. Jared Jaffe – $258,590
  5. Vladislav Mazheritsky – $213,650
  6. Farid Jattein – $174,352
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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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