Ben Bianco Finishes Strong to Top Day 1A of Borgata Poker Open

Ben Bianco ended Day 1A with a sizable chip lead. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

Ben Bianco ended Day 1A with a sizable chip lead. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

Ben Bianco battled with Allyn Shulman for the chip lead during the last level of Day 1A of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open. Bianco won a giant pot with pocket kings in the closing minutes of the final level to end the day with the chip lead with 389,000 and won a pair of Monster Headphones as a bonus.

“All day I ran really good. I had pocket aces a couple of times, I cracked aces a couple of times and turned a couple of full houses,” Bianco said. “On the second to last hand of the night I got pocket kings on the button and it was like a donation.”

Day 1A attracted a field of 400 entrants and after eight levels 171 players remained to bag up their stacks.

Lily Kiletto, Darren Elias, Ryan Riess, Cliff Josephy and Matt Stout ended the day with above average stacks. Eddy Sabat, Melissa Burr, Jeff Gross, Dan O’Brien and Aaron Massey also bagged up stacks and will return for Day 2.

James Woods, Jared Hamby, Keven Stammen, Tim West, Jonathan Little, Jared Jaffe, Adam Friedman and Daniel Weinman were unable to survive the day. The event is a re-enty tournament and any player eliminated has the option to fire another bullet on Day 1B.

Bianco’s huge hand came after a flop of 7 3 3 against two other players. One player held 7x 6x, the second held pocket nines and Bianco tabled pocket kings. The board completed 4 6, Bianco eliminated two players and secured a 150,000 chip cushion over his next closest competitor.

Stammen, the reigning WPT World Champion,  three-bet out of the big blind and Justin Oliver called after opening the pot. The flop came 7 3 2, Stammen bet out and Oliver shoved all in. Stammen called holding pocket kings and Oliver tabled a draw heavy A 2. The turn filled Oliver’s flush with the 6 and Stammen was dead to rights. The river came J and Stammen left the tournament area.

Jaffe’s last hand came when he called off holding K 8 against Darren Elias on a 8 5 4 6 board. Elias made a straight holding 9 7 and Jaffe was eliminated.

Reigning Borgata Open champ Anthony Zinno four-bet all in with a shorter stack and two players called – Rep Porter and Maurice Hawkins. Both active players held pocket kings, Zinno held Ax Qx and Porter and Hawkins chopped up Zinno’s stack.

Day 1A Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Ben Bianco – 389,000
  2. Andrew Atkinson – 234,900
  3. Allyn Shulman – 231,200
  4. Ray Shackelford – 207,700
  5. Travell Thomas – 196,600
  6. Ami Alibay – 168,000
  7. Cornel Cimpan – 166,900
  8. Lily Kiletto – 157,000
  9. Thomas Winters – 155,000
  10. Curt Kohlberg – 155,000

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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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