The Borgata hosted its debut World Poker Tour event in 2003, early in the tour’s second season. They’d quickly become a staple on the WPT, and eventually one of the tour’s cornerstones over the next 11 years.
Not only has Borgata hosted a WPT event every season since its debut, it’s had multiple events on the WPT schedule six times (including Season XIII). In Season XII, the WPT World Championship was moved to the Borgata, making it only the second casino to hold three WPT events in a single season.
There are several reasons why the WPT seems to keep coming back to this Atlantic City mainstay. In its earlier years – which featured a $10,000 buy-in – the Borgata Poker Open and Borgata Winter Poker Open crowned eight millionaires and consistently featured strong final tables and champions.
Champions from that era include Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, Mark Newhouse, John Hennigan, Gavin Griffin and Vivek Rajkumar. Griffin’s Borgata Winter Poker Open win in 2008 made him the first player ever to capture poker’s Triple Crown.
As the WPT evolved and varied its buy-in levels and formats more for Season VIII, the Borgata was the first to truly embrace it and flourish. The Borgata Poker Open that year was the first WPT event to crack 1,000 players – with future WPT Alpha8 commentator Olivier Busquet outlasting all the rest. Dwyte Pilgrim followed the next year with a BPO title of his own.
That started a string of four straight seasons where the Borgata Poker Open featured the biggest field on the WPT. It also laid out the framework for future massive field events like WPT Montreal and the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, which have also hosted tournaments that drew well over 1,000 players.
With the return of online poker in the Borgata’s home state of New Jersey and the infrastructure that’s been refined for well over a decade, there’s no reason to believe that any of that will change any time soon.
To put the Borgata’s history into perspective, here’s how each of the 18 Borgata events has gone down – along with the biggest event of each season for comparison.
Season II Borgata Poker Open (September 2003)
Champion: Noli Francisco – $470,000
Biggest field of Season II: Ultimate Poker Classic – 436 entries, $4,000 buy-in
Season III Borgata Poker Open (September 2004)
Champion: Daniel Negreanu – $1,117,400
Biggest field of Season III: Party Poker Million – 735 entries, $10,000 buy-in
Season IV Borgata Poker Open (September 2005)
Champion: Al Ardebili – $1,498,650
Season IV Borgata Winter Poker Open (January 2006)
Champion: Michael Mizrachi – $1,173,373
Biggest field of Season IV: Legends of Poker – 839 entries, $5,000 buy-in
Season V Borgata Poker Open (September 2006)
Champion: Mark Newhouse – $1,519,020
Season V Borgata Winter Poker Open (January 2007)
Champion: John Hennigan – $1,606,223
Biggest field of Season V: 2007 PCA – 937 entries, $7,800 buy-in
Season VI Borgata Poker Open (September 2007)
Champion: Roy Winston – $1,575,280
Season VI Borgata Winter Poker Open (January 2007)
Champion: Gavin Griffin – $1,401,109
Biggest field of Season VI: LA Poker Classic – 665 entries, $10,000 buy-in
Season VII Borgata Poker Open (September 2008)
Champion: Vivek Rajkumar – $1,424,500
Biggest field of Season VII: LA Poker Classic – 696 entries, $10,000 buy-in
Season VIII Borgata Poker Open (September 2009)
Champion: Olivier Busquet – $925,514
Biggest field of Season VIII: Borgata Poker Open
Season IX Borgata Poker Open (September 2010)
Champion: Dwyte Pilgrim – $733,802
Biggest field of Season IX: Borgata Poker Open
Season X Borgata Poker Open (September 2011)
Champion: Bobby Oboodi – $922,441
Biggest field of Season X: Borgata Poker Open
Season XI Borgata Poker Open (September 2012)
Champion: Ben Hamnett – $818,847
Season XI Borgata Winter Poker Open (January 2013)
Champion: Andy Hwang – $730,053
Biggest field of Season XI: Borgata Poker Open
Season XII Borgata Poker Open (September 2013)
Champion: Anthony Zinno – $825,099
Season XII Borgata Winter Poker Open (January 2014)
Champion: Robert Merulla – $842,379
Season XII WPT World Championship (April 2014)
Champion: Keven Stammen – $1,350,000
Biggest field of Season XII: Seminole Hard Rock Showdown – 1,795 entries
Season XIII Borgata Poker Open (September 2014)
Champion: Darren Elias – $843,744
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