WPT: Andy Hwang Wins 2013 Borgata Winter Poker Open, $730,053

Andy Hwang celebrates his victory in the 2013 Borgata Winter Poker Open, where he won over $730,000 and added his name to the WPT Champion's Trophy. (Photo c/o World Poker Tour)

The first of five World Poker Tour events in six weeks is in the books, with Andy Hwang claiming the first title of 2013 at the Borgata Winter Poker Open.

After it took 70 hands to eliminate the last champion in the field, Matt Salsberg, in sixth place, there were just 53 more hands played before four more players were eliminated and Hwang stood victorious. His win at the Borgata Winter Poker Open dwarfs his previous live accomplishments, which include a fifth place finish in the 2012 WSOP National Championship, with his lifetime earning sitting just below the $1 million mark.

Hwang defeated James Anderson heads-up to seal the tournament, taking a lead of over 8 to 1 before calling Anderson’s final all-in with A 6, flopping a pair of sixes and rivering an ace-high flush to eliminate Anderson in second. It was an appropriate end to a tournament that Hwang led for the majority of the last three days, with Anderson providing the most resistance to Hwang’s path to victory. Anderson doubled through Hwang on the hand before the final table was set on Day 4, making what was a seemingly dominant lead into a small one, but in doing so Anderson only delayed the inevitable.

It did indirectly lead to the extended length of six-handed play, though. After Salsberg caught an incredibly fortunate break on the seventh hand at the final table, with A 9 spiking a 9 on the turn to beat A J on an A Q 7 flop, the chips moved around a lot but not much was accomplished. Matt Haugen won a massive pot off of Jeremy Druckman to claim the chiplead with pocket queens, but things leveled out as the blinds crept up and the rest of the pack separated themselves from Salsberg and Mike Gogliormella.

With just 10 big blinds left Salsberg found 6 6 and went with it, getting a call from James Anderson with A 9. There was a 9 on the flop and it only got worse, as Salsberg could not catch up and went out in sixth place, though he did earn $147,671 and enough points to take the lead in the WPT Season XI Player of the Year race. After doubling Gogliormella up, Anderson picked up those chips and then some in eliminating Druckman. His K K dominated Druckman’s A T and it got even worse with the K on the flop and Druckman was drawing dead by the turn as his tournament came to an end in fifth place.

After falling back to the pack, Hwang picked up a massive double-up by holding with Q T against Haugen’s T 4 on a Q J 2 flop to retake the lead. Haugen lost the last of his chips by moving in from under the gun with Q J and running into Anderson’s K Q as his once bright hopes at the title were dashed as he went out in fourth. Three-handed play only lasted for four hands as Gogliormella was perilously short-stacked to begin with, and his K 3 could not launch him towards a comeback as Anderson had A J and continued to the dirty work at this final table, knocking Gogliormella out in third.

Anderson began heads-up play with a slight lead, but after tracing pots for 20 hands Hwang took complete control. He called Anderson all the way down to the river with top pair, and K 8 was good enough on the K 7 5 3 2 board to give Hwang a tremendous lead. The match would only go on for three hands after that confrontation, and Hwang was crowned the champion.

The next stop during a very busy month of February on the WPT brings the tour to Hollywood, Florida for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which startes February 8. That leads into WPT Vienna, which will be closely followed by the LA Poker Classic and the Bay 101 Shooting Star.

Here are the final table payouts for the 2013 Borgata Winter Poker Open.

  1. Andy Hwang – $730,053
  2. James Anderson – $438,698
  3. Mike Gogliormella – $265,475
  4. Matt Haugen – $222,336
  5. Jeremy Druckman – $182,514
  6. Matt Salsberg – $147,671
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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