WPT: Jesse Sylvia Wins Borgata Poker Open, $821,811


Jesse Sylvia finally got the monkey off his back Friday night, winning his first ever live title (WPT Photo)

When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open began Friday afternoon, former World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia was the shortest stack at the table and seemed to have little hope of winning the title.

But over the course of nearly seven hours of play Friday night in Atlantic City, Sylvia went from short stack to chip leader to champion as he captured the Borgata Poker Open for the first live win of his career and second biggest score.

Sylvia tripled up on the seventh hand of the final table when his 4c4s held against Farid Jattin’s AsKd and Simon Lam’s AhKh in an all in preflop confrontation. That took Sylvia from the short stack to second in chips and set up another confrontation with Jattin.

Chris Limo raised to 275,000 from middle position before Jattin re-raised from the small blind to 880,000. Sylvia then made it 2,375,000, forcing Limo to fold and sending Jattin into the tank before announcing all in. Sylvia called and tabled AcKs while Jattin showed 4c5s. The AhTs2d flop gave Sylvia top pair and a gutshot draw to Jattin. The Qs turn and Js river were no help for Jattin and Sylvia vaulted into the chip lead with Jattin dropping to just 11 big blinds.

Jattin, who started the final day with a stack three times the size of his closest competitor, was out in sixth place just 15 minutes later when he ran his 8c8h into the AdAh of Zach Gruneberg.

While Sylvia wasn’t directly responsible for eliminating Jattin, he did take care of the next one. Sylvia raised to 280,000 from the cutoff only to have Limo three-bet to 655,000 from the small blind. Sylvia called and the flop came 9c7h4s. Limo fired 680,000 and Sylvia tank-called to see the 3h turn. Limo announced he was all in for 2,075,000 and Sylvia called. Limo showed Ac5d for a gutshot straight draw and Sylvia was way ahead with 7d7s for a flopped set. The 9d river changed nothing and Sylvia increased his chip lead.

Just three hands later Lam, who started with the second shortest stack behind only Sylvia, saw his run end. Lam moved all in from UTG for 870,000 and Gruneberg called from the big blind. Lam had Jc6c and was dominated by Gruneberg’s KcJd. The board ran out Ts7h3s3cKs giving Gruneberg an unnecessary rivered pair to send Lam home in fourth place.

It only took another 30 minutes for the next elimination and Gruneberg was involved again. Gruneberg moved all in from the small blind and Taha Maruf called from the big blind for 2,695,000 with his tournament life on the line. Gruneberg showed Ad8h while Maruf happily turned over QhQs. The AcTc3d flop put Gruneberg ahead and the Th turn and Kc river kept him there, eliminating Maruf in third place.

Sylvia and Gruneberg began heads-up play nearly dead even in chips with Sylvia holding just one more big blind than his opponent. Over the course of the first two hours of heads-up action, Sylvia increased his lead to 3-2 over Gruneberg. Sylvia briefly relinquished the chip lead only to get it back for the final time just 30 minutes later.

Sylvia eventually built up his lead to 5-1 over Gruneberg. On the final hand of the tournament, Sylvia moved all in and Gruneberg called off the last of his 5,800,000 chips. Sylvia had Jh4h and Grunberg tabled As2c. The Jc9c8c flop gave Sylvia top pair and a flush draw to Gruneberg. The Qs turn and Kd river were good enough to give Sylvia the title and the $821,811 first place prize money.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Jesse Sylvia – $821,811
  2. Zach Gruneberg – $490,617
  3. Taha Maruf – $300,031
  4. Simon Lam – $250,970
  5. Chris Limo – $207,569
  6. Farid Jattin – $167,942