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  1. The World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open was recently at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It's always a very popular, well-attended series that draws in poker players from all over. Zach Gruneberg, one of the top players on the Pennsylvania poker all-time money list, was one of them. Not only did Gruneberg show up, he won, taking home two Borgata Poker Open titles from the series. With the victories coming at a time when Pennsylvania online poker is working to launch any day now, it felt as good a time as ever to check in with Gruneberg. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] "Honestly, it's pretty surreal," Gruneberg said of how he felt getting the two recent wins at Borgata. "Getting a first place ever, especially outright with no chop, is an extremely rare thing in tournaments. To get two within pretty much the same week doesn't seem real. I always say there's nothing like outright winning a poker tournament, well, I’ve got to find something new to say about winning two almost back-to-back (laughs)." The two events Gruneberg won were both bounty tournaments. He first won the $500 Black Chip Bounty Deepstack for $56,073. In that event, Gruneberg topped a field of 688 entries to take home the trophy. The second event he won was the $1,060 Purple Chip County tournament. In that one, Gruneberg bested a field of 232 entries to win $31,502. "The first win was a Black Chip Bounty event," Gruneberg said. "Meaning you get $100 for every person you knock out and the buy-in I believe was like $500 total. In this one, I really didn't make any adjustments. The bounties are pretty much worthless compared to the actual prize pool you are playing for. I ended up getting seven bounties, including my own for winning. However, in the $1,090 Purple Chip Bounty, each knockout is worth $500. This changes things slightly. This exact instance I really didn't change too much because I didn't have the spots to, but you definitely want to be calling some shoves a little lighter and going for those $500 bounties. I ended up getting 10, including my own, so $5,000 in bounties when first place was $31,000 is definitely a decent ratio." Knowing Gruneberg scored $700 in bounties in the first event and $5,000 in the second puts his total haul from these two tournaments at $93,275. That's quite impressive for about one week's work, but it wasn't the first time Gruneberg had scored big from a WPT series at Borgata. In 2016, Gruneberg maneuvered his way to the final table of the WPT Borgata Poker Open $3,500 Main Event. The field had 1,179 entries and Gruneberg ended up finishing in second place to Jesse Sylvia. Although he didn’t get the WPT title, Gruneberg scored $490,617 in prize money. To date, it was his largest live tournament score. In 2018, Gruneberg found his way back to a WPT final table at Borgata, only this time it was in the 1,244-entry WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open $3,500 Championship. Another top-three finish would be had for Gruneberg, as he took third place for $321,533. "Borgata is my main girl," Gruneberg said of his success at Borgata. "She never does me dirty and always does me right. I've considered it my home casino as long as I've played, so to have the level of success I've had there which includes chopping the WPT with Jesse, a third place in another WPT, and now three outright wins, it's wild. At this point now, I just feel completely relaxed and in my element there and I also am able to drive there from my home. Something about just being a car ride away instead of across the entire country or globe makes me feel at ease. It helps that I run like a Greek god at the Borgata, too. I love her!" The other title from Borgata that Gruneberg is referring to is a Saturday Series event during the 2017 Borgata Spring Poker Open. He won that $400 buy-in event for $35,996, topping a field of 415 entries to get the win. Gruneberg mentioned being just a car ride away from Borgata. He's originally from Pennsylvania, which isn't too far of a drive from Atlantic City. Soon though, Gruneberg could be trading in the drive to the casino for a walk to his computer in the comfort of his own home. Pennsylvania has legalized online poker and now it’s just a matter of time before regulated online poker sites launch in the Keystone State. Gruneberg is no stranger to the online poker world, having amassed more than $2.8 million under the alias 'HustlerGrune' on PokerStars and Full Tilt back in the day, and he’s pretty excited for the change to get legal PA online poker in his home state. "I'm super hyped for online poker to come back," Gruneberg said. "Should be any day now, but I am not really sweating it. When it comes back, it comes back, and I am excited to be able to play on partypoker and PokerStars (even though they seem like a shell of the company they once were now)." Whether it’s the live grind or competing on the virtual felt, Gruneberg said he’ll take it slow when it comes to planning out his poker schedule and just see where things take him. "Next for me in terms of poker will be WPT Maryland," Gruneberg said. "Technically, in terms of distance, that's actually the closest WPT to me and I have some good friends that live in the area, so I am excited for that. Mainly, I want to continue to focus on fitness and my health and just freestyle my poker plans. I am definitely trying to put more volume in, which means more WPTs and more WSOP Circuit stops - Vegas in December seems like a must. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and enjoy these wins."
  2. Another televised World Poker Tour final table is set. This time, it’s the Season XVIII WPT L.A. Poker Classic. The event drew 490 entries to Commerce Casino and generated a prize pool of $4.727 million. Just six players remain and they’ll be on hiatus until action resumes at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 2. Leading the way in the chase for the $1.015 million top prize is Balakrishna Patur. Patur brings 6.32 million in chips to the final table. He’ll be joined by two WPT Champions Club members in Matas Cimbolas and James Carroll, Ka Kwan Lau, Scott Hempel, and WPTDeepStacks champion Upeshka De Silva. De Silva will be the short stack with 930,000 when action resumes in April. WPT LAPC Final Table Seat 1: Scott Hempel - 1,670,000 Seat 2: James Carroll - 4,125,000 Seat 3: Matas Cimbolas - 4,310,000 Seat 4: Ka Kwan Lau - 2,250,000 Seat 5: Upeshka De Silva- 930,000 Seat 6: Balakrishna Patur - 6,320,000 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] Each of the six is guaranteed a minimum payday of $185,330. Included in the event’s first-place prize is a $15,000 seat to the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions presented by Baccarat Crystal. How the Final Table Was Reached Day 1 saw Demo Kiriopoulos emerge as the event’s chip leader when the first day of play was in the books. Then it was Isaac Baron atop the field at the end of Day 2. Entering Day 3, 104 players remained and the top 62 were set to reach the money. With 63 players left, WPT Champions Club member Jordan Cristos was all in against fellow WPT champion Daniel Strelitz. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Cristos was all in with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8c"] on the [poker card="8d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="6s"] flop. Strelitz had made the call with the [poker card="Td"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="Jh"] on the turn and 8h on the river allowed Cristos to double up, but that would be the last time he doubled up this tournament. Shortly thereafter, still on the money bubble with 63 players remaining, Cristos was all in on the [poker card="Js"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5d"] flop with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jd"]. His opponent, Claude Codru, had the [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Ts"]. Once again, it was Cristos needing to fade a draw. This time, the [poker card="Qs"] came right out on the turn and gave Codru an unbeatable flush. The river completed the board with the [poker card="2d"] and Cristos was sent home as the "bubble boy." Once in the money, the eliminations began to stack up, including Barry Greenstein (61st - $16,905), Jesse Sylvia (55th - $18,845), and Lee Markholt (41st - $21,290). To close out Day 3, 39 players remained with Patur on top of the pack. Day 4 saw the field whittled down to 11 players. Baron remained in contention and finished Day 4 as the chip leader, with Hempel sitting second and Patur sitting third. Donald Maloney (37th - $24,375), John Hennigan (34th - $24,375), JC Tran (29th - $28,275), and Dylan Linde (14th - $58,215) were among the casualties on Day 4. Baron couldn’t get anything going on Day 5, though, and he fell in 11th place for $71,950. Charles Kassin and Lau both scored early double ups through Baron, and then De Silva picked off a bluff from Baron. On his final hand, Baron held pocket eights against Hempel’s pocket tens but could not come from behind. Hempel also knocked out WPT Champions Club member Kevin Eyster in 10th place. Strelitz went bust in eighth, and his elimination came in a three-way clash of WPT champions involving Carroll and Cimbolas. Strelitz was all in preflop with side action between Carroll and Cimbolas. On the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="8c"] flop, Cimbolas bet 300,000 and Carroll shoved for more than 5 million. Cimbolas called all in for 1.56 million total with the [poker card="As"][poker card="Ah"]. Carroll had the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="2c"] and then Strelitz had the [poker card="Td"][poker card="9d"]. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and the river was the [poker card="3s"], keeping Cimbolas’ aces in front and eliminating Strelitz. After Strelitz busted, Shi Chen was sent packing in seventh place to set the official TV final table. Play Resumes in April Guaranteed $185,330 each with the chance to win $1.015 million, the final six players in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic will resume action on Thursday, April 2, at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. The WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table is the third delayed final table during Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour. Taking place in the days before it are the finales to the WPT Gardens Poker Championship and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Chance Kornuth leads the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table, with action set to resume on Tuesday, March 31. Veerab Zakarian leads the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, with action set to resume on Wednesday, April 1. All three of these final tables - the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, and WPT L.A. Poker Classic - will play out at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

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