Thursday, September 12, 2013

Event 13 Recap

2013 Borgata Poker Open $260 Buy-In + $40 Entry Deep Stack No Limit Hold'Em (Re-Entry)
Entrants: 953

Prize pool: $247,780


If you ran into Perry Kaplan on the strip in Las Vegas, you might see a crowd of people around him clamoring for his autograph. Why? Because he's often confused for the late, great comic George Carlin. Perry laughs it off just as he does most everything else in life. Even as the pressure of a $54,081 hung in the balance at 7 am in the morning after having played poker for nearly 19 hours, Kaplan was still joking and smiling as if he had just woken up. As if he was a stand up comic telling jokes. A very young 63, it took some good fortune and timing for Kaplan to best a tough field of 953 entrants but at the end of the day the Borgata Poker Open trophy and tournament title was his as he outlasted his tough, savvy heads up competitor, Lauren Kepple. This was Kaplan's 2nd career win at a Borgata Poker Open event as he won a $300 No Limit Hold'Em event back in September 2009 for $34,601. "I feel great," an energized Kaplan said after the tournament was over. "I won't feel tired until 8 pm," he laughed.

Perry Kaplan (Long Beach Island, NJ) - Winner - Event 13

These were our final ten and their chip counts as final table action got underway:

Seat One: Chris Korres, Ridgefield, CT 1.025 million
Seat Two: Baruch Thaler, Brooklyn, NY 3.4 million
Seat Three: Jason Henrici, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 3.3 million
Seat Four: Lauren Kepple, Some Hotel Room 5.6 million
Seat Five: Fran DiRe, Columbus, NJ 1.6 million
Seat Six: Robert Boyko, Yonkers, NY 4.0 million
Seat Seven: Laurence Hughes, Seattle, WA 1.15 million
Seat Eight: Perry Kaplan, Long Beach Island, NJ 1.6 million
Seat Nine: Bill Miller, Stratford, CT 700K
Seat Ten: Jan Nikitin, Brooklyn, NY 1.5 million

It didn't take long for us to lose our first player. With the blinds at 60K/120K and a 10K ante, Chris Korres moved all in for his last 640K with KT♣ and was called by Baruch Thaler who held pocket queens. The board would come A-J-4-9-3 and Korres was unable to outdraw Thaler and was the first player eliminated from the final table.

Chris Korres (Ridgefield, CT) finishes in 10th place winning $2,884

Laurence Hughes would soon follow Korres to the rail when he moved his short stack all in with 76♠ and once again it was Baruch Thaler who would deliver the knockout blow, this time with AJ♣. A jack on the flop was more than enough to send Hughes towards the exit.

Laurence Hughes (Seattle, WA) finished in 9th place winning $4,446

Bill Miller would be the third person to be sent to the rail when he moved all in over the top of Perry Kaplan's 350K opening raise. Miller had an additional 675K behind and Perry decided to make the call with AT♠ prompting a look of disgust from Miller as he turned over pocket 9's. An ace came on the flop that would be the eventual end of Miller's tournament. Bill was frustrated after the hand, exclaiming "You call off 1/2 your stack with Ace Ten? Nice."

Bill Miller (Stratford, CT) is our 8th place finisher winning $6,489

A huge pot developed between beginning of final table chip leader Lauren Kepple and one of the other big stacks at the table Jason Henrici. With the blinds 80K/160K with a 20K ante, Lauren raised pre-flop and was called by Jason. The flop came Q7♣4♣ and Jason check called Lauren's 425K bet. The turn was the 4♠ and both players checked. The river was the A♠ and this time Lauren bet 725K after Jason checked. Jason took a while before deciding what to do. He counted out the calling chips and shuffled them in one hand, looking at Lauren periodically. Lauren is breathing heavy, her arms crossed. Finally, Jason makes the call and can only muck his cards in appreciation when Lauren shows pocket queens for a full house.

A few minutes later, Frank DiRe raises to 400K and is called by the table terminator Baruch Thaler. The flop comes 5-5-2 and Baruch checks prompting an all in bet from DiRe. Thaler snap calls having flopped a full house with pocket deuces and DiRe will need a miracle as all he has is K-T. He gets the first part of that miracle with a ten on the turn but there is no ten or five on the river to save his day and he is our next player eliminated.

Frank DiRe (Columbus, NJ) is our 7th place finisher winning $8,532

At least Thaler would not take part in the next player knocked out. The honors this time around would go to Robert Boyko when he called the four big blind shove of Jan Nikitin with A-9. Nikitin held K-Q and an ace on the turn would give Boyko the winning hand and have him proclaim "I'm going to take this down." Lauren Kepple interjected "I've been saying that all day."

Jan Nikitin (Brooklyn, NY) is our 6th place finisher winning $10,695

The cashier yells you to the table "Is there a Perry Kaplan here?" Perry is sitting at the end of the table and stands up. "You have a call at the podium," she says. Perry folds his hand quickly and rushes over to the podium. He comes back a few moments later explaining that it was his wife that he's know for 45 years wanting to make sure that he was ok. "I haven't been answering my phone," he explains "and she's worried about me." Perry goes on to add "Without her, I'd be in the gutter" which draws a bunch of smiles and envy from the rest of the table.

Perhaps part fate, part karma, on the very next hand, Perry is dealt A-J and opens for 550K. Jason Henrici decides to tempt fate with pocket 4's, moves all in, and is crushed for doing so as a Jack comes on the flop to give Perry the nice pot and eliminate Henrici in the process.

Jason Henrici (Egg Harbor Township, NJ) finishes in 5th place winning $13,219

The approximate chip stacks at this time were Lauren 8 million, Robert and Baruch 6 million apiece, and Perry 4 million. The blinds were now 100K/200K with a 30K ante. Lauren immediately takes a million chips off Robert with just ace high. Using her stack and position, Lauren opens for 500K from the button. Perry is having none of it and moves all in for 4.35 million more. Lauren cracks her knuckles and whispers under her breath "half my stack on a flip." She leans back, exhales, and bites her lip, talking to herself the entire time. Perry is quiet, looking very calm and assured, while tapping his leg underneath the table. Finally Lauren gives the hand up, mucking 8's face up. Robert starts saying that the hand is a snap call. Perry quietly slides his cards into the muck, with a look that says it was a good fold for Lauren.

With the blinds still at 100K/200K, it was folded to Lauren in the small blind who made it 500K to go. A hyper-aggressive Robert moved all in for nearly 5 million in chips. Lauren quickly called and showed her hand - A-K. Robert can only look at her hand in disgust as he is dominated with his K9. Boyko gets no help but receives some consolation in the nice payday he receives. We are now three handed and Kepple has a commanding chip lead of 14 million to Perry's 5.5 million and Baluch's 4.3 million.

Robert Boyko (Yonkers, NY) finishes in 4th place winning $16,103.

Baluch Thaler starts to get a bit frustrated by the large, often all-in, bets of Perry Kaplan. He even goes to show two of the hands he folds, A-T and A-2, when Perry raises Baluch's big blind from the small blind. Perry for the most part stays out of the way as Baluch and Lauren go to battle and swap chips on several occasions. After losing a 1.5 million chip pot to Lauren, Baluch moves all in when he picks up A-T with the blinds at 120K/240K. A-T is a big hand three handed but it's not as big as pocket kings which is precisely what Lauren looked down to see. She made the easy call and was able to fade the straight draw that Thaler picked up on the turn. We were now heads up with Lauren having an almost 4:1 chip lead.

Baluch Thaler (Brooklyn, NY) finishes in 3rd place winning $19,228

Heads up, Perry Kaplan decided he wanted to end things and said as much to the floor person that was observing the tournament. While Kepple didn't hear this conversation, she was able to make the call when Kaplan moved all in with the A3and she was in great shape as Perry had 5♠2♣. Kaplan explained with a small grin on his face that he was just trying to end the tournament and give the win and trophy to Kepple. The flop was not a good one for Lauren as it came J-6-2 pairing Perry's deuce. The turn, however, was a great card... a 3... meaning all Kepple had to dodge was another 2 or a 5 in order to eliminate Kaplan. The river was a cruel, cruel five to give Kaplan two pair and the pot. Lauren flung her hands up in the air out of exasperation. "So sick. 5-2," she groaned. All Perry could say in return was "that's poker."

The hand that would ultimately decide the tournament took place a few moments later when Perry open shoved for 11.25 million. Lauren let out a big sigh and said "I call". Perry had pocket 7's while Lauren held A♠6♠. The flop came J♠9♣8♠ giving Lauren the nut flush draw. The turn was the 8giving Kepple even more outs. Any 9, jack, ace or spade would give her the pot and the tournament. The river was a bad one for her, and a great one for Perry, as it was the 2♣. That loss left Lauren with just 1.45 million in chips and had her saying how she should have called with the pocket 8's that she folded to his all in bet earlier.

She would get those chips in with A-2 and Perry would make the call with 9-8. The flop came K-Q-3 keeping Kepple in the lead. The turn was another queen and it looked like Lauren was going to double up and start her valiant comeback effort. Sometimes it's just not meant to be though, and the river 8 was the death blow to Kepple's attempt to win the tournament. Lauren was visibly unhappy. "I'm so pissed. This is so sick," she said as she headed off to get her 2nd place winnings.

Lauren Kepple finishes in 2nd place winning $31,846

Perry Kaplan is our 1st place winner, collecting $54,081, a beautiful Borgata Poker Open trophy, and a customized 16 x 20 framed photo with Borgata chip and event information plaque. Kaplan plays poker approximately twice a week. In the winter, he plays in Las Vegas and the rest of the year he plays here at Borgata. He's been playing poker for 45 years, which happens to be just as long as he has known his wife. There is a twinkle in Kaplan's eyes when he talks about his wife. "She's the best," he says, smiling. When asked what he was going to do with the money, Perry says "I'm going to spend it on my lovely wife and our lovely nieces and friends. That's what life is about right?" As to whether Perry will play any more events this Borgata Poker Open, he's not sure, but he said "I'm definitely going to think about it now."

Perry Kaplan (Long Beach Island, NJ)

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