The $600 buy-in, $1,000,0000 guaranteed no-limit hold’em kickoff event at the 2019 Borgata Spring Poker Open attracted a field of 2,199 entries across six starting flights. The huge turnout saw the guarantee easily surpassed, as the final prize pool swelled to $1,187,460. On the fifth day after the first cards were dealt the sea of players was finally narrowed down to a champion: Alex Rocha. The poker pro from Setauket, New York earned $180,591 for the win, the largest score of his live tournament career. Rocha now has lifetime earnings in excess of $2.3 million.
This was not Rocha’s first title run in a big series-starting event at Borgata. Back in 2011, he outlasted 1,472 entries in the $560 buy-in event at the start of the Borgata Winter Poker Open to win $150,850.
Rocha entered the final day in second chip position with 18 players remaining. Paul Vacchio held the overnight chip lead, and went on to finish fifth for $60,471 when his pocket queens lost a race against the A-K of Yan Wang.
Rocha scored the next two knockouts to take roughly 19 million chips into heads-up play against George Grabe, who held around 36 million.
Rocha was able to overtake the lead, and by the time the final hand arose he had more than a 3-to-1 advantage. With blinds of 400,000 – 800,000 and an 800,000 big-blind ante, Rocha limped in from the button with the 99. Grabe shoved for 13,000,000 with A2. Rocha made the call and the board ran out J64J3. Rocha’s jacks and nines earned him the pot and the title, while Grabe was sent home with $150,000 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Winner photo credit: Borgata Spring Poker Open Blog.