Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Poker [Print without images]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Updated: February 3, 10:33 AM ET
More than a guarantee


Two million? No problem.

The $3,500 buy-in Borgata Winter Poker Open main event guaranteed a $2 million dollar prize pool. Players from around the world came out in full force to ensure that the guarantee would not only be met, but surpassed in a big way. A final prize pool of $2,527,800 (766 entries) will be split up amongst the 72 players who will make the money with the winner taking home a nice pay day of $625,006.

Jeff Madsen
Jeff Madsen enjoyed his table draw during Day 2.

Although no longer televised as a World Poker Tour event, many professionals still attended the tournament series and have enjoyed their time in New Jersey. Gavin Smith, Jeff Madsen, Jason Mercier, Cornel Cimpan, Soheil Shamseddin, Kathy Liebert and Dan Shak (just to name a few) made it through to Day 2 with Cimpan and Shamseddin at the top of the chip counts. Five hours into play and over 200 of the 465-player starting field on Tuesday had already been eliminated, but most of the big names still remained in contention.

Moving up in the chip counts during early play on Tuesday was Jeff Madsen who it would seem, loves the action in Atlantic City. From his Twitter account, he mentioned he was involved in a hand where a player raised to $2,500 and was called by two players. The next player to act reraised to $10,000 and the next player re-reraised to $23,000. Madsen was in the big blind and woke up with aces, moved all-in and the initial reraiser called with Q-Q. His aces held and Madsen was among the leaders in the room at the time.

Our friends at the Borgata Poker Blog shared a great story about a player named James Romoser who seems to be a quad magnet. During Tuesday's play, Romoser hit quads three times! The first two came within a span of three hands where Romoser flopped quads both times with Q-Q. The third time came at a critical moment when he was all-in against aces with 8-8.

James, please teach us how it is possible to run this good and best of luck to you throughout the rest of the tournament … if you need it.

Remember to enunciate:

No, this isn't a memo regarding my performance on ESPN Inside Deal … although I do need to speak slower.

I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader named Judd F. who shared an interesting story regarding a recent situation at the Bellagio. Playing $1/$2, his opponent moved all-in on the river. I'll let him take it from here:

"I had nothing but high cards so without much hesitation at all I said: fold. I didn't even bother asking for a count. The dealer and a couple other players heard me say call. Everyone, including me, was perfectly honest. How could that be?"

It seems that Judd has an Israeli accent and his "fold" was misinterpreted and heard by many at the table as "call". This is a tough situation because people always recommend that you verbally declare your accent instead of just moving chips into the pot to avoid confusion. In this case, mucking his cards could've been enough, but for example, if you want to raise to $500, you simply say, "$500" and not just throw one chip in the pot (which could be interpreted as a call). Judd was at a major disadvantage here with the table against him, but thankfully the floor staff worked through the situation before making a decision.

"The dealer called the floor manager who asked the other players. He also asked me to say the word "fold" again. I insisted all along I had nothing so there is no way I could have called. So someone asked what I had and I almost forgot. I paused for a second and said I had Q-10. Were they suited? No. Q-10 off suit. I convinced the floor director to turn over the cards that were on the edge of the muck and sure enough, Q-10 they were. That convinced the floor manager that indeed it was an honest misunderstanding. One could possibly try to push with high cards as a bluff but insta-calling a $200 all-in on a $50 pot with queen-high with that board was just unfathomable."

I thought this was a very interesting story to share and honestly, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. There really isn't a solution available here, but be careful when you're at the table to make sure that the action you're intending to take is voiced or displayed perfectly.

Small blinds: Tom Dwan is now up over $1 million in the "Durrrr challenge". Still a long way to go. … Bowler Mike Fagan recently signed an endorsement deal with Full Tilt Poker. First MMA then bowling. What untapped sports market is next?