The World Poker Tour Winter Poker Open Championship at Borgata has been won by New York based poker player Chris Leong, who scooped the big prize last Friday. Leong overcame his opponents to walk away with the first place cash out prize of $816,236.
The tournament began with 1,171 entrants and they were whittled down to six players at the final table. Last year’s champion Aaron Mermelstein didn’t make it to the final, instead he crashed out in 19th place with a modest cash out of $16,868.
The new WPT Winter Borgata champion Chris Leong beat some high-profile poker professionals to claim the top spot, including the 2015 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe McKeehen who had to settle for 4th place in the end. In fifth place was the former WPT Champion and 2014 Aussie Millions $100k winner Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Keith Morrow came in 7th winning himself $131,193.
Before his big weekend win, Leong had $378,722 in his poker career earnings, so his new prize will be a massive boost not only to his bankroll but also his place in the world poker player rankings. His last big prize was $66,171 for a third-place finish in the 2015 Phamous Poker Series $100K Maker. Leong also picked up $52,151 back in April 2015 for winning the Borgata Spring Poker Open $300 No-Limit Hold’em Deep Stack Event. While he hasn’t scooped any major titles in his career yet, so far he also has two World Series of Poker Circuit rings to his name.
This year’s Borgata Winter Poker Open came down the final six players, with Liam He leaving the game in third place. He took away $297,995 for his troubles but was beat by Leong’s pocket fives. This consequently left Leong and Rafael Yaraliyev in a tense head to head showdown. Yaraliyev held the advantage, having 21 million of the 35 million left in play. The head to head lasted for over a hundred hands of poker, going back and forth between the two players. In the end, Leong forced Yaraliyev to call off for 10.1 million. He had been in the position to double, but didn’t have the cards he needed. After this, he settled for second place, ensuring Leong could claim the victory.