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Borgata Winter Poker Open
January 1, 2024
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January 2, 2024
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Queen is King at the Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event ($613,063)

Alex Queen Alex Queen

The return of a major tournament series at the Borgata has been on players' minds for the better part of four years, and the 2024 Borgata Winter Poker Open was just the fix they needed. We saw more than three weeks of Borgata trophies getting awarded, millions of dollars in prize money changing hands, and champions being crowned daily.

However, there is undoubtedly one title and trophy at the Poker Open that the players hold in higher regard than any other: the winner of the $5,300 Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event.

A total of 689 players took their shot at the title, but when the last card fell, local pro and Borgata regular Alex Queen raised the trophy, earned the title, and took home the life-changing payday of over $613,000.

Queen came into the live-streamed final table second in chips to his future heads-up opponent, John Pannucci. Through aggression, rock-solid play, and one major hand from the poker gods, Queen was able to lock up the final table in just 6 short hours.

Final Table Results

Place Name Prize
1 Alex Queen $613,063
2 John Pannucci $429,863
3 Brian Yoon $277,123
4 Anthony Zinno $203,473
5 Carlos Chadha $155,387
6 Casey Hatmaker $123,875

“It doesn’t feel real.”

After his dominating performance, Alex expressed how he felt about winning the Borgata Championship title. “It doesn't feel real; it's just awesome. I always love coming here, staying here. Good food, good poker room, Good vibes!”

“I couldn't really sleep last night. I was just really focused on playing my best and trying to leverage stacks once I won that big hand. I’d give myself a 7 out of 10.”

This is far from Queen's first success at the Borgata. Three of his four biggest live scores all came right here at the Borgata, including his former largest score from taking down the 2010 Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship for $355k. However, Queen says this one tops the list.

“It definitely takes the cake. I won an open here when I was 21 for $355,000. That was my biggest cash till now, and I don't play tournaments often anymore, so I wasn't sure if I could ever recapture that magic. But the cards were in my favor today. I tell all my cash friends that there's nothing better than running deep in a live tournament. The endorphin rush, pure excitement, this is awesome.”

A family man at heart, Queen has some specific plans for his winnings.

“I think I'm going to take my family to Universal and celebrate with my 10-year-old stepson Jackson.”

Final Table Action

The players came into the final table with an average stack of about 40 big blinds, so there was some real poker yet to be played and play they did.

The day started with Brian Yoon, who came in as the second shortest stack, getting a pure double through Carlos Chadha when Yoon drilled a gutter on the turn and got all the chips in.

A few hands later, Anthony Zinno would be put in a brutal spot where he was forced to fold jacks followed shoves from both Queen and Chadha, who both held ace-king. Zinno would’ve scooped, but instead, play raged on six-handed.

That led to the most pivotal hand of the tournament:

The chip leader at the time, John Pannucci, opened the button before getting three-bet by Alex Queen in the small blind. The action was then on Anthony Zinno in the big blind, who thought through his options and then bet a non-all in sizing leaving himself around 12 big blinds. Pannucci wasted little time and moved all in from the button. Queen tanked momentarily and then called the all-in for his tournament life. Zinno went deep into the tank and asked for some counts before making a tough fold, which the stream would later confirm was pocket queens.

Queen had aces, Pannucci had kings, and it seemed that Zinno had made a sharp fold. That is until the dealer ripped off a queen on the turn that would’ve put Zinno firmly in the chip lead. Instead, Queen scooped a massive pot to take an overwhelming chip lead.

Spoilers, he would never lose that lead again.

Casey Hatmaker would then fall in 6th place after getting short. He still takes home his biggest live score of all time and will be a name to remember in the near future.

That would be followed by the elimination of Carlos Chadha in 5th when Alex Queen cooled off his kings by drilling a flush on the river to send him to the rail. Anthony Zinno would be eliminated by Brian Yoon just a few hands later when his ace-three could not improve against the ace-jack of Yoon.

The players were then three-handed. Queen still held a massive chip lead, but it was Yoon and Pannucci whose chips did the most moving. Yoon scored a double through Pannucci, but just one hand later, Pannucci doubled through Queen.

There was then a massive hand where Pannucci’s ace deuce found a pair on the flop against the ace queen of Yoon. This would leave him short, and he would be eliminated just one hand later when he was forced all in from the big blind and Queen woke up with aces.

Heads up play began with the two largest stacks from the start of the final table. It was only fitting that two Borgata regulars faced off for the largest prize of the series. There was some back and forth, but ultimately, the almost 10:1 chip lead of Queen would be too much for Pannucci to handle, and he fell in second place after an incredible run.

The only thing left to do then, was crown Alex Queen the king of the 2024 Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship Event.


Alex Queen wins BWPO Championship Event ($613,063); John Pannucci is runner-up ($429,863)

John Pannucci John Pannucci

Alex Queen jammed from the button and having 600,000 in the middle for blinds and antes and only 600,000 behind, John Pannucci made the quick call to put himself at risk and send both players to a runout with the title on the line.

John Pannucci: 84
Alex Queen: A4

Pannucci was going to need a lot of help to extend the heads up battle, but the AQ10 flop offered him only running outs for the win.

The J turn brought in back door straight and flush outs for Pannucci but the 5 river would only seal his fate with a second place finish for $429,863, good enough to ealmost triple his lifetime live earnings to date.

With that, Alex Queen has been crowned as the 2023 Borgata Winter Poker Open $5,300 Championship Event champion, taking home a lifetime best score of $613,063!

A full event recap article and breakdown of the event will soon follow.

That concludes PokerOrg's coverage of the Borgata Winter Poker Open but tournament coverage from all over the country can always been found here so keep it locked to for all the most relevant poker news and information.