After a 24-hour investigation by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee event was cancelled on Saturday. According to a press release issued to PokerNews this afternoon, state gaming regulators found that one or more entrants used a significant number of counterfeit chips during the tournament.
The $2 Million Guarantee tournament, the first event on the Borgata Winter Poker Open schedule, was suspended on Friday with 27 players remaining. Joe Lupo, Senior Vice President of Operations for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, told PokerNews that the tournament had been compromised and the gaming commission was investigating the matter.
The Borgata announced Saturday afternoon that the DGE has ordered the cancellation of the tournament. All unpaid prize money will be frozen until the investigation is complete.
"Thus far, investigators have found that one or more tournament entrants improperly introduced a significant number of counterfeit chips into the tournament, gaining an unfair advantage and compromising the integrity of play for the event," said Tom Ballance, the Borgata's president and chief operating officer.
"It is extremely unfortunate that the criminal actions of these individuals can have a detrimental impact on more than 4,000 other entrants. We fully understand and regret the disappointment this cancellation causes our valued customers, and we will work diligently with DGE investigators to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. The integrity of our games and the confidence of our players is of the utmost importance to us."
Prior to the suspension of play, the tournament was scheduled to resume at noon on Friday with 27 players competing for a top prize of $372,123. Allard Broedelet was leading the way with 10.315 million chips - more than 10% of the chips in play. The tournament attracted 4,812 players, generating a total prize pool of $2,407,000. At the time of the suspension 423 players had busted in the money, earning a minimum of $1,082.
Ballance says the remainder of the Borgata Winter Poker Open will move forward as planned.
"We thoroughly verified all remaining chips in our inventory, and are confident in moving forward with our tournament schedule as planned and approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement."
Stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you more on this story as it develops. And be sure to follow live coverage of the Borgata Winter Poker Open at our Live Reporting page.