Monday, June 20, 2011

Event 16: Hooked On Borgata

$2500 + $200 Championship NLH

Hook2120 On-line at Borgata

Chalie Hook cut his teeth playing poker at Borgata when the room first opened in 2003, since then he's grown into an elite player.

"I love playing Borgata it's convenient, it's close to home," says Hook, a Philadelphia native, who's playing in the Borgata Summer Poker Open Championship Event. "I started playing $2-$5 no-limit and mixed a lot of live and on-line through college when I was around."

Hook, a Holy Family University grad, eventually moved to Florida and hunkered down to grind high stakes cash games as screen name Hook2120.  But that all changed on April 15th, internet poker's black Friday when the FBI essentially shutdown U.S. players from playing on-line.

"It sucks," says the man originally named Charles, but even his mother drops the "r' and calls him Chalie. "Playing live isn't my first choice, but it's what I have to do."

As he sorts out his future, Hook doesn't mind returning to his roots and playing in the Summer Poker Open.  "I think I have over $100k in earnings, probably more than that, at the Borgata lifetime," says Hook, who in 2009 alone scored $31,000 for winning the Borgata Summer Open Heads Up Championship and another $57,000 for a second place finish in the Borgata Winter Open.

"Borgata's been good to me. Most of my earnings have been at Borgata," he says with $226,000 in live career earnings.  "I love the Borgata, the structure, the people here are great."

While Hook isn't a household name like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, he's earned himself a name among the top on-line players. Guys like Olivier Busquet, the 2009 WPT Borgata Poker Open Champion and Hook's good friend Tom Marchese, the 2010 CardPlayer Player of the Year.

"Definitely top players in the world know who I am. I've played with them live and on-line," says Hook, who's been having a tough day and still has his 30k starting stack at the dinner break.

"There are guys like Tony G (Antanas Guoga), he plays here on weekends and is a mid-stakes grinder on-line. I think he's probably one of the best players in the world and not everybody knows who he is. I'd say the same thing about Marchese, two years ago he was one of the best players in the world and nobody knew who he was."

After playing here in the Championship Event, Hook plans on meeting up with Marchese in Vegas to play in the WSOP Main Event.  He'll then decide if he wants to move to Europe where he can fire up the computer and play the game he loves, legally, on-line.

"It'll be a different experience moving away and I'll probably do it."  But wherever Hook plays, he'll always call Borgata home and know this is where his poker career began.

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