John “Johnny World” Hennigan makes history winning the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event at the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Hennigan joins Daniel Negreanu as the only player to win a World Poker Tour title, a World Series Of Poker (WSOP) Bracelet (Hennigan has won two), and the US Poker Championship. Not only did “Johnny World” win $1.6 Million for first place, he re-established himself among today’s poker elite.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070131/NYW197 )
A lively studio audience of family, friends, and poker enthusiasts filled the Borgata Event Center for the start of the televised WPT Final Table. Audience members barely took their seats when John James was the first player eliminated winning $276,935 for sixth place.
The next player to exit the Final Table was Michael Sukonic of Warminster, PA, winning $332,322 for fifth place. The level of play and intensity rose dramatically with four players left. Joseph Simmons, a Philadelphia native and former manager of the Grammy award-winning hip-hop group, The Roots, won $387,709 in fourth place.
Professional poker player and WSOP Bracelet Winner, John Gale, slid down the leader board before finally being eliminated from the tournament. The British-born player won $443,096 for his third place finish. Following the money presentation ceremony, the 2007 Borgata Winter Poker Open featured a heads-up match between a premier professional and an amateur tournament player. As play resumed, Hennigan was the favorite to beat Charles Kelley of Stanton, VA. Kelley, a retired stockbroker, made several runs for the chip lead, but in the end, it was “Johnny World’s” night.
Hennigan grew up in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. He started playing pool as a young man, and eventually moved to the professional ranks. “Johnny World,” who got his start playing poker with friends in the neighborhood, began playing professionally in Atlantic City. The likes of Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu have commented that “Johnny World” is one of the best cash game players on the planet. Aside from his reputation in the cash games, Hennigan gained attention at the Final Table of the first-ever World Poker Tour televised event, where he finished fourth.
After experiencing significant success as a poker player, “Johnny World” went through a period outside the spotlight, opting to take some time away from the game to reprioritize and refresh. Last night displayed the end result of Hennigan’s perseverance.
After the presentation at the end of the tournament, Hennigan finally seemed to relax. “I’ve played a lot of poker tournaments; they’re exciting and brutal,” commented a smiling Hennigan. “I’m completely in shock right now. I’ve won a few tournaments in the past, and it usually doesn’t sink in for the first couple hours. I’m just soaking it in. Two hours from now it will really hit me.”
The Borgata Winter Open/Borgata Poker Classic event will air on the Travel Channel in Spring 2007.
About Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Borgata is a joint venture of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) and MGM MIRAGE (NYSE: MGM). Located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City, it features 2,000 guest rooms and suites, 161,000 square feet of gaming, 200 gaming tables, 4,100 slot machines, 12 destination restaurants, 12 retail boutiques, a 54,000 square foot spa, 70,000 square feet of event space, and parking for 7,100 cars. For more information on Borgata or to obtain a copy of this press release, please visit http://www.theborgata.com or use AOL keyword: borgata. Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at http://www.boydgaming.com; additional information on MGM MIRAGE can be found at http://www.mgmmirage.com.
WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE) is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes. WPTE is the creator of the World Poker Tour(R), a television show based on a series of high-stakes poker tournaments that airs on the Travel Channel in the United States and more than 150 markets globally. With the WPT in its fifth season, WPTE has launched a second series on the Travel Channel, the Professional Poker Tour(TM), which focuses on the play of poker’s leading stars. WPT also operates a real-money online gaming website, http://www.wptonline.com, which prohibits wagers from players in the U.S. and other restricted jurisdictions. WPT Enterprises currently licenses its brand to companies in the business of poker equipment and instruction, apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games, and giftware. The company is also engaged in the sale of corporate sponsorships. For show information, tools for improving poker play, and other WPT news, fans may log on to http://www.worldpokertour.com. WPT Enterprises, Inc. is a majority owned subsidiary of Lakes Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: LACO). Photos and media information can be found online at: http://www.worldpokertour.com/media. (WPTEF)