Jamie Kerstetter is no stranger to success on the poker felt at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Since becoming a poker professional in 2009, she’s worked tirelessly to hone her skills and has amassed nearly $600,000 in live tournament earnings to date, according to the HendonMob poker database. Her success has landed Kerstetter with a sponsorship deal in her home state of New Jersey, and she is now a BorgataPoker.com Pro.
With the Season XV World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open set to kick off next week, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the WPT caught up with Kerstetter to discuss the upcoming event.
“The Borgata Winter Poker Open is literally the only thing that keeps me from hibernating until spring,” Kerstetter said about her excitement of the upcoming series.
Her excitement comes with good reason, too, as the schedule is jam packed with a whopping 43 events, including the huge opening event, which Kerstetter is very much looking forward to playing.
“The easy choices are the opener and the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Championship,” she said of the events she’s looking forward to playing the more. “The opener is an amazing opportunity for normal people to level up in poker for just a $560 investment. The Championship has a great, slow structure and massive final table payouts that can change people’s lives.”
The opening event of the series, the Borgata $2 Million Guaranteed Deepstack Kickoff, runs January 17-21 and comes with the affordable buy-in Kerstetter mentioned of $560. The event has six starting flights and unlimited re-entries through the first 12 levels of play. Last year, this event attracted 5,101 entries and awarded a $383,431 top prize.
The other event Kerstetter mentioned, the $3,500 Championship, takes place January 29-February 3 and boasts a $3 million guarantee. Kerstetter understands that both $560 and $3,500 buy-in events can be out of a player’s price range, but, like the knowledgable pro she is, Kerstetter let us know about the great ways people can get into these events for cheap.
“BorgataPoker.com is offering daily online satellites at 7:30 p.m. ET for the $560 buy-in Borgata $2 Million Guaranteed Deepstack Kickoff,” she pointed out. “Since the satellites began on January 1, over 20 people have already qualified. Online qualifiers run from as little as $5 for people with big dreams and small bankrolls. There will also be bigger qualifiers, up to $400 for the Championship, coming up on the weekends before the event to give people all over NJ a chance to qualify from home. You could even multi-table an online qualifier on your phone while playing a live qualifier if you’re the weekend-warrior type that only has the last minute to try to qualify.
As was mentioned, Kerstetter is native to New Jersey. Borgata is her home casino, and she’s done very well there over the years. What is it about Borgata that Kerstetter loves so much that made it her go-to casino, even before she was a sponsored player?
“There are so many casinos that I travel to for poker only, and I’m in a hurry to leave as soon as I bust,” Kerstetter said. “The best part about Borgata is that players enjoy so much more than just the tournaments — I look forward to going to Bobby Flay and Izakaya, and hanging out at B Bar after bagging or busting.”
Bust you won’t want to do, though, says Kerstetter, who advises bringing a couple of buy-ins for the different events so you’re not sitting on the sidelines when others are playing for millions.
“Bring a few bullets for the first event and do everything you can to find a bag, or you’re going to be super jealous of everyone who made Day 2,” Kerstetter advised.
Now, let’s say you do bust and have some time to kill before ether next event starts. What should you do? It’s a good thing Kerstetter knows Borgata like the back of her hand, so she filled us in on some of her favorite food and entertainment options.
“Izakaya!” Kerstetter said emphatically about her favorite place to eat, referring to the modern sushi and Japanese restaurant at Atlantic City’s premier casino resort. “It’s my favorite restaurant at Borgata, and a great place to go with a group so you can share a lot of different dishes and try some interesting drinks. I would also suggest hitting up Immersion Spa at Water Club if you have any spare time. It’s 32 floors up and the views are gorgeous! It’s hard to get tilted if you start your day at the gym and pool up there.”
Over her career, Kerstetter has cashed 34 times in official events at Borgata, racking up a total of $166,128 in earnings. Her biggest prize came in the Season XI WPT Borgata Poker Open $3,500 Championship, when she placed 12th in a field of 1,181 entries to win $44,937. The prestigious WPT title still eludes her, though.
“I’m sorry to whoever had to wade through all my min-cashes on HendonMob to count that,” Kerstetter joked before continuing. “There would be no better tourney for me to break through than a WPT at Borgata, where my friends and family could be there to help me celebrate. I’ve gotten close with a couple of Day 4 appearances, and I have also gotten the chance to live vicariously through friends like David Paredes, Asher Conniff, and Chris Leong who have made it look pretty fun to win — so I’m gonna try to do that this time. But if Plan A doesn’t work out for me, I’ll be commentating the WPT final table live stream.”
The Season XV WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open kicks off January 17, 2017, and the $3,500 Championship runs January 29-February 3. The $3,500 Championship is an event you won’t want to miss, as it comes with a huge $3 million guaranteed prize pool and the chance to become a member of the WPT Champions Cup.