The legendary Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is making its way back into the tournament poker scene for the start of 2023, with its appropriately-named series, ‘The Return,’ running from January 2-8.
Best of all, the series (also being presented by BetMGM Poker) will hit the ground running in a massive way, with Borgata’s first-ever Mystery Bounty event on January 2-3. The tournament features a $2,200 buy-in with $1 million in guaranteed bounties, counted separate from the regular prize pool, with two starting flights on January 2 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The full week’s slate of events guarantees more than $4 million, with the majority of the buzz coming from the opening Mystery Bounty event and the $3 million guaranteed Main Event to follow.
If you’re still on the fence about heading to the Atlantic City casino for these events, keep reading for a complete breakdown of the Mystery Bounty and full series highlights.
Mystery Bounty poker tournaments are popular for a reason
Vincent Alonge Jr., Borgata’s Director of Poker Operations, talked about the early excitement surrounding the Mystery Bounty tournament.
”This Mystery Bounty event will bring great energy to our property as we prepare for The Return,” Alonge Jr. said. “Borgata’s Poker Room continues to find innovative ways to produce the best tournaments for our players.”
Mystery Bounty events have become a popular form of tournament over the last couple of years, originating in Las Vegas and quickly spreading throughout the poker world.
The events give players a chance at claiming a bounty worth as much, if not more than a tournament’s first-place prize. In this event, bounties range from $500 to $250,000.
- Bounties begin on Day 2 with 300 players remaining, meaning all knockouts earned on Day 1 are ineligible for a bounty prize.
- Once a player wins a bounty, they may claim a prize from the available Mystery Bounty pool.
- Players pick from a pre-determined number of fixed bounty prizes. Each time a player wins a prize, it is removed from the bounty pool.
- Players may choose to redeem bounty prizes as soon as they earn a qualifying knockout or collect them all at once, at the end of the tournament.
- The value of each knockout is revealed once a player draws their Mystery Bounty prize.
- Prizes are as follows: $250,000 (1); $100,000 (2); $50,000 (3); $25,000 (4); $10,000 (5); $5,000 (11); $2,500 (24); $1,000 (20); $500 (230).
$1 million in guaranteed bounties was an ‘easy decision’ for Borgata
This past summer, the World Series of Poker ran its first Mystery Bounty event, advertising a $1 million top bounty prize that Pennsylvania poker pro Matt Glantz was fortunate enough to claim.
Other MGM Las Vegas properties like Aria and MGM Grand also ran successful Mystery Bounty events over the summer. Now, Borgata has decided to join the party.
“The buzz surrounding ‘The Return’ has been nothing short of incredible, said Sean McCormack, MGM Resorts’ Director of Poker Strategy. “Given Borgata’s rich history of poker tournaments, we recognize the need to come back in a big way. This made for an easy decision to kick off with a Mystery Bounty event with $1,000,000 in guaranteed bounties. After 20 years in this business, I’ve yet to see the level of player hype that I have with mystery bounties.”
Tournament prize pool breakdown:
- Buy-In: $2,200 ($1,000 to bounty pool, $1,000 to prize pool and $200 rake)
- The bounty pool is fixed at $1 million, distributed across 300 pre-set prizes awarded on Day 2 only.
- After the bounty pool reaches $1 million (1,000 entries), 100% of all buy-ins will go to the prize pool.
‘The Return’ schedule of events at Borgata Atlantic City
NJ online poker players have been awaiting the return of tournaments to Borgata since 2020, when the COVID pandemic shut down poker room operations on a global scale. That wait is finally over.
The five-event series schedule is provided below, and assuming all goes well, will hopefully set the bar for larger and longer series later in the year.
- $2,200 NLH Mystery Bounty (Event 1, Jan. 2-3) – $1M in guaranteed bounties
- $560 NLH Satellite Qualifier to Main Event (Event 2, Jan. 3) – 1 in 10 win
- $5,300 NLH Main Event (Event 3, Jan. 4-8) – $3M guaranteed; $1M guaranteed to 1st place
- $2,100 NLH 1K Bounty (Event 4, Jan. 6-7) – $150,000 guaranteed
- $1,100 NLH Survivor (Event 5, Jan. 7-8) – $100,000 guaranteed