Borgata Announces ‘The Return’ Live Poker Tournament, Over $4 Million Guaranteed

Written By Anthony Cicali III on November 1, 2022 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
Borgata AC Poker

After months of speculation, poker players in the Northeast finally have some major Borgata tournament news. A live major series will return to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. BetMGM Poker and Borgata have joined forces and are showcasing “The Return” series from Jan. 4-8.

Poker players will be able to jump in four events hosted in Atlantic City. There will also be a live qualifying event as well. Prize pools worth over $4 million will be guaranteed for the January events.  Borgata made the official announcement earlier today via press release.

“The return of championship poker to Borgata is a long time coming,” said Vincent Alonge Jr., Borgata’s Director of Poker Operations.

The list of qualifiers is posted on the BetMGM Poker app, with the first one scheduled for Nov.20. All live events for The Return will take place inside the Borgata Poker Room and Central Conference Center.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The Main Event at the Borgata runs Jan. 4-8. The $5,300 buy-in event comes with an impressive $3 Million guaranteed prize pool. The event also guarantees at least $1 million to first!

The series will also include a popular mystery bounty event on Jan. 2. Mystery Bounties are a popular phenomenon in the poker world. When players eliminate another player they receive an envelope with an unknown prize. Mystery bounties allow players to win big, but they don’t know what prize they won until the package is opened.  The top mystery prize for this event will be $250,000.

The complete series is listed below:

  • $2,200 NLH Mystery Bounty (Event 1, Jan. 2-3) – $1 M guaranteed
  • $560 NLH Satte Qualifier to Main Event (Event 2, Jan. 3) – 1 in 10 win
  • $5,400 NLH Main Event (Event 3, Jan. 4-8) – $1 M guaranteed
  • $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

Online satellites and buy-ins for ‘The Return’ at Borgata

Besides the live qualifiers, players will have a chance to earn entry via online satellites. This allows for poker players to get in for a fraction of the cost.

“BetMGM recognizes the strong legacy of tournaments at Borgata and is thrilled to collaborate with the team to bring online qualifiers to ‘The Return,'” said Luke Staudenmaier, Director of Poker, BetMGM. “In the upcoming months, we look forward to offering online poker players various ways to qualify for this momentous event which will kick off 2023 with a bang!”

NJ online poker players can also register for the Main Event online between Dec.1 -31. Live in person registration starts Jan. 2. According to the Borgata site, players can register via the BetMGM poker app. Here is how the message reads:

“Log in to your BetMGM account through the BetMGM Poker app and choose The Return Online Registration Tournament to secure your seat. Events may sell out through the BetMGM platform. All players making the final table for the Championship Event will receive a complimentary room on Saturday, January 7.“

BetMGM Poker daily mega-qualifiers schedule

The NJ BetMGM Poker website now includes the daily mega-qualifier schedule for The Return:

Starting November 20, daily mega-qualifiers give players a chance to win for as little as $5. Weekly $600 qualifiers will award $6,000 packages including $5,300 tournament entry, 4-night stay at Borgata and $200 cash. 

The first two mega-qualifiers are taking place Sunday, Nov. 20:

  • $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD, 3:30 p.m.
  • $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD

Borgata The Return Daily Mega-Qualifiers Schedule Nov. 21-Dec. 22

Day Time Qualifier Total Buy-in
Monday 7 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Monday8 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Tuesday 5:30 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Tuesday 6:30 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Tuesday 8 p.m. $100 Borgata Round 3, 2x $500 Tickets GTD$100
Wednesday 7 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Wednesday 8 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Thursday 5:30 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Thursday 6:30 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Thursday 8 p.m. $100 Borgata Round 3, 2x $500 Tickets GTD $100
Friday 7 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Friday 8 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Saturday 5:30 p.m. $5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Saturday 6:30 p.m. $20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Saturday 8 p.m. $100 Borgata Round 3, 2x $500 Tickets GTD$100
Sunday 3:30 p.m.$5 Borgata Round 1, 3x $20 Tickets GTD$5
Sunday 4:30 p.m.$20 Borgata Round 2, 2x $100 Tickets GTD$20
Sunday 6 p.m.$100 Borgata Round 3, 2x $500 Tickets GTD $100
Sunday 8 p.m. $600 Borgata Final, 1 Package GTD$600

Borgata poker players share mixed reactions

One player heading into the action in New Jersey is Zach Gruneberg of Boalsburg PA.

“Been waiting for Borgata to come back since COVID. I’ve always considered it my home casino even though I’m a little over four hours away. I’ve been very lucky historically at Borgata and I’m excited to be back playing with home field advantage,” Gruneberg said.

He goes on to say, “The room is already booked for the entire stay and I couldn’t be more excited to be back.”

Some players weren’t as ecstatic. Pierre Deissler voiced his concerns on Twitter stating that this was a series pros only. The high buy-ins secluded the smaller recreational players. “What happened to at least ONE smaller buy-in tourney for the majority?”

Former Borgata pro Katie Stone posted on Twitter “Probably due to space constraints. No more big openers because not enough space or staff.”

Other players are already booking their rooms in anticipation for the event.


This series is a few months away and is already starting a buzz from the community. Players can expect some large fields for the January events. Historically January events at the Borgata have always drawn in some big crowds.


Photo by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
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Anthony Cicali III

Anthony “Eatahoagie“ Cicali is a freelance writer from Riverside, NJ. He has his undergrad from Stockton University. He's also a Twitch casino streamer and a professional East Coast poker player. Currently covers poker and casino-related topics for PlayNJ, PlayTexas, PlayNY, Playpennsylvania and more. Favorite sports teams include Phillies, Flyers and the Gravina Football Club. You can follow his gambling adventures on Twitter @Eatahoagie.

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