NOTHING LIKE PLAYING with house money, right? Flyers forward Scottie Upshall still has his seat after Day 1 of the Borgata Poker Open, which kicked off yesterday at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Upshall, 24, had his $10,000 entry fee waived by the Borgata. The catch? Upshall's winnings are being split between his two favorite charities: Flyers Wives Fight for Lives and Kids Forever Foundation, which Upshall founded with Chris Phillips from the Ottawa Senators.
"These are two great causes," Upshall said. "It's great to get to play poker with the pros and see what the World Poker Tour is all about."
Each of the tournament's 500 players, who Upshall said were "dropping like flies," began the day with $40,000 in chips. Upshall doubled his stack after the first five sessions. He is hoping that will carry him to the final table on Thursday.
"By no means am I the chip leader," he joked. "But I'm certainly not hanging on for dear life."
The winner's share of the $5 million prize pool is $1.4 million.
The tournament is good practice for the upcoming season for Upshall. Poker is a hit on Flyers' road trips. Bet on this being a little bit tougher than bluffing a pot off Derian Hatcher or Scott Hartnell.
Don't worry, Flyers fans. Even though he played poker for 8-plus hours yesterday, Upshall returned to Voorhees, N.J., for a workout session this morning in preparation for the opening of training camp on Saturday. *
- Frank Seravalli
Perhaps the Borgata does care. It's nice to see the Borgata support local charities and a fun way to do it. It gets to have a Philadelphia Flyer in its tournament while not actually having to donate any money.
It's a $5 million guaranteed and it got a little over that with the buy-ins. So waiving one player isn't going to hurt them. However, I wonder how many of the tournament players got in through satellites. I am not entirely sure how it works. Does the money from the satellites go into the prize pool as well?