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The World Poker Tour plans to kick off 2014 in style with the ever-popular $3,300 buy-in WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and we are delighted to see at least two partypoker players will be competing for a slice of the massive prize pool that is expected to be generated.

Last Sunday, Diego “salue111” Zeiter won a $275 satellite to the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and this weekend, Maximilian “Max_The_Mush” Droege followed in Zeiter’s footsteps meaning the duo head to New Jersey in January 2014 each armed with a superb package worth $6,000!

Droege’s path to the $6,000 package was anything but plain sailing; not only did he start the final table as one of the shortest stacks, his situation worsened when his could not get there against the dominating of hubsy56. Dorege would later get revenge on hubsy59 by sending him to the rail in third place, setting up a heads-up clash with FLUZAO_BR67.

Going into the one-on-one winner-takes-all encounter, Droege trailed his opponent by 28,887 to 46,113 chips, but within 15 hands he had pulled level thanks to winning four large pots. Droege, a former chess tournament player, constantly attacked his opponent and was running away with the tournament when a massive hand went against him that swung the tie back in FLUZAO_BR67’s favour.

In the hand, FLUZAO_BR67 opened from the button with a min-raise to 500, Droege raised to 2,000 and FLUZAO_BR67 called. The flop came down , Droege checked, FLUZAO_BR67 bet 4,050 and Droege check-raised all-in to 44,785 with the . Unfortunately for Droege, his opponent was sat there with and had flopped a full house, which improved to quad kings on the river. This left Droege with 18,620 chips to FLUZAO_BR67’s 56,380.

Again, Droege fought back and was almost level before losing another large pot, this time with pocket queens against the ace-queen of FLUZAO_BR67 that caught an ace on the river. Still, Droege refused to give up and, some may say deservedly, caught a lucky break when his pocket sevens were initially outdrawn by queen-jack before turning a set to double up. From that moment on, Droege did not look back and at around 11:21 p.m GMT, all of the chips went flying into the middle of the table with the flop reading , Droege holding and FLUZAO_BR67 the . The turn locked up the hand for Droege and when the inconsequential completed the board, Droege had secured a $6,000 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open package!

This is not the first time that Droege has won a live event package via partypoker. In August 2013, Droege won a package to WPT Cyprus where he finished seventh for $38,100 and a couple of weeks ago he won a $5,000 package to WPT Montreal and now this $6,000 package to WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open! You could say that Droege has a knack for online satellites!

The last time the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open took place – in January 2013 – a massive crowd of 1,-42 players bought in for $3,500 and created a prize pool of $3,335,442. The eventual winner, Andy Hwang, walked away from Atlantic City with a massive $730,053 for his victory. Here’s hoping either Droege or Zeiter can fly home with a similar prize.

Catching Up And Catching Cards

We caught up with Droege (pictured at the felt at the WPT Cyprus) after his satellite win and asked him how he got into poker, what games and stakes he usually plays and more.

What stakes and games do you usually play when playing poker?

I play a mixture of online and live poker.  When I play cash live I usually play 2/5 NLHE, I find it actually easier than grinding out 1/2 live.  When I play large buyin live tournaments, it’s only because I’ve qualified for them previously online.

Online, I play everything from $10 rebuys to $200 MTTs. I try to satellite into larger buy in tournaments.  Overall in life, I still don’t actually play that much volume/poker in general and my bankroll management is poor! I need to practice better bankroll management and also play a lot more, at lower stakes, log more hours etc, however it’s very difficult to balance with other priorities in my life, like sports, friends, family and an overall healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally.  Poker can be very draining, and it’s important to remember  that sometimes there’s more to life than the flip of a card.

What are your main interests outside of poker?

Everyone knows I’m a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan!  Like many young Torontonians, my childhood dream was to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.  If you saw me skate you’d know why that didn’t happen! LOL! Nonetheless, i.e. hockey has always been my first love; I have a relentless passion for the game and the culture of the sport. I play ice hockey three times a week, I coached a couple kids’ teams for two seasons and I never miss a Leaf game.  Hey Jonathan Roy/Duhamel- the Habs suck boys ;)

I also love music, I grew up submersed in hip-hop culture and hip-hop music will always have a huge piece of my heart.  I love food and cooking as well, I worked as a cook for five years from age 18-23 at a restaurant called the Grapefruit Moon.  I started out as a dishwasher.  I’ve worked a massive array of minimum wage jobs from movie theaters to security, to basic construction labour, dish-washing, cooking, cleaning, you name it.  I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18 and I had rent to pay so I was always working.

If you go all the way and win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, what will you spend the money on?

A nice year round cottage somewhere on a Lake in Ontario.  Summers BBQing, drinking beer, swimming in the lake with friends. Winters drinking beer in the hot tub, skating on the frozen lake, playing hockey with friends. :)  The simple things in life! :)

Many thanks for your time. Before we go, could you give our readers five tips for online poker?

1.) Follow proper bankroll management (something I never did!)

2.) If you’re playing MTTs, have food or healthy snacks prepared before you start playing.

3.) Take notes on your opponents.

4.) Turn off your phone and limit all distractions.

5.) Whether you win or lose, make sure you have fun and have learned something.

Qualify to a live poker event today with partypoker!

From WPT Montreal, WPT Prague, the WPT National UK tour and of course the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open we’ve got you covered here on partypoker! Qualifiers are running daily! So make sure you check out our Tournaments page for all the details and hopefully we’ll be seeing you at the felt pretty soon!

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