A field of 64 players converged in Atlantic City yesterday to compete in the $2,000 heads-up championship at the Borgata Winter Open . Among the many notables in attendance was 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps , who was making his first public appearance on the poker felt in about a year.It’s no secret that Phelps enjoys poker and has many friends within the poker community. Though his handle is anonymous, past reports have indicated that he not only plays a fair amount of online poker, but that he might have taken down a tournament or two in 2009. In fact, Phelps even made the final table of $1,500 event at the Caesars Palace Classic in late 2008.However, after a photograph of Phelps using a bong at a South Carolina party appeared in the British tabloid News of the World , the Olympic swimmer significantly cut down his public appearances and had avoided live poker for the most part. But yesterday, he was back in action.Though he failed to cash in the heads-up event at Borgata, he did manage to make it all the way to day 2, getting a bye in the first round before winning his second match. After losing in the third round to Jeff Madsen , Phelps beat both Paul Wasicka and Adam Gerber in the losers bracket to put himself within two victories of the money.His run ended Friday afternoon when he was defeated by Basilios Diakokomninos . Though he lives in nearby Baltimore, Phelps did not comment on whether or not he would stay for the main event, which begins on Sunday.The heads-up event is now in the money with just six players remaining. Bob Lauria , Greg Brooks , Jason Lufkin , Thomas Fuller , Freddy Najafabadi and recent World Poker Tour champion Olivier “livb112” Busquet will continue to play Friday night to determine an overall winner. That fortunate player will take home $49,664.You can see all of the results for the Borgata Winter Open by clicking on the tournaments tab.
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