The U.S. Poker Open moves to its exciting conclusion this weekend with Stephen Chidwick headlining. Chidwick is the overwhelming leader on the USPO leaderboard coming into Friday’s Event #7 $25,000 High Roller final table. The British sensation is the only two-time event winner in the series and over the $1 million mark in earnings for the USPO based on his yet-to-be-determined cash from Friday’s event.
All that’s left for Chidwick to do is survive for two more events and he will be the first USPO Champion. The award goes to the player who earns the most money during the eight-event series.
The journey to Chidwick’s lead started with the first event of the series, a $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event on Feb. 1. Justin Bonomo won the tournament in a field of 68 entries and earned $190,400 for his efforts. Chidwick placed fifth and set the blueprint for his series.
Mike Gorodinsky followed up Bonomo’s result the next day by taking down the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Event #2. The USPO featured two mixed game challenges on the schedule and the 2015 World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship titleholder won the four-card contest.
Lead opens up
Chidwick completed the next part of his USPO journey in Event #3. The first $25,000 No Limit match put together a six-handed final table featuring Daniel Negreanu and Jake Schindler. Those two players bowed out in fourth and third place, respectively. Chidwick was the last one standing out of the 44 who entered and had $374,000 waiting for him at the payout cage.
The $25,000 Mixed Game Championship put together a select group of all-around savants looking to prove themselves against the world’s best mixed game players. A top-heavy field of 45 registered and the final table proved to be a tough battleground with Isaac Haxton and Phil Hellmuth at the final table. For the second day in a row, Chidwick emerged and put a wide gap between him and the rest of the USPO field.
Glimpse of hope
Ben Tollerene won the $10,000 No Limit Event #5 the next day. Schindler worked his way to a second final table and fell to Tollerene in heads up play. The 2017 Super High Roller Bowl runner-up had a moment to catch Chidwick in the standings but that time passed.
Closing out strong
Europe captured another title in Las Vegas when Benjamin Pollak shipped a $25,000 No Limit fiesta on Thursday. Chidwick took third, behind Jason Koon and Pollak, and grew his lead. Pollak made good on his second USPO live stream appearance. The Mixed Game Championship featured a fourth-place result from the Frenchman.
The final $25,000 No Limit final table is today and Chidwick is the chip leader. Standing in his way between another title and effectively clinching the USPO title are Negreanu, David Peters, and Event #3 silver medalist Keith Tilston. The Texan is just off the pace of the leaders but a win worth $400,000 combined with an early bustout from Chidwick gives Tilston a fighting chance.
Chidwick is up to $994,600 in USPO earnings before the start of play and Tilston claims $262,100.
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The USPO series concludes with the three-day $50,000 Main Event. Based on field sizes so far, around 60-75 entrants will comprise the field. That creates a first-place prize of at least $500,000.
Main Event closes out USPO
Day 2 of the Main Event and the final table are streaming on PokerGO. The winner of the series is to be crowned on Sunday, Feb. 11.
Odds are it is Chidwick who will step into the winner’s circle. A late run by Pollak, Tilston, or another player on the leaderboard could push the Brit. Should Chidwick close out the Event #7 final table, his name should be engraved on the USPO trophy soon after.