The US Poker Open reached the halfway point on Wednesday in Las Vegas with plenty of big names rising to the top. That included televised poker regular Eli Elezra and 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen winning titles.
The 12-event series runs through June 15 at the PokerGO Studio and has attracted a host of big buy-in specialists. Plenty of action remains and here’s a quick look at the events so far.
Event 6: $10,000 Eight-Game Mix – Elezra tops stacked final table
Plenty of big names rose to the top in this event, including a final table with Steve Zolotow and Daniel Negreanu. Those poker heavyweights would take second ($136,000) and third ($88,400), respectively. It was Poker Hall of Famer Elezra taking the championship for $183,600.
For Zolotow, this was his third final table appearance of the series. After leading on Day 1, David “ODB” Baker finished seventh for $34,000.
Elezra has been a favorite among fans for years after appearances on shows like High Stakes Poker. This was his first win since scoring his third WSOP bracelet in 2019. The event attracted 68 entries for a $680,000 prize pool.
Negreanu took to Twitter to note some particularly unlucky runs Baker experienced at the final table.
Pretty unlucky start for @audavidb chip leader out in 4 hands.
Lost a flip, then lost AA vs Steve Zolotow AK
Newsflash: poker is a game where variance plays a role.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) June 9, 2021
Event 5: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em – Weissman stages rally for win
Joey Weissman needed some help several times in this event. He scored five double-ups, including two heads-up against Adam Hendrix, to take the title.
When play did reach heads up, Hendrix actually held a 6 to 1 chip advantage over Weissman. But those big all-in wins turned the tide and he rallied, eventually scoring a USPO championship and $204,000
The event brought in 85 entries for an $850,000 prize pool. McKeehen continued his impressive run in the series, finishing third for $102,000.
Several big names cashes in this event and some of those included: Cary Katz (fourth for $85,000), Nick Schulman (eighth for $34,000), Negreanu (10th for $25,500), Ali Imsirovic (11th for $25,500), and Shannon Shorr (13th for $17,000).
Event 4: $10,000 Big Bet Mix – Riordan rolls to victory over poker superstars
John Riordan topped two of the hottest names in poker on his way to this big win and $163,200 first-place money. High stakes regular Sean Perry took runner-up for $105,600.
Alex Foxen finished third for $72,000 in an event that produced 48 entries for a $480,000 prize pool. For Riordon, the win becomes one of the biggest of his career and this player from Florida now has four USPO cashes this summer.
Event 3: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em – McKeehan wins with quads & double knockout
Things certainly went McKeehen’s way in this tournament and a thrilling final hand highlighted the action. Battling three-handed with World Poker Tour regular Ray Qartomy and Ali Imsirovic, both moved all in and McKeehen made the call.
Imsirovic was down to a single big blind after losing a big coin flip the previous hand to Qartomy. He moved in with 10♣6♥ before McKeehen raised with J♥J♦.
Qartomy then moved all in himself with 5♠5♦ and McKeehen quickly called. The flop brought J♣2♠A♠ to give McKeehen a set. The turn of the J♠ finished off the win for McKeehen with quads.
The USPO finish marked McKeehen’s first cash ever in the series and he took home $200,200. The 2015 WSOP Main Event champion now has almost $17 million in live poker tournament winnings.
For runner-up, Qartomy banked $146,300 and Imsirovic scored $100,100 for third. The win and later third-place finish vaulted McKeehen to the top of the USPO standings. The tournament produced 77 buy-ins for a $770,000 prize pool. Here’s a look at the final two hands.
Event 2: $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha – Soverel cruises to
Sam Soverel came into Day 2 as chip leader with almost half the chips in play. He continued to dominate when play resumed.
Soverel eventually finished off Jordan Cristos heads up for his first USPO win and $175,500. Now with $15 million in live tournament winnings, he has three USPO cashes this summer. The event featured 65 entries and $650,000 paid out to players.
Event 1: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em – Jake Daniels bottles up a title
The inaugural event produced the biggest field of the series so far. Jake Daniels topped a field of 95 entries for a $218,500 score.
The Texan faced quite a final table before besting Dan Shak heads up. The others included Barry Hutter (third for $114,000), Stephen Chidwick (fourth for $95,000), and Steve Zolotow (fifth for $76,000).
This marks Daniels’ first USPO Open title and he now has $1.6 million in live tournament winnings. Shak won $152,000 for runner-up.
Looking at events ahead
Plenty of action remains in the US Poker Open in the coming week with six more events on the schedule. Day 2 of Event 7: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em plays out today with Andrew Lichtenberger leading the final table.
Also among those returning are Shak, Foxen, Brock Wilson, Jared Jaffee, and David Peters. The champion wins $217,800 and the tournament has eclipsed the field for the opening event.
The stakes get raised in the coming days with a $25,000 event set for June 13. That’s followed by a $50,000 event to close the series on June 14.
Plenty of high rollers should be out in force for those two. The series is the first featuring fantasy gaming from SuperDraft and USPoker recently took a look at this new gaming option.
All final table action can be seen on the PokerGO app. Here’s a look at the remaining events:
2021 US Poker Open
Date Event Buy-in
June 9 #7 - $10,000 No Limit Hold'em $10,000
June 10 #8 - $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha $10,000
June 11 #9 - $10,000 No Limit Hold'em $10,000
June 12 #10 - $10,000 Short Deck $10,000
June 13 #11 - $25,000 No Limit Hold'em $25,000
June 14 #12 - $50,000 No Limit Hold'em $50,000