It’s come down to the final days of the 2023 U. S. Poker Open, but there are plenty of questions that remain to be answered. After a day off on Palm Sunday, Event #9 will resume on Monday with Brian Kim leading the way over a difficult final table. Also on Monday, the $50,000 No Limit Hold’em finale will begin, with its final table set for Tuesday.

Brian Kim Leads Mani USPO Overall Championship Contenders

47 entries came out on Saturday for the next to last tournament of the 2023 USPO, the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event. With so few entries, only the top seven players would walk away with a share of the $1.175 million prize pool. There was plenty of excitement in getting to those final seven, including one of poker’s legends holding on for dear life to at the minimum earn a cash from the tournament.

After David Peters was eliminated in ninth place, the remaining eight players redrew for the final table and the determination of who would go away with nothing to show for their efforts. Safe in the fact that they were going to be earning some money, the chip leaders, including Kim, Ren Lin, and Dan Smith, stayed out of the fray until the bubble boy was determined. In the end, it was a clash of short stacks that would decide one player’s unfortunate fate.

In middle position, Johan Schultz-Pedersen would push in his short stack and the action worked around to Cary Katz in the big blind. Katz knew that this was a big moment, with either Schultz-Pedersen leaving the tournament or Katz being on life support if he called. Katz would burn two time chips before he would commit to the call and the cards went to their backs:

Schultz-Pedersen: A-Q
Katz: pocket eights

A J-5-4 flop did nothing to help Schultz-Pedersen, nor did the second Jack that came on the turn. Looking for one of the six outs that would help him, Schultz-Pedersen would instead see a deuce come on the river. That little two would eliminate Schultz-Pedersen from the tournament with nothing to show for his day and make the final seven men quite pleased.

The tournament did not stop with Schultz-Pedersen’s departure, however. Kim and Smith would clash – and chop – on a 5-3-3-2-A board when each man had a five in their pocket. Daniel Negreanu, however, would not be so fortunate in a clash against Nick Schulman, seeing his A-10 get caught by Schulman’s A-4 on a K-J-7-4-J board. That double-up for Schulman would doom Negreanu to a seventh-place finish after Smith’s K-10 turned a King high straight against Negreanu’s A-J to knock him out.

That set the stage for Monday’s final table in Event #9, with the players lining up as such:

1. Brian Kim, 2.085 million
2. Dan Smith, 1.605 million
3. Ren Lin, 1.07 million
4. Punnat Punsri, 980,000
5. Cary Katz, 660,000
6. Nick Schulman, 655,000

The action resumes at noon (Pacific Daylight Time) in the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas, but there’s much more up for grabs beyond this and the Main Event title.

Anyone’s Overall Title to Win

When it comes to the 2023 U. S. Poker Open overall championship, it is anyone’s title to win. Currently, the apex predator of the leaderboard is Sam Soverel, who is stacked with 457 points. His points total is far from secure, however, as anyone in the Top Ten could conceivably catch him should he not cash in the Main Event. Soverel may even lose the overall lead as soon as the conclusion of the Event #9 final table on Monday; Ren Lin (fourth place, 310 points) can pass Soverel with a deep run in Event #9 and head to the Main Event with the overall edge.

At this time, here’s how the Overall Leaderboard lines up heading to the final two events:

1. Sam Soverel, 457 points
2. Darren Elias, 399
3. Isaac Kempton, 344
4. Ren Lin, 310
5. Chris Brewer, 305
6. Nacho Barbero, 303
7. Brandon Wilson, 269
8. Joey Weissman, 259
9. Allan Le, 253
10. Phil Hellmuth, 230

Nothing is settled as to the 2023 U. S. Poker Open. It will go down to the final table of the Main Event on Tuesday, which will be streamed on PokerGO and will crown the fourth champion in the history of the event.

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