There was plenty of action around the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas on Saturday. In Event #2 of the 2023 U. S. Poker Open, Ren Lin rode a storm of good cards to a convincing victory. While he may have come up short of Lin in that tournament, Nacho Barbero struck again in making a final table and will take over the lead in the pursuit of the Player of the Series trophy for the 2023 USPO.

Event #2 Mirror Image of First Tournament

Event #2, another $10,000 Texas Hold’em tournament, mimicked its earlier counterpart in virtually every way. 105 entries were received for the tournament, just as Event #1 had, and another twelve competitors earned cash and points towards the 2023 USPO overall championship. There was another similarity at the final table – the presence of Nacho Barbero.

Barbero, who made the final table of Event #1 on Friday, also was a part of the final table mix on Saturday’s Event #2. He was the only player to pull off that feat, but his 1.805 million chips were a force to be reckoned with. As the players reconvened for Event #2 on Saturday afternoon, Nate Silver was the man in charge with 3.505 million chips, followed by Aram Zobian (2.735 million), Lin (1.935 million), and Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel (1.81 million). The short stacks of Robert Chorlian (575K) and Steven Veneziano (865K) rounded out the field as the cards hit the air.

The players didn’t waste time with frivolity on Saturday – the entirety of the final table took around two and a half hours to wrap up, start to finish. Chorlian would double up in one of the early hands through Seidel, his pocket Kings outlasting Seidel’s pocket eights, while Veneziano would not be quite so fortunate. He would get his chips in against Silver but at a disadvantage. Veneziano’s A-9 was behind Silver’s A-Q preflop and fell further behind when a Queen came on the flop. There were no saving running cards for Veneziano as he departed the festivities in seventh place.

Chorlian’s good fortune would continue for a bit longer at the final table. He found another double, through Silver this time, when his pocket tens stood against Silver’s Big Slick. Seidel himself got a bit healthier, doubling up through Zobian when his pocket tens iced the flop with a ten to completely shut out Zobian’s pocket eights.

Even though he got the double, Seidel chose the wrong moment to make an attack. After raising a pot with an A-J off suit, Lin would move all in with pocket sevens and Seidel made the call. An A-4-Q shocked those in attendance at the PokerGO Studios, but the seven on the turn brought even more gasps as Lin locked down the hand. An innocuous four on the river changed nothing and, after the count was made, it was determined that Seidel had been all in and was now all out in sixth place, while Lin went to the chip lead.

Five Eliminations in One Hour

After the departure of the Poker Hall of Famer, the action went to 11 on the meter. Silver would fight back momentarily to take the lead after Barbero made a raise and Zobian three-bet the action. Barbero was a bit frisky with a K-10 five-handed, while Zobian held pocket eights for his three-bet. Silver, however, had a massive cooler in pocket Queens and moved all in himself, pushing Barbero out of the pot. Zobian, who was quite unlucky throughout the play, rolled his eyes and stood as the cards were turned up. The board didn’t do a thing to change the situation, running out 10-3-7-A-A, and Zobian hit the rail in fifth place.

It was inevitable that Lin and Silver would clash, and it came in one of the best hands of the tournament. On a flop and turn of 8-10-Q-7, Silver had caught the bottom two pair and made a bet. Lin, however, would sneakily hit the straight with his 9-6, and moved all-in against the start-of-day chip leader. Silver at times looked like he might get away from the hand with a fold, but he would eventually make the call and see the bad news. Needing an eight or a seven, Silver instead saw a blank come and was down to mere scraps for chips; he would be out of the tournament in fourth place on the very next hand.

Now amply stacked with over eight million chips, Lin would ravage his final two rivals. First was Chorlian, who decided to stand with a suited Q-9 against Lin’s Big Slick; the seven high board changed nothing except Chorlian’s place at the table. Barbero would fight for a bit, but the chip differential was just too much. On the final hand, Lin would hold an A-5 against Barbero’s K♠ 7♠, flop a five, and river an Ace to seal the deal and win Event #2.

1. Ren Lin, $231,000
2. Nacho Barbero, $168,000
3. Robert Chorlian, $126,000
4. Nate Silver, $99,750
5. Aram Zobian, $78,750
6. Erik Seidel, $63,000
7. Steven Veneziano, $52,500

If there is a silver lining for Barbero, his two final table finishes put him in first place on the leaderboard for the 2023 USPO overall championship. Along with his 79 points earned for his fifth-place finish in Friday’s Event #1, Barbero has 247 points to lead the two winners in Lin and Joey Weissman (231 points each). Justin Young is in fourth (168 points), while the fifth-place slot is held by Andrew Moreno and Chorlian (126 points). There’s a long way to go to the end of the 2023 USPO, however, so this may only be a momentary salve for Barbero – unless he can win one of the upcoming events on the schedule.

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