The 2021 U. S. Poker Open is steaming towards their Main Event, which will begin this weekend. That does not mean there hasn’t been any action this week, however. In preliminary events at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas, Eli Elezra and the defending champion of the USPO, David Peters, took home the victor’s trophies, with both tournaments adding to the history of the USPO.
Mixed Game Event Sets Record
Mixed game events require a poker player to be well versed in many disciplines of poker, not just proficient at one. Thus, fields for these events tend to be smaller, but they also tend to be extremely competitive. In Event #6, the $10,000 Eight Game Mixed tournament, the final table’s makeup would demonstrate this fact in spades.
A grand total of 68 entries took to the felt to start the tournament, setting a record for a non-Texas Hold’em event in this history of the USPO. It was the seven men who came to the felt Wednesday night that represented the crème of the poker world, however. Leading the way was David ‘ODB’ Baker, holding the edge over players such as Daniel Negreanu, a suddenly resurgent Steve Zolotow and Israeli poker champ Eli Elezra.
The start of the day’s play was a stunner for all involved. Baker tried to play table sheriff in the early going and it would cost him. In only four hands, Baker would go from the chip lead to out of the event after doubling up Negreanu and then being beaten by Zolotow to end his day early in seventh place. The Zolotow beat was particularly tough as Baker, sitting on two black Aces in No Limit Hold’em, saw Zolotow’s A♥ K♥ hit runner-runner hearts to nail a flush and eliminate him.
Elezra began to assert himself after Baker’s departure, knocking out Nick Guagenti in sixth and chopping a huge bite of chips out of Richard Sklar to take over the chip lead. Negreanu would attempt to keep pace, eliminating Erik Sagstrom in fifth place and Sklar in fourth, but he would eventually fall to Elezra in third place during a round of Pot Limit Omaha.
Familiar foes from past cash game action, Elezra and Zolotow took a bit in feeling each other out before Elezra ramped up the action. In Stud Hi/Lo, Elezra was able to get the remainder of Zolotow’s chips in the center on Fifth Street, with Zolotow having a gated pair of fives and Elezra with a low draw. Sixth Street changed everything, however, bringing Elezra a pair of sevens to best Zolotow’s fives and, once Seventh Street did not bring any improvement to either man, Eli Elezra was the champion of the event.
1. Eli Elezra, $183,600
2. Steve Zolotow, $136,000
3. Daniel Negreanu, $88,400
4. Richard Sklar, $68,000
5. Erik Sagstrom, $54,400
6. Nick Guagenti, $40,800
7. David ‘ODB’ Baker, $34,000
Reigning USPO Champion Peters Victorious in Event #7
Event #7 of the USPO, another $10,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament, broke a record that had been set earlier in the schedule. Event #1 of the USPO saw 95 entrants come to the tables, setting the record for the largest event ever in the history of the USPO. Event #7 topped that, bringing 99 entries to the battle before setting up the seven handed final table after Kristina Holst was eliminated on the final table bubble.
David Peters, the defending champion of the overall USPO, was battling for the lead with Jared Jaffee when the official final table went under the streaming cameras of PokerGO, but there were plenty of other competitors in the field. Dan Shak was one of the first to leave that final table when his short stack push with pocket sixes failed against Peters’ A♠ 9♠. Peters’ run would continue when he busted Ivan Zufic in sixth place to grab more than half the chips on the table.
Jaffee awoke at this point to challenge Peters for supremacy. He would eliminate the two-time Poker Player of the Year, Alex Foxen, to improve Jaffee’s stack. Peters would have none of it, however, eliminating Brock Wilson in fourth and Andy Lichtenberger in third place to start heads-up play with more than a 3:1 lead over Jaffee. The duo would square off for more than an hour, with Jaffee slowly grinding his way to challenge Peters for the lead. But Jaffee would never be able to pass Peters, eventually falling when he pushed with a K-2 against Peters’ A-8. As the dealer put out the cards, Jaffee grumbled “You always have it, huh?” to Peters and, once there was no improvement for either man, Peters was the champion of the event and leapt immediately into defense of his crown at the 2021 U. S. Poker Open.
1. David Peters, $217,800
2. Jared Jaffee, $158,400
3. Andrew Lichtenberger, $118,800
4. Brock Wilson, $89,100
5. Alex Foxen, $79,200
6. Ivan Zufic, $59,400
7. Dan Shak, $49,500
(photos courtesy of PokerGO.com)