To say that Jared Bleznick rode a rollercoaster during his time at the final table of Event #8, a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament, at the 2021 U. S. Poker Open would be an understatement. He started off the day as the chip leader and, at one point, found himself as the short stack of the survivors. Bleznick was able to overcome this trip, however, en route to the championship.
Talented Final Table Presents Challenges for All
63 entries were received in the event on Thursday, but they had been whittled down to the final six players by the end of the night. Bleznick was atop the standings at the start of the action on Friday, but plenty of challenges were facing him. Ali Imsirovic, Maxx Coleman and Frank Crivello were just a few of the obstacles facing whoever would claim the championship.
The two short stacks at the table, Crivello and Christopher Usude, would get the action started and determine which man would go on in the event. Both men got their chips in with good hands – Crivello held A-A-Q-7, while Usude had K-K-J-4 double suited in spades and diamonds. Two diamonds on the flop brought potential to Usude to come back and win and a turn diamond completed the trick. Usude would fade a potential boat draw for Crivello, cutting Crivello down to scraps; he would depart the tournament in sixth place a few moments later.
Chips would be shuffled around for a bit, with Coleman eventually taking over the lead. He would add to that lead in dismissing Joseph Sanders in fifth place, his double suited A-K-7-6 finding a flush by the river to vanquish Sanders’ K-K-7-5. Coleman would keep his foot on the gas, taking out Imsirovic in fourth and Usude in third, to set up heads up action with Bleznick.
An out-chipped Bleznick used patience to get back in the event. He would grind away at Coleman’s lead for more than 60 minutes before powering into his own dominant edge. On the final hand, Bleznick potted with an A-8-8-7 and two spades while Coleman called with a double suited 9-7-6-2 for battle. On a 10-7-4 flop, Coleman put the remainder of his stack in the center and Bleznick called the offering, with Coleman seeing some significant issues with his lesser pair against Bleznick’s eights. No help would come for Coleman on the turn or river, locking the championship up for Bleznick in PLO.
1. Jared Bleznick, $189,000
2. Maxx Coleman, $126,000
3. Christopher Usude, $88,200
4. Ali Imsirovic, $63,000
5. Joseph Sanders, $50,400
6. Frank Crivello, $37,800
McKeehen Continues to Lead Overall Championship Race
Coleman’s work in Event #8 was able to pull him up into a more competitive position in the race for the Overall U. S. Poker Open Championship, but he still got a way to go before reaching the top. Joe McKeehen, using his victory in Event #3 of the 2021 USPO, has been able to add in another finish to take the top slot on the leaderboard. The surprise of this year’s event has been the performance of the veteran Steve Zolotow, who has been close to winning a tournament and has been at three final tables already on the schedule.
With four events left on the schedule, anyone who has their name in the Top Ten has a shot at taking home the “Golden Eagle” trophy and the $50,000 bonus that goes with the award. Without further ado, here are your contenders for the 2021 Overall Champion at the U. S. Poker Open:
1. Joe McKeehen, 302 points
2. Steve Zolotow, 289
3. David Peters, 243*
4. Dan Shak, 236
5. Maxx Coleman, 231
6. John Riordan, 222
7. Jake Daniels, 219
8. Sam Soverel, 214
9. Joey Weissman, 204
10. Jared Bleznick, 189
(* – defending champion)
(photos courtesy of PokerGO.com)