Although it may not seem like much since it has only been around a couple years, history was made this weekend at the “made for streaming” U. S. Poker Open on PokerGO. In one event, Lauren Roberts became the first woman to win an event at the USPO (yes, only its tenth tournament, but still a big deal), while the other saw Sean Winter FINALLY break through with a victory after making his fourth consecutive final table.
USPO Event #3 – $10,000 No Limit Hold’em
The second of two $10,000 No Limit Hold’em tournaments on the USPO roster saw a similar number as its first brethren. In that first event, 90 entries would be received; in the Friday event, 91 entries would come to the line. By the time the final table was determined, there were also some familiar faces among the competitors.
Event #1 winner Stephen Chidwick was in the driver’s seat as the final table began on Saturday, holding a 2.43 million stack. His closest competitor was the man who finished second to him in Event #1, Sean Winter, who had a decent stack himself with 2.045 million chips. Winter, who is making the most of his time at the USPO, was playing at his third final table in as many events, was facing some heat himself from Brandon Adams with 1.895 million chips and Koray Aldemir and his 1.835 million chips. Ralph Wong, Roberts, Rodger Johnson and Jerry Robinson rounded out the survivors, but none of them were given serious chances at making a run.
With their short stacks, Robinson and Johnson were the first two eliminated during the day in eighth and seventh places, respectively. Roberts, however, had no interest in leaving the ARIA battleground where the PokerGO studios had set up shop. She would hang around, getting a double through Aldemir after Aldemir had taken the chip lead to keep her stack viable. Gradually, the players fell away until it was only Aldemir and Roberts for the title.
At this point, Aldemir had a sizeable advantage. With 8.45 million chips, Aldemir held the edge over Roberts’ 2.925 million, but Roberts refused to go away. She would draw close and, in one pivotal hand, would completely shift the course of the event.
As heads up play continued, Aldemir limped in with a Q-4 and Roberts, with an A-10 off suit in the big blind, made Aldemir pay to play with a raise to 500K. He called and, after a 3-5-10 flop missed him completely, both players checked. On an Ace turn, Roberts bet out first for 500K and Aldemir, with only a gut shot straight draw, made the call. After a river Jack, Roberts looked to get value for her two pair by betting 800K and got more than she expected. Aldemir moved all in and Roberts immediately called the bluff, showing her two pair as Aldemir mucked and the monstrous pot was pushed to Roberts. It would only take one more hand after that for Roberts to complete the comeback and win Event #3.
1. Lauren Roberts, $218,400
2. Koray Aldemir, $159,250
3. Stephen Chidwick, $113,750
4. Brandon Adams, $91,000
5. Sean Winter, $72,800
6. Ralph Wong, $54,600
7. Rodger Johnson, $45,500
With the victory, Roberts becomes the first woman to ever win a tournament on the USPO schedule. Roberts isn’t exactly a stranger to high stakes poker, however. She has routinely been the only lady in many High Roller tournaments and this victory only solidifies that her place IS with the best in the game.
USPO Event #4 – $10,000 Short Deck Hold’em
Perhaps because people are still trying to figure out the game, only 42 entries were received for the fourth event on the USPO schedule. Short Deck Hold’em – where the deuces through fives have been removed and a flush is only beaten by four of a kind or a straight flush – made its debut on the USPO stage on Saturday. On Sunday the final six returned but one player seemed to have never left.
Making his fourth consecutive final table in the same number of events at the 2019 USPO, Winter was once again in the mix for the title. This time, however, he was in fourth place at the start of the day looking up at Benjamin Yu, Seth Davies and David Peters. Stephen Chidwick, no slouch himself in making three of four final tables this year, and Ben Lamb rounded out the final table as play started on Sunday afternoon.
Winter would take care of his nemesis, Chidwick, early in the action. Holding pocket Kings, Winter pushed his stack in against Chidwick to force Lamb out of the way. Chidwick, with an A-Q, saw some hope with a J-10-6 flop and another six on the turn, but a King on the river ended any hope at another title for Chidwick (at least for now) as he departed in sixth place.
Having knocked out Chidwick, Winter began his ascent up the leaderboard. He would earn a double up through Davies, then knock out Lamb in fourth to take over the lead as three-handed play. Once he eliminated Davies in third place, Winter was in control of heads up play against Peters, holding 9.09 million to Peters’ 3.51 million. Although Peters would draw nearly even when he miraculously hit a flush against Winter’s pocket Aces, Winter wouldn’t be denied his title. On the final hand, Winter’s K-9 outpipped Peters’ J-9, but the 9-K-A-10 teased Peters with a straight draw. When an Ace hit the river, the tournament was over and Winter’s had captured his first championship in four final table trips at this year’s USPO.
1. Sean Winter, $151,200
2. David Peters, $100,800
3. Seth Davies, $67,200
4. Ben Lamb, $42,000
5. Benjamin Yu, $33,600
6. Stephen Chidwick, $25,200
Now the Fun Begins…
With the close of Event #4, the $10,000 tournaments are done on the USPO schedule. Up next are four $25,000 tournaments and, by the close of next week, a $50K event and the $100,000 Main Event will take place. It promises to be entertaining as Sean Winter and Stephen Chidwick continue to battle it out on the U. S. Poker Open stage.