After debuting earlier this year to a less-than rousing reception, the powers that be at Poker Central and its streaming outlet PokerGO have announced that the U. S. Poker Open will return in 2019. The “made for streaming” series is a high dollar series of poker tournaments that, in some respects, makes for a “Big Four” of PokerGO-centric events that are their exclusive broadcast property (along with the Super High Roller Bowl, the Poker Masters and the ARIA High Rollers Series). The 2019 version of the tournament will take place at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas and run from February 13 through February 23.
The Roster of Tournaments
The U. S. Poker Open will feature 10 tournaments, with no tournament with a buy-in lower than $10,000. Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Texas Hold’em are the two predominant formats of the tournament, but the newest buzz in the poker world will also make its debut. Short Deck Hold’em – the latest variant where the deuces through fives are removed from the deck, along with some hand ranking changes – will be featured in two of the 10 tournaments, a $10,000 version and a $25,000 running. The final two events of the schedule, a $50,000 No Limit Hold’em event and a $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, will be what draws most of the poker community’s attention.
Here’s the complete list of events on the 2019 U. S. Poker Open schedule:
February 13 Event #1 – $10,000 No Limit Hold’em
February 14 Event #2 – $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha
February 15 Event #3 – $10,000 No Limit Hold’em
February 16 Event #4 – $10,000 Short Deck Hold’em
February 17 Event #5 – $25,000 No Limit Hold’em
February 18 Event #6 – $25,000 Pot Limit Hold’em
February 19 Event #7 – $25,000 No Limit Hold’em
February 20 Event #8 – $25,000 Short Deck Hold’em
February 21 Event #9 – $50,000 No Limit Hold’em
February 22 Event #10 – $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event
What’s at Stake? And Where Can We See It?
As if the money racked up during the run of the 10 tournaments isn’t enough, there will be a Player of the Series rankings system. Each player will receive points for their finish in the tournaments, with the player who receives the most points over the run of the schedule earning a $100,000 payday and a championship trophy.
The entirety of the U. S. Poker Open will be livestreamed on the outlet for Poker Central, PokerGO. If people don’t want to pony up the cash for the monthly stream or the yearlong commitment to PokerGO, an edited version of the action will appear on cable television. Poker Central has a deal with the NBC Sports Network as its cable home for its tournaments and the U. S. Poker Open will be broadcast there on a taped basis.
The Inaugural Event
While many believe that the “High Roller” tournaments have ruined tournament poker, broadcast outlets and the tournaments themselves have come to love them. The broadcasters enjoy having a table full of players that people want to see (and the higher buy ins price out many amateurs) and the tournaments enjoy the free-flowing cash that the players bring to the table. When the U. S. Poker Open premiered last year, however, the results were less than outstanding.
In looking at the results from last year’s event, no $10,000 tournament had more than 67 entries. The $25,000 tournaments didn’t bring in the throngs either, with only one tournament even reaching the 50-entry mark. The Main Event in 2018 was a $50,000 buy in, which saw only 33 entries received.
Perhaps the reason for the low number of entries was the fact that there wasn’t a weak spot anywhere in the field. Players such as Justin Bonomo, Benjamin Pollak, David Peters and Stephen Chidwick were some of the winners in the preliminary events. The $50,000 Main Event saw a bit of a surprise winning in Keith Tilston, who defeated the likes of Jake Schindler, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Marchese and Dan Smith to capture the championship while Chidwick took the overall Player of the Series award.
After such a start, will the players come out for the second running of the U. S. Poker Open? The raise in the Main Event price tag may keep some away but, for most poker players and especially the High Roller crowd, if there’s a tournament going on, they’ll find their way into it. We will see just what happens next February as the 2019 U. S. Poker Open hits the felt – and the streaming arena.