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Stephen Chidwick Surges Into The Lead In The 2019 U.S. Poker Open

The Inaugural Champion of This Series Is Looking To Secure Back-To-Back Wins

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Stephen Chidwick after winning the 2018 U.S. Poker OpenEight of the ten events that make up the 2019 U.S. Poker Open are now in the books, and with just two super high roller tournaments remaining, the USPO ranking points leader is none other than Stephen Chidwick. The 29-year-old British poker pro won the inaugural running of this event in 2018, and looks to be in fantastic shape to repeat as champion after making four final tables and winning two titles so far in 2019.

The first four tournaments of the 2019 USPO were all $10,500 buy-in tournaments. Chidwick topped a field of 90 entries to win the kickoff no-limit event, cashing for $216,000. He then went on to finish third in the second no-limit hold’em event of the series and sixth in the short deck no-limit hold’em event, adding another $138,950 in earnings. At the conclusion of the $10,500 buy-in tournaments, Chidwick sat in second place in the USPO rankings, behind Sean Winter. You can check out a full recap of those events here.

The next four events of the series were all $26,000 buy-in tournaments. Chidwick secured his second title of the series by taking down the pot-limit Omaha event for $351,000. As a result of the win, he surged into the outright lead on the USPO leaderboard.

2019 U.S. Poker Open event #5 champion Ali ImsirovicThe first of the $26,000 buy-in events was a no-limit hold’em tournament. A total of 59 entries built a $1,475,000 prize pool, with the lion’s share being awarded to eventual champion Ali Imsirovic. The 24-year-old 2018 Poker Masters purple jacket winner took home $442,500 for the win, the fourth largest score of his career. Imsirovic now has lifetime live tournament earnings of more than $3.9 million.

Imsirovic came into the final day as the chip leader, and it took just over two hours for him to convert that advantage into a win. He scored his first knockout of the final table by picking up pocket aces and calling the all-in of Nick Petrangelo, who had shoved with pocket jacks. Imsirovic’s hand held up to send Petrangelo home in fourth place with $147,500. He then made quick work of Dan Shak (3rd – $206,500) and Cary Katz (2nd – $295,000) to secure the title.

Here is a look at the payouts and Card Player Player of the Year points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Almedin Imsirovic $442,500 420
2 Cary Katz $295,000 350
3 Dan Shak $206,500 280
4 Nick Petrangelo $147,500 210
5 Kristen Bicknell $118,000 175
6 Joseph Cappello $88,500 140
7 Brandon Adams $73,750 105
8 Christopher Hunichen $59,000 70

U.S. Poker Open Event #6 champion Stephen Chidwick!Event #6, the $26,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha, drew a total of 39 entries. As previously mentioned, Stephen Chidwick emerged victorious with the title and the top prize of $351,000 for his second win and fourth final-table showing of the series. He earned 200 USPO ranking points as the champion of the event, enough to see him climb into the lead in the standings with 540 total points.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, there’s still four events left to be played and a lot of points up for grabs in the $100,000 [main event],” said Chidwick. “It would be very special to win it again. This, in my eyes, is the most prestigious thing you can win. To me, this is kind of like the $50,000 Poker Players Championship but stretched out over a week-long series. Competing with the best in the world in a variety of games would definitely be a career highlight to come out on top again.”

Chidwick knocked out Cary Katz to secure the title. This was Katz second straight runner-up finish and his third final-table showing of the series. He moved into third place on the USPO leaderboard as a result.

Here is a look at the payouts and Card Player Player of the Year points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Stephen Chidwick $351,000 336
2 Cary Katz $234,000 280
3 Tom Marchese $156,000 224
4 Ben Lamb $97,500 168
5 Sean Rafael $78,000 140
6 Anthony Zinno $58,500 112

U.S. Poker Open Event #7 champion Bryn KenneyThe second $26,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event of the series saw a total of 60 entries made by the time registration was closed, building a prize pool worth $1,500,000.

In the end, it was none other than World Series of Poker bracelet winner and 2019 Aussie Millions main event champion Bryn Kenney who came out on top, defeating Jake Schindler heads-up for the title. Kenney took home $450,000 as the champion after steamrolling the final table, securing the win in just over an hour of play. Kenney now has career live tournament earnings of $27,135,936.

The win kept Kenney within striking distance of the USPO series title, but it also saw him climb in the overall standings in the 2019 Card Player Player of the Year race. Kenney earned 504 POY points for his second title of the year, moving into fifth place with 2,712 total points and $1,366,271 in year-to-date earnings.

Here is a look at the payouts and Card Player Player of the Year points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Bryn Kenney $450,000 504
2 Jake Schindler $300,000 420
3 Ben Yu $210,000 336
4 Keith Tilston $150,000 252
5 Nick Schulman $120,000 210
6 Nick Petrangelo $90,000 168
7 Dan Shak $75,000 126
8 Martin Zamani $60,000 84

U.S. Poker Open Event #8 champion Nick SchulmanThe final $26,000 buy-in event of the series was an eight-game mixed tournament. A total of 20 entries were made in the event, with two-time WSOP bracelet winner and frequent PokerGO commentator Nick Schulman earning $270,000 as the eventual champion.

“It feels damn good,” said Schulman after securing the title. “There’s nothing like winning a tournament, regardless of the field size. It feels great and getting a clear first is exciting.”

With the completion of this mixed-game event, there are now only two tournaments remaining on the 2019 U.S. Poker Open schedule: the $50,000 no-limit hold’em high roller and the $100,000 no-limit hold’em main event.

“I’m wound up for the $50k and $100k, those events speak for themselves. We’ll see how this $50k goes and then we’ll see if I’ll play the $100k. You gotta be pumped up to play with these wizards,” said Schulman.

Here is a look at the payouts and Card Player Player of the Year points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Nick Schulman $270,000 252
2 Brandon Adams $150,000 210
3 Christopher Vitch $80,000 168

Below are the top ten in the USPO Championship Standings after eight of ten events:

Place Player (Final Tables) Earnings (USD) USPO Ranking Points
1 Stephen Chidwick (4) $705,950 540
2 Sean Winter (4) $419,900 440
3 Nick Schulman (2) $390,000 410
4 Brandon Adams (3) $314,750 365
5 Cary Katz (3) $580,200 340
6 Bryn Kenney (2) $477,000 240
7 Lauren Roberts (2) $263,400 240
8 Jordan Cristos (2) $206,200 240
9 Ali Imsirovic $442,500 200
10 Ben Yu (3) $262,800 200

Photos provided by Poker Central / Drew Amato.