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Ali Imsirovic Wins U.S. Poker Open $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller For His Sixth Title of 2021

The 26-Year-Old Poker Pro Has Taken The Lead In The Player of the Year Race With 14 Final Tables and More Than $2.3 Million In Earnings In 2021


When looking to examine a tournament poker player’s success over a year, the three main statistical categories to measure are relatively obvious: prize money won, final tables made, and titles earned. Ali Imsirovic now leads in all three of those categories for 2021 after his most recent victory in a high-stakes live event, with more than $2.3 million in year-to-date earnings, 14 final tables made, and six titles won.

Imsirovic’s latest win saw him come out on top in event no. 9 at the 2021 U.S. Poker Open, a $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that drew 99 total entries. The 26-year-old Bosnian-born American poker pro earned $217,800 as the champion, increasing his lifetime tournament earnings to nearly $11.8 million in the process.

This title run also saw Imsirovic earn 540 Card Player Player of the Year points, which was enough to catapult him into the top spot in the 2021 POY race with 3,708 total points accrued through the first half of the year. He surpassed Qing Liu, who has lead since the early weeks of March, to move into first place on the POY leaderboard presented by Global Poker. He currently has two more titles, one more final-table finish, and roughly half a million dollars more POY-qualified earnings than any other player in the race.

The USPO Golden Eagle TrophyThis victory also saw Imsirovic extend his lead in the PokerGO Tour standings, and move into first place in the USPO player of the series race, with 218 rankings points earned towards both races. He is now sitting in pole position with 406 points across four cashes, with just three events remaining before the series points leader is awarded the Golden Eagle Trophy and $50,000 in added prize money.

This was Imsirovic’s first victory in a USPO event. He has captured titles before in PokerGO major events, including the two first-place finishes that helped propel him to winning the purple jacket as the player of the series at the 2019 Poker Masters.

The final day of this event began with Imsirovic atop the chip counts with seven players remaining. 2018 Card Player Player of the Year award winner Jake Schindler was the first to be eliminated when he lost a preflop coinflip to Cary Katz, who spiked a set on the river to send Schindler to the rail with $49,500 as the seventh-place finisher. Thomas Winters was the next to fall when his A-3 suited running into Katz’s A-K and failed to improve.

Eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Fame member Erik Seidel’s run in this event came to an end when his ADiamond SuitQSpade Suit failed to win a race against Katz’s pocket jacks. Seidel earned $74,250 for his fifth-place showing, increasing his lifetime tournament earnings to more than $37.9 million in the process.

Vanessa KadeVanessa Kade was left as the short stack after Seidel’s departure. The Canadian poker pro took down the 15th-Anniversary PokerStars Sunday Million for $1.5 million earlier this year, and was at her first live final table of 2021. Kade called all-in with KDiamond SuitQDiamond Suit facing the ASpade Suit5Heart Suit of Andrew Lichtenberger. Kade took the lead with a king on the flop, but an ace on the river sent her to the rail with $94,050 for the largest live score of her career.

Katz lost a few key pots during three-handed play to fall to the bottom of the leaderboard. In his final hand he got all-in with bottom pair and a flush draw on the flop, only to receive a call from the top pair of Imsirovic. Katz’s outs never materialized and he was sent home in third place ($118,800). The score increased Katz’s lifetime earnings to $31,236,990.

With that Imsirovic entered heads-up play against Lichtenberger at a slight disadvantage. The two played a number of exciting hands during their final showdown, including the one that saw Imsirovic surge back into the chip lead when he rivered quad kings with a card that gave Lichtenberger kings full of aces. Imsirovic got all-in on the river in that hand to double into roughly a 2:1 lead, which he was able to extend even further by the time the final hand was dealt. Lichtenberger shoved his last eight big blinds from the button with KHeart SuitJSpade Suit and Imsirovic called with JClub Suit6Diamond Suit. The board ran out 9Spade Suit5Heart Suit4Spade Suit6Club SuitQHeart Suit and Imsirovic made a pair of sixes to lock up the title.

Lichtenberger earned $158,400 as the second-place finisher. This was his third final-table showing of the series, and the 158 points he earned were enough to see him move into second place in the USPO points race behind Imsirovic. The WSOP bracelet winner increased his career earnings to nearly $11.4 million with this latest deep run.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Payout POY Points PokerGO Tour
1 Ali Imsirovic $217,800 540 218
2 Andrew Lichtenberger $158,400 450 158
3 Cary Katz $118,800 360 119
4 Vanessa Kade $94,050 270 89
5 Erik Seidel $74,250 225 79
6 Thomas Winters $59,400 180 59
7 Jake Schindler $49,500 135 50
8 Mazen Abdallah $39,600 90 40

Winner and trophy photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.