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David Peters Wins His Second U.S. Poker Open Title of 2021

The 34-Year-Old Poker Pro Defeated Red-Hot Ali Imsirovic Heads-Up In The $10,000 Buy-In Short Deck Event


David Peters topped a record-setting field of 99-entries to win event no. 7 of the 2021 U.S. Poker Open high roller series on June 10. Just three days later the 34-year-old poker pro found himself in the winner’s circle yet again, this time as the champion of event no. 10. He overcame a field of 27 entries in the $10,000 buy-in short deck event, defeating current Card Player Player of the Year race leader Ali Imsirovic heads-up to secure the title and the top prize of $124,200.

This was Peters’ 35th recorded tournament title. The score increased the two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and reigning USPO champion’s lifetime tournament earnings to more than $35.5 million. As a result, he now sits in sixth place on poker’s all-time money list.

This was Peters’ fourth USPO title since the series first debuted in 2018. Only 2018 USPO champion Stephen Chidwick has come out on top in as many of events at this particular series. Peters also earned 124 USPO rankings points as the champion of this event. This was his third cash of the series, and with two victories, he now sits in second place in the points race behind only Imsirovic, who has cashed five times with four finishes inside the top four and one victory. There are now just two events are left to play, with the Golden Eagle Trophy and $50,000 in added prize money on the line.

Peters also earned 124 rankings points toward the inaugural PokerGO Tour race. He now sits in 18th place on that leaderboard.

The final day of this event began with Peters sitting on roughly two-thirds of the total chips in play with just four players remaining. Thomas Kysar was the shortest stack to start, and soon found himself all-in and at risk with the QDiamond SuitJHeart Suit against the QHeart Suit9Club Suit of Peters. The flop brought a nine to give Peters a lead which he never relinquished and Kysar was knocked out in fourth place ($27,000). This was his first recorded five-figure live tournament score. His elimination left a trio of players that all had eight figures worth of cashes to their names, with Peters in great shape to add yet another six-figure score to his resume as the clear chip leader.

Cary Katz was the next to fall. He lost the majority of his stack when his AHeart SuitKHeart Suit failed to hold up against the ASpade Suit10Heart Suit of Imsirovic, who flopped a ten and turned trips. Katz managed a couple double ups after being left with crumbs, but soon lost the last of his chips when his QHeart Suit10Heart Suit ran into Imsirovic’s QClub SuitJClub Suit. The board ran out 8Spade Suit8Heart Suit6Club SuitKHeart Suit9Diamond Suit and Katz was eliminated in third place ($43,200). This was Katz’s seventh final-table finish of 2021, and his third at the USPO. With $31,280,190 in career earnings after this event, he surpassed Steve O’Dwyer to move into 10th place on the all-time money list.

Ali ImsirovicWith that Peters took more than a 3.5:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Imsirovic. The two high-stakes tournament superstars battled it out for more than an hour and half, but Peters was eventually able to convert his big lead into a victory. By the time the final hand was dealt Imsirovic had actually closed the gap somewhat, with Peters holding around a 3:1 lead when he picked up JClub Suit10Spade Suit on the button. Imsirovic limped in as the first to act with QDiamond Suit8Club Suit and Peters checked his option. (Short deck features as ante format, with the button posting a double ante.) The flop came down AClub SuitJHeart Suit10Diamond Suit and Imsirovic bet 100,000. Peters called with his bottom two pair and the turn brought the 6Club Suit. Imsirovic bet 450,000 with his draw and Peters called yet again. The river paired the board with the 6Diamond Suit and Imsirovic moved all-in for 1.56 million into the pot of 1.2 million as a bluff. Peters went into the tank but eventually made the call to pick off Imsirovic’s bluff, locking up the pot and the title.

Imsirovic earned $75,600 and 150 Card Player Player of the Year points as the runner-up in this event. This was his 15th POY-qualified final table of 2021, with six titles won and more than $2.3 million in earnings secured along the way. This latest deep run helped extend his lead in the 2021 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

Imsirovic is also leading both the USPO points race and the PokerGO Tour standings, having added 76 points towards both of those leaderboards with this second-place showing.

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

Place Player Payout POY Points PokerGO Tour
1 David Peters $124,200 180 124
2 Ali Imsirovic $75,600 150 76
3 Cary Katz $43,200 120 43
4 Thomas Kysar $27,000 90 27

Here are the current top ten in the USPO points race:

Place Player Points Wins Cashes Earnings
1 Ali Imsirovic 483 1 5 $482,000
2 David Peters 367 2 3 $367,200
3 Andrew Lichtenberger 308 0 3 $308,000
4 Joe McKeehen 302 1 2 $302,200
5 Steve Zolotow 289 0 3 $289,000
6 Cary Katz 270 0 4 $270,100
7 Dan Shak 236 0 3 $235,500
8 Maxx Coleman 231 0 3 $230,800
9 Alex Foxen 224 0 4 $223,300
10 John Riordan 222 1 3 $221,800

Winner photo credit: PokerGO.