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Sean Winter Wins U.S. Poker Open $25,000 Event For $440,000

Winter Now Has More Than $20.4 Million In Career Tournament Earnings

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Sean Winter’s last live tournament title came in the final event of the 2021 U.S. Poker Open. Winter made 18 cashes and 17 final tables since that victory last June, accumulating more than $2.9 million along the way. 286 days after that last win, Winter outlasted a field of 55 entries to take down the penultimate event of the 2022 USPO, a $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament. Winter earned $440,000 as the champion, increasing his lifetime tournament earnings to $20,433,669 in the process.

“It feels good to close one out,” Winter told PokerGO reporters after the win. “There were several final tables in a row when I got third or fifth after coming in in reasonable spots. So yeah, it definitely feels good to get the monkey off the back and close one out.”

When asked about his chances of going on to win the USPO player of the series race, Winter, who climbed into 12th place with this win, replied, “I think I need a lot of luck to win. Even if I win the [final event], I need to fade a lot of people, I’d imagine. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to play it and whatever happens, happens. I wasn’t really thinking that I had a sweat because this is the most tournaments I’ve bricked in a row live ever this week. I’m not really expecting to win the trophy but glad to have won an event and not bricked everything.”

In addition to the title and the money, Winter also earned a bounty of rankings points for his victory. He earned 420 Card Player Player of the Year points for what was his first title and ninth final-table showing of 2022. With 1,811 points and $1,099,100 in year-to-date POY earnings, Winter now sits in 11th place in the POY standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker. Winter also secured 264 PokerGO Tour points as the champion, which saw him climb into 10th place on that leaderboard.

Ali ImsirovicThe final day of this event began with six players remaining and Ali Imsiroivic atop the chip counts. Winter was second in chips after having knocked out Cary Katz in seventh place ($68,750) to bring day 1 to a close. Two-time 2022 USPO title winner Tamon Nakamura was the first to hit the rail, with his K-Q running into the A-K of 2018 POY winner Jake Schindler. Nakamura earned $82,500 for his sixth cash of the series, bringing his total haul through the first 11 events up to $669,400.

2016 POY award winner David Peters was the next to fall. He got the majority of his stack in preflop with A-J and called the last few blinds off on a K-5-5 flop. He was up against A-Q for Imsirovic, which remained the best hand through the turn and river. Peters took home $110,000 as the fifth-place finisher, increasing his lifetime earnings to more than $41.5 million in the process. He remains in fourth place on poker’s all-time money list.

Three-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman’s run in this event concluded when his A-Q lost a preflop race against the pocket fours of Winter in a battle of the blinds. Winter flopped a set and held from there to extend his chip lead heading into three-handed play. Schulman earned $137,500 as the fourth-place finisher.

Winter extended his lead even further when he ran a multi-street bluff with A-6 suited that eventually forced Imsirovic off of pocket queens. Imsirovic later doubled through Winter to pull back into the chip lead. He then three-bet shoved with A-2 suited from the button over Schindler’s button open and was met with a quick call from A-K. Imsirovic flopped a deuce to take a lead in the hand that he never relinquished. Schindler cashed for $192,500, increasing his lifetime total to just shy of $30 million.

With that, Imsirovic took a slight lead into heads-up play with Winter. The balance quickly shifted in Winter’s favor, though, thanks to a big hand that saw him turn a straight against Imsirovic’s second pair. He extended that advantage by winning a key pot with pocket sixes facing Imsirovic’s K-J. Winter limp-reraised preflop and then took it down with a flop bet on a 4-4-2 board.

Winter held more than a 3:1 chip lead when the final hand of the event was dealt. Winter raised on the button with QHeart SuitJHeart Suit and Imsirovic defended his big blind with 10Club Suit8Heart Suit. The flop came down 3Heart Suit3Diamond Suit2Heart Suit and Imsirovic check-raised Winter’s small continuation bet. Winter came along and the turn brought the 8Club Suit to give Imsirovic the lead. He moved all-in and Winter called with his flush draw and two overcards. The 5Heart Suit completed the board to give Winter a winning flush and the title.

Imsirovic secured $288,750 as the runner-up finisher. This was his 12th final-table finish of 2022, with four titles and more than $1.9 million in year-to-date POY earnings secured along the way. Imsirovic is the reigning POY champion in both the Card Player and PGT points races. He now sits in 2nd place in both of those races thanks to his strong start to this year and is well positioned to make a run at going back-to-back.

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

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points PGT Points
1 Sean Winter $440,000 420 264
2 Ali Imsirovic $288,750 350 173
3 Jake Schindler $192,500 280 116
4 Nick Schulman $137,500 210 83
5 David Peters $110,000 175 66
6 Tamon Nakamura $82,500 140 50
7 Cary Katz $68,750 105 41
8 Dan Smith $55,000 70 33

Photo credit: PokerGO / Enrique Malfavon.