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Stephen Chidwick Wins 2024 U.S. Poker Open $25,200 Finale

Former USPO Series Champion Tops Field of 52 Entries To Earn $429,000

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Stephen Chidwick won the first-ever U.S. Poker Open player of the series honors when the high-stakes tournament series debuted in 2018. More than six years later, the British poker pro emerged victorious in the final event of the 2024 USPO, topping a field of 52 entries in the $25,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament to walk away with $429,000.

This was his 44th recorded tournament title. It brought his lifetime earnings to more than $57.6 million, good for third place on poker’s all-time money list.

This was already the 12th final table and third title of 2024 for Chidwick. The two-time Card Player Player of the Year award winner secured 420 POY points for this latest victory, increasing his total to 3,236. As a result, he now sits in fourth place in this year’s standings, which are presented by Global Poker.

The 34-year-old from Deal, England also earned 257 PokerGO Tour points for the victory. This was one of four cashes he made during the USPO. With 427 total points and $597,850 in total earnings for the series, Chidwick finished second in the points race for the festival. He also climbed to sixth in the seasonal PGT rankings, with eight qualified cashes so far.

This event ended up with a $1,300,000 prize pool thanks to the 52 entries made. The top eight finishers cashed, with David Coleman being the first player eliminated after the bubble burst late on day 1. He earned $52,000 and 70 points for his 11th POY-qualified score of the year. With 3,876 points and more than $1.6 million in earnings, he remains the player to beat in the POY race.

The second and final day of the event began with Chidwick leading the seven contenders who returned to the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas. Jesse Lonis was the first to fall, with his J-8 suited running into the K-J of Chidwick. Both players hit a jack on the turn, but Chidwick’s superior kicker played by the river to end Lonis’ run in seventh place ($52,000). This was his fourth cash of the series, including a win in event no. 2 for $252,450. Lonis now sits in second place in the POY standings, with two titles and 12 final-table finishes so far in 2024. His POY earnings already exceed $1.6 million. He also moved into eighth place in the PGT season-long standings.

Aram Zobian Wins 2024 USPO Golden Eagle TrophyWith that, Aram Zobian officially locked up the player of the series honors with four final-table finishes, one title, and $613,540 in total earnings. Had Lonis won this event and Zobian finished outside the top five, Lonis would have been the series points-race winner. As it turned out, though, Zobian collected the $25,000 PGT passport and the golden eagle trophy as the USPO champion. Zobian was the next to hit the rail. He got his last 13 or so big blinds in three-bet shoving from the big blind with A-3. Chidwick, who had opened from the hijack, called with pocket tens and held through a king-high runout to narrow the field to five. Zobian cashed for $78,000 for his sixth-place showing. His success at this series has moved him into third place in the PGT rankings and to 15th on the POY leaderboard.

Short stack Cary Katz managed a double up through Chidwick during five-handed play, but soon lost a big chunk of his stack with the nut flush draw and a gutshot against the turned trip fives of Brandon Wittmeyer. Katz check-folded on the river after missing his draws and was left with fewer than 13 big blinds. After dwindling even further, he got all-in with K-Q leading the 10-9 suited of Chidwick. An action flop saw Katz hit top pair while Chidwick picked up flush and straight draws. Chidwick improved to 16 outs after the turn paired his nine. The river brought the 8Club Suit, giving Chidwick a jack-high straight flush to win the pot. Katz was awarded $104,000 as the fifth-place finisher. He now has more than $40.1 million in career earnings.

Dan Smith’s run in this event ended when his ADiamond Suit9Diamond Suit ran into the AHeart Suit10Diamond Suit of Wittmeyer. The battle of the blinds saw Wittmeyer open-shove for around 15 big blinds from the small blind. Smith called in the big blind and a QSpade Suit6Heart Suit3Spade SuitASpade Suit10Spade Suit runout gave him two pair and the pot. Smith, who won event no. 3 earlier this series, cashed for $130,000 this time around. He now has more than $54.8 million in total scores to his name. His two titles and five final tables this year have catapulted him inside the top 20 in the POY rankings. He also moved to 23rd in the PGT points race.

Three-handed play saw Chidwick begin to pull away from the rest of the field. In the next big clash he three-bet with ASpade SuitKClub Suit from the small blind facing the button open for 130,000 by Wittmeyer, who held 10Spade Suit10Club Suit. Wittmeyer responded to the 350,000 raise by moving all-in for 1,200,000 total. Chidwick called and the race was on. The board came down KDiamond SuitQDiamond Suit8Club Suit7Diamond Suit4Heart Suit and Wittmeyer was knocked out in third place ($182,000). The bracelet winner from Chicago now has more than $1.9 million in total cashes to his name.

Andrew LichtenbergerHeads-up play began with Chidwick holding 5,700,000 to bracelet winner Andrew Lichtenberger’s 2,100,000. Lichtenberger got value with a rivered pair of tens against Chidwick’s ace-high to nearly close the gap. The two were essentially tied when the decisive hand of the match arose. With blinds of 25,000-50,000 and a 50,000 big blind ante, Lichtenberger raised to 135,000 on the button with 10Heart Suit10Club Suit. Chidwick three-bet to 575,000 with ASpade SuitKSpade Suit and snap called when Lichtenberger shoved. Lichtenberger had Chidwick covered by just 45,000 heading into the flop. The 9Spade Suit6Heart Suit6Club SuitADiamond Suit7Club Suit runout saw Chidwick make aces and sixes to win the pot and all but lock up the title.

The blinds actually went up for the following hand, giving Lichtenberger just 1.5 small blinds to work with. He got all-in with 3Spade Suit3Club Suit and was flipping against the 8Heart Suit4Club Suit of Chidwick. The 10Heart Suit4Heart Suit2Club SuitJSpade SuitKHeart Suit officially ended Lichtenberger’s tournament in second place ($273,000). The score saw his career earnings edge past $21 million.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Stephen Chidwick $429,000 420 257
2 Andrew Lichtenberger $273,000 350 164
3 Brandon Wittmeyer $182,000 280 109
4 Dan Smith $130,000 210 78
5 Cary Katz $104,000 175 62
6 Aram Zobian $78,000 140 47
7 Jesse Lonis $52,000 105 31

Here are the final top ten in the USPO points race standings:

Rank Player Points Titles Cashes Earnings
1 Aram Zobian 616 1 4 $613,540
2 Stephen Chidwick 427 1 4 $597,850
3 Jesse Lonis 400 1 4 $421,450
4 Eric Afriat 378 1 2 $377,900
5 Joey Weissman 344 0 3 $344,550
6 David Coleman 322 1 3 $313,100
7 Sam Laskowitz 320 0 4 $353,710
8 Dan Smith 313 1 2 $365,200
9 Rodger Johnson 301 0 5 $301,450
10 Matthew Wantman 269 1 2 $268,900

Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.