David Peters Goes Back-to-Back at the US Poker Open

  • 12 high-stakes tournaments, streamed on PokerGO, took place over 13 days at the Aria
  • Ali Imsirovic took the lead in the final week but was overtaken by Peters, who won three events
  • Vanessa Kade made a big splash, making two final tables in her first high roller series
  • Sean Winter won the $50,000 main event, taking home $756,000 
  • When Sam Soverel bust the main event in fifth, Peters was unassailable
  • He was crowned US Poker Open Leaderboard Champion for the second time
David Peters playing at a poker table
David Peters has won the US Poker Open for a second time after a fortnight of high-stakes poker action. [Image: Flickr.com]

13 days of poker action on PokerGO

It has been an eclectic and star-studded affair at the 2021 US Poker Open, the third edition of the high-stakes series held at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

This year’s breakout sensation Vanessa Kade has tussled with new school talents like Ali Imsorovic, old-school grinders like Daniel Negreanu, and players from the school that was knocked down to build the old school – like Steve Zolotow. 

In 2018, Stephen Chidwick won two events and made the final table five times on his way to the inaugural US Poker Open crown. In 2019, it was David Peters’ turn to shine as he took down the championship with three final tables and a win in the Main Event.

This year, the 12-event schedule, played across 13 days of relentless poker action, featured a mixture of No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Big Bet Mix, 8-Game, and Short Deck events. In the end, a hat-trick of victories meant back-to-back US Poker Open championship titles for the exceptional David Peters. 

All 12 tournaments as part of the new PokerGO Tour were available to watch on the PokerGO streaming platform. Those who tuned in were treated to quality coverage from anchormen Brett Hanks and Jeff Platt together with commentators Ali Nejad and Maria Ho. 

Anchorman Brett Hanks impressed by turnout 

The first ten events of the US Poker Open were $10,000 buy-in tournaments, while the final two No-Limit Hold’em tournaments were a $25,000 and $50,000 buy-in. All the tournaments were double re-entry apart from the final event, which was single re-entry. It’s fair to say that bullets were fired by several of those vying to take down the title and the coveted Golden Eagle trophy.

bullets were fired by several of those vying to take down the title

Speaking to VegasSlotsOnline News, Hanks pointed to the huge turnout, saying: “It’s great to see live poker booming again, especially on the high roller scene.” On commentary, Maria Ho expressed surprise at the big fields and the player’s willingness to empty the clip on re-entries. She suggested that the cryptocurrency crash may have hurt the bankrolls of some players in this echelon. 

Hanks was especially impressed by the healthy infusion of young players. “I’m most surprised by all the new faces in these events. Where did these folks come from?” He also paid tribute to the legends of the game who showed up, saying: “It’s fantastic having some of the old guard mixing it up and doing very well. When Steve Zolotow makes three final tables alongside today’s killers like Ali Imsirovic, you realize how special these events are.”

Renaissance man Zolotow made three final tables in the first week of the US Poker Open, as Jake Daniels, Sam Soverel, Joe McKeehan, John Riordan, Joey Weissman, and Eli Elezra all took down events. 

Week 2 was all Peters and Imsirovic

As the second week progressed, Imsirovic climbed to the top of the leaderboard, hitting a purple patch in events #8, #9, and #10 with a fourth, first, and second-place finish respectively.

The 26-year-old Bosnian is no stranger to the PokerGO studio. In 2018, he announced himself on the world stage, winning the Poker Masters by the slenderest of margins over David Peters.

Peters left his run too late in 2018, but not so in 2021, as he put together a deadly streak in defense of his US Poker Open crown. He cashed in events #7, #8, #10, and #11, remarkably winning three of those four for $830,000 in prize money and a huge points injection. 

Imsirovic needed a result to overtake Peters, but neither player managed to cash the $50,000 buy-in main event. Sam Soverel did, however, making it to the money and final table as the shortest stack. Nothing but an outright win would be enough to deprive Peters of a famous back-to-back.

Breakout star Kade was in the mix

While it was certainly the Peters/Imsirovic show, there were a number of excellent cameos. ‘Sports cards’ enthusiast and part-owner of Legacy Sports Cards in Las Vegas Jared Bleznick won Event #8, the PLO tournament, giving a sublime post-patch interview to Jeff Platt that was as hilarious as it was bizarre. 

she notched up two final tables from a total of five bullets

Also stealing her fair share of the headlines was the impressive Vanessa Kade, who continued her astonishing run of form this year. Stepping into the high roller arena for the first time, many may have doubted her credentials versus the game’s elite. But the breakout star was composed and hyper-aggressive as she notched up two final tables from a total of five bullets. 

Kade came fourth in event #9 and fifth in event #11, losing a huge flip in the latter versus Peters that would have given her over half the chips in play. Despite the crossbars, she remained upbeat when talking exclusively to VegasSlotsOnline. “I’ve had an absolutely incredible time this week firing high rollers at the USPO. Of the five events I fired, I managed to find two final tables and a bubble, so I’m incredibly happy about how things have gone,” she said.

Kade is very much aware of her good fortune after what has so far been a rollercoaster year. “I have gotten to meet a ton of wonderful people, and I have sat across the table from some of my heroes,” she reflected, adding: “What a life, I’m so grateful to be here.”

Winter emerged victorious from Main Event Final Table

With the US Poker Open leaderboard still on the line, all eyes turned to the $50,000 Main Event final table and Sam Soverel, who needed to come from last to first to pull past Peters. The event attracted 42 entries to generate a $2.1m prize pool, and also bagging up chips overnight were Sean Winter, Bill Klein, Jason Koon, Stephen Chidwick, and Jonathan Little. 

42 entries to generate a $2.1m prize pool

The businessman Klein was the first to depart, and when Soverel followed in fifth, that was it in terms of the Leaderboard. Peters was the US Poker Open champion again. After Little’s exit in fourth, Jason Koon busted in third, leaving Winter and Chidwick to battle it out for the title. 

Winter emerged victorious, taking home the first-place prize of $756,000 and a points bump to overtake Imsirovic in second place in the overall standings. 

Peters cements legacy among greatest-ever players

The US Poker Open was not just a great fortnight of poker, but it was also captivating TV. A huge amount of credit should go to PokerGO and its production team for generating a genuinely compelling show. 

he has dominated the game, time and time again

There is a lot of variance in poker, and not much should be garnered from one tournament or even one series. That said, Peters is a worthy winner – being crowned US Poker Open Leaderboard Champion for the second time – and there is no doubting his skills on the felt. For a decade, he has dominated the game, time and time again making the correct decisions, time and time again performing on the biggest stage. 

Peters retaining the Golden Eagle trophy is an impressive accomplishment, one which cements his legacy as one of the game’s greatest-ever players. It is a feather in the cap of a man whose headwear is already abundant with plumage. 

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