2023 U.S. Poker Open Concludes: Recap and Highlights

The 2023 U.S. Poker Open has concluded. This is the fifth year that the series has run, as part of the PokerGO Tour, since it debuted in 2018. This tournament series sees players from all around the world to come and compete across multiple events for the chance to be crowned champion. Players earn points by finishing in the money of an event and at the end of the series the player at the top of the leaderboard is crowned champion. Champions receive an extra $50,000 and the prestigious Golden Eagle trophy for their efforts.

Sean Winter, Michael Wang

PokerGO USPO 2023

Some interesting facts about this year’s series:

  • Even though there were a total of 755 entrants, many of them were the same players competing in multiple events.
  • There was a total of $11,290,000 in prize money won.
  • Only one final table chip leader managed to secure a win.
  • Eight of the 10 events were No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em.
  • Two of the 10 events were Pot Limit Omaha.

Events 1-5 were all $10,000 buy-in events. Only event 4 was Pot Limit Omaha at this buy-in price. Events 6 and 7 saw the buy-in price go up to $15,000 followed by $25,000 buy-ins for events 8 and 9. The series ended with their main event tournament for a $50,000 buy-in.

A Who’s Who of Pros Takes Down U.S. Poker Open Titles

Jose “Nacho” Barbero started off the series strong with a final table appearance in the first three events of the series. Nacho has not won a U.S. Open Poker event and had his sights set on making 2023 his year to win. Unfortunately, he was not able to make another cash or final table after the third event. However, he did manage to finish in 10th place, with PGT points. He is still a contender for the PGT Championship $1,000,000 freeroll and currently sits at 7th on the leaderboard.

Nacho Barbero

Nacho Barbero | PokerGO USPO 2023

After a slow start to the series with no cashes or final table appearances. Jeremy Ausmus came from behind as a contender with a possibility to steal the 2023 U.S. Poker Open title. Ausmus needed to win the U.S. Poker Open main event to lock up the title of champion. Unfortunately, he could not take the chip lead and eventually went bust in 3rd place. For his efforts he finished the series in 9th place. He is also still in the running to qualify for the $1,000,000 freeroll and currently sits on the PGT leaderboard in 8th place.

Chris Brewer managed to cash four times during the series. Coming into the main event he was a contender for the title of 2023 U.S. Poker Open Champion. He even made an appearance in the final table of the main event. However, in order to lock up the series title he needed to win the main event. He was the first person to get knocked out of the tournament’s final table when he ran into pocket aces. He managed to finish the series in 8th place on the leaderboard and earn himself some points for the PGT freeroll.

The only final table chip leader to win the tournament was Isaac Kempton. In event 6, he had a commanding lead going into the final table and managed to use that to his advantage. He put his big stack to use by applying relentless pressure on his opponents. He was also the one to burst the money bubble and also knocked out several short stacks as he played his way to victory. He finished the 2023 U.S. Poker Open in a respectable 7th place. He may have some work if he wishes to qualify for the PGT freeroll.

Issac Kempton

Issac Kempton | PokerGO USPO 2023

With two cashes and a win this year, Dan Smith finished in sixth place on the leaderboard. Showing up late in the series as a contender for the title, he had to win the main event. Smith managed to win event 9 in one hand of heads-up play. His opponent Ren Lin raised with A-9 and Smith moved all in holding J-7 suited. Smith flopped a Jack and held to win the event, topping his third-place finish in event 8. However, his luck ran short as he was only able to get a fifth-place finish in the main event.

Darren Elias is another player who had two cashes and a win going into the main event. He was not able to make it to the money where all the points are in the main event. He started the series out with a ninth-place cash and then went on to event 5 to cash in 7th place. He then found a win in event 7, locking up almost $400,000 in winnings this year.

Joey Weissman may have used his run good to early. He finished in the money for one of the satellites to the U.S. Poker Open and then went on to win the first event. He then found a tenth-place cash in event 3 and lost momentum after that. It wasn’t until event 8 before he found another strong finish for second place. Coming into the main event he had enough points to give the top of the leaderboard a sweat, but couldn’t manage to find another cash. Had he finished one more time in the money, we could be looking at a very different outcome of this year’s U.S. Poker Open. Looking at his tournament results for this year it doesn’t appear that he is aiming for the PGT $1,000,000 freeroll but there are plenty of other events to come. Keep your eye on Joey as he may become a serious contender.

Joey Weissman

Joey Weissman | PokerGO USPO 2023

Isaac Haxton and Phil Hellmuth also took down events during the 2023 U.S. Poker Open, but players were specifically looking out for Sam Soverel who showed some potential to win the title. After getting a min-cash in event 2, Sam showed his fellow competitors that he was there to win by winning event 3. Sam fell one spot short of a second win in event 7 but still had plenty of points to stay in the running. Unfortunately, he was not able to find another cash. With an impressive third-place finish in the U.S. Poker Open, Sam is showing that he is a serious contender for the PGT $1,000,000 freeroll as he is currently sitting in third place on the overall leaderboard. Sam is a familiar face in the PGT events, and I am sure we will see more from him as the year progresses.

Coming into the U.S. Poker Open main event, Ren Lin was sitting at the top of the leaderboard with a real shot at winning the title. Managing to accumulate a lot of points early on, Ren came from behind to take the lead of the series in event 9. Finishing in second place he had a small lead as other players did their best to catch up. His best shot at winning the title would have been for Justin Bonomo to win the main event. Going into the final table this was a real possibility since Justin did have the chip lead. As play began and Justin lost his lead, hopes of winning the title started to look less likely for Ren. He did get three cashes and one win for over $500,000 in winnings. This player is another one to keep on your radar as the year progresses and the PGT leaderboard continue to develop.

The 2023 U.S. Poker Open Champion: Martin Zamani

The 2023 U.S. Poker Open Champion is Martin Zamani! Starting out the series with a win in a satellite, it seemed as if he would not be able to continue with a strong finish in the events that he played. Coming in at 14th in both the first and third event of the series, I don’t think anyone really considered him to be a real threat. Martin managed to earn some point by finishing in third place for event 6 but still did not have enough points to be a real threat to anyone on the leaderboard. However, little did anyone know that all he would need is 170 points going into the main event. Once he made the final table it became obvious that he was mathematically still in the hunt for the title. Starting the day by eliminating Brewer, he went on to eliminate the entire final table and win the whole thing. After a strong finish like that, he is one to watch out for as he sits in ninth place on the PGT leaderboard.

Martin Zamani

Martin Zamani | PokerGO USPO 2023



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Brian Bizzy Gutierrez
Written By.

Brian “Bizzy” Gutierrez

Bizzy has tried to live life through traditional forms of employment. He started out as a cook, eventually went to school, and completed a degree in Information Security. In addition to being a cardplayer he is also a gamer, movie geek, comic collector, and traveler. Bizzy met his wife on one of many travels and […]