Thursday marks the start of the 2021 US Poker Open, a PokerGO staple event, and the high-roller series could be a great spot for Daniel Negreanu and Ali Imsirovic, but for opposite reasons.
Last year’s USPO, like most poker events, was canceled due to COVID-19. The series takes place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas and features 12 high-stakes tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. At the end of the series on June 15, one player will be crowned the 2021 US Poker Open champion based on points accumulated throughout the series, and will receive a $100-thousand bonus.
Each event is scheduled for two days, with one new tournament starting daily. You can catch every final table on a one-hour delay on the PokerGO app (paid subscription required).
The series begins with a $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament on Thursday. Players who register by noon for each event play rake-free. Those who late register or who rebuy must pay an additional $500 in rake.
On Day 2 (June 4), the USPO will spread the first of two Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments, both $10,000 to enter. The second PLO event runs June 10-11. No-Limit Hold’em represents seven of the 12 events, including the final two tournaments on June 13 and June 14. Big Bet Mix (June 6-7), 8-Game (June 8-9), and Short Deck (June 12-13) are also on the schedule, all at the $10,000 buy-in price point.
Can Imsirovic continue his hot streak?
Ali Imsirovic picked up right where he left off before the pandemic. The young superstar already has five high-roller titles in 2021 and leads the PokerGO Tour standings as we approach the midway mark of the year. Last week, he won a $10,000 buy-in high roller at Venetian for $200,200, and he now has just under $11 million in live tournament cashes for his career.
With Sean Perry, who also won a Venetian high roller last week, right on his heels in the PokerGO Tour standings, Imsirovic has an opportunity to distance himself from the competition with a strong performance at the US Poker Open. Perry trails Imsirovic by 266 points (1,410 to 1,156), approximately the equivalent of one tournament victory.
Needing a win
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Negreanu, who’s in search of any kind of win, or even just a few deep runs to get help break a series of losses he’s suffered so far this year.
Negreanu’s struggles are well-documented. The GGPoker ambassador dropped $1.2 million in a heads-up challenge to Doug Polk, is down 2-0 against Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel, hasn’t won a WSOP bracelet since 2013, and hasn’t won much in general the past few years, except for a pair of runner-up finishes at the 2019 World Series of Poker.
He doesn’t need a win at the USPO to help improve his legacy, as he’s already a Poker Hall of Famer with more than $42 million in live tournament cashes. What Negreanu wants, however, is to prove he’s still one of the best players in the game by putting together a strong performance in a series stacked with many of the top high rollers in poker.