Joe McKeehen continues to crush it at the US Poker Open, while Joey Weissman mounted an epic comeback to win a USPO title. Daniel Negreanu also picked up a much-needed cash in the $10,000 8-Game event.
McKeehen won Event #3, a $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, for $200,200, beating out 77 players. He returned to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Monday for Event #5, also a $10k NLH tournament. That day, he reached the final table and made another deep run.
Former world champ makes another final table appearance
The 2015 WSOP Main Event champion busted in third place, right after Cary Katz was eliminated in fourth ($85,000). McKeehen took home $102,000 for his efforts, and now has more than $17.6 million in live tournament winnings, including two top-three finishes at the 2021 US Poker Open. He is now among the favorites to win the USPO championship.
But the main story in this 85-player high roller was the comeback victory of its champion. Joey Weissman entered heads-up play against Adam Hendrix trailing by around 5-1 in chips. Living up to the adage that all it takes to win is a chip and chair, Weissman rallied for the win on Tuesday. Hendrix didn’t roll over, though, putting up a strong fight even after he had squandered his lead and was down to just five big blinds.
Hendrix would quickly double-up to get back into the match. On the final hand, he went all-in with A-J against Weissman’s suited Q-2, which would win the pot and the tournament thanks to a generous flush. Hendrix received $144,500 for second place.
Event #6, a $10,000 8-Game mix, kicked off on Tuesday, also at the PokerGO Studio. The tournament attracted 68 entrants and played down to the final table before calling it a night. You can watch that final table beginning at 1 pm on Wednesday (on a one-hour delay) on the PokerGO app.
Negreanu, whose recent struggles in high-stakes poker are well documented, held the chip lead with 10 players remaining, but ran into a cooler in a Pot-Limit Omaha hand against Steve Zolotow. The GGPoker ambassador turned a set of aces, but Zolotow flopped the nut straight and the board didn’t pair on the river. Negreanu called off an all-in bet (smaller than the size of the pot, of course), doubling Zolotow up to a big stack while seeing his own stack fall back to average.
Despite the missed opportunity to reach the final table with a monster stack, Negreanu made it to Day 2. He’s one of seven players who will come back to compete for a US Poker Open title and the $183,600 prize awarded to the eventual champion. Each remaining player is guaranteed at least $34,000.
Negreanu will enter the final table with 810,000 chips, the second-smallest stack ahead of Richard Sklar (160,000). David “ODB” Baker, one of the top mixed-game players in the world, bagged the largest stack at 2,170,000. Eli Elezra sits in second place with 1,950,000, followed by Zolotow (1,605,000), Eric Sagstrom (905,000), Nick Guagenti (895,000), and then Negreanu and Sklar.
For Negreanu, winning the tournament would certainly make up for some recent struggles. His only other cash at the USPO was a $25,500 score for 10th place in Event #5. The former PokerStars ambassador has failed to run deep much in tournaments over the past few years, or to beat Phil Hellmuth in heads-up play. He has an opportunity to reverse the trend on Thursday.