Jake Daniels took home $218,500 for his win in Event #1 of the U.S. Poker Open 2021.

After more than two years away, the U.S. Poker Open 2021 returned this week with Jake Daniels winning Event #1 ($10,000 No Limit Hold’em) for $218,500.

There were plenty of high-rollers eager to dive back into the live poker scene as 95 total entries turned Event #1 into the largest field in USPO history. The tournament turned out plenty of star power with players like Daniel Negreanu, Nick Petrangelo, and Alex Foxen among those battling for a piece of the $950,000 prize pool. However, at the end of Day 1, just seven remained including Daniels, Barry Hutter, Sergi Reixach, Dan Shak, and 2018 USPO champion Stephen Chidwick.

At the very beginning of the final table, Tim McDermott lost a huge hand against a short-stacked Barry Hutter when his AdKd lost a flip against Hutter’s ThTd, leaving him with just over five big blinds. Shortly after, it all came to an end for McDermott when with the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (80,000 bb ante) Sergi Reixach opened to 160,000 holding 7s7d and McDermott defended his big blind with the 4d2d. The flop came 5d5h3c and McDermott moved all-in for his final three blinds with an open-ended straight draw. Reixach quickly called and the turn brought the 2c, giving McDermott additional outs. However, the Jh was not one of them and McDermott exited in seventh place for $47,500.

Nearly an hour later, Reixach’s fortunes had changed. Rather than being one of the table’s chip leaders, he was down to just over five big blinds. When the action folded to Reixach in the small blind, he open-shipped his remaining chips with 9s5s into the big stack of Barry Hutter, who called with 7d7c, the same hand Reixach eliminated McDermott with. The 6d5c4c flop brought Reixach a pair and gave Hutter a straight draw to go with his overpair. The turn was the 8h, bringing in Hutter’s straight and leaving Reixach looking one of the remaining two sevens in the deck. The river came the Ks. “Good luck guys,” Reixach said as he grabbed his backpack and headed to the cage to pick up his $57,000 payday for sixth place.

Shortly after the final five returned from a break to blinds of 60K/120K (120K bb ante), Hutter opened under the gun to 250K with the 9c7c. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Steve Zolotow, with just five big blinds left, moved all-in with his AhKh. Action folded back to Hutter who made the call.

“Unfortunately, usually, the 7-9 wins,” said Dan Shak, sitting just to Zolotow’s left.

The flop came Jc7d6s, putting Hutter in the lead with middle pair.

“You know how many times I’ve seen 7-9 beat ace-king?” Shak continued.

The turn was the 7s, improving Hutter’s hands to trips and leaving Zolotow drawing dead to the Jd river. Hutter dragged the pot with a full house. “You know how many times I’ve lost with ace-king?” Shak concluded as Zolotow made his exit in fifth place for $76,000.

Thirty minutes later, four-time USPO event winner Steven Chidwick’s bid to win a fifth title came to an end. With the blinds at 75K/150K (150K bb ante) Daniels opened from under the gun to 300K holding 5h5d. Shak folded his button and Chidwick, holding 3d3c, moved all-in for his final 850K. Hutter let go of his big blind and Daniels quickly called. The flop came Ad8s2c leaving Chidwick looking for help. Some arrived in the form of the 5s turn, bringing the Brit a gutshot straight draw. The river was the Jc, sending the 2018 USPO Champion out in fourth place for $95,000.

With three players left, Hutter found himself with just ten big blinds. Eventually, with a little momentum, Hutter raised the button to 300K holding Ks7s. Daniels let go of his small blind and Shak made the call in the big blind with his 5s4s. Shak checked the Td7d6h flop and Hutter tossed out a small bet of 150K. Shak then checked-raise his open-ended straight draw to 1.3 million, effectively the rest of Hutter’s stack. After burning through a time bank, Hutter eventually shoved for slightly more and Shak called for just a few chips more. “I regretted betting the flop immediately,” Hutter said as the 4h came off on the turn. When the 3h hit the river, Shak’s straight won the hand and Hutter tapped the table and departed in third place for $114,000.

Shak started heads-up play as the chip leader but after a massive first hand where Daniels rivered a higher straight than Shak, Daniels amassed over 75% of the chips in play and began to apply the pressure.

On the final hand of the tournament, Shak moved all-in for his final 10 big blinds with Kh7c and Daniels made the call holding As3s. The AcKcJh paired both players and when the 8c came off on the turn, Shak picked up additional flush outs. But the 5h river was no help for Shak, and he settled for second place and a $152,000 payday.

In his very first U.S. Poker Open event, Jake Daniels takes home his first USPO title and $218,500, the second-largest score of his career.

U.S. Poker Open Event #1 Final Table

  1. Jake Daniels – $218,500
  2. Dan Shak – $152,000
  3. Barry Hutter – $114,000
  4. Stephen Chidwick – $95,000
  5. Steve Zolotow – $76,000
  6. Sergi Reixach – $57,000
  7. Tim McDermott – $47,500