Erik Seidel 2024 USPO 1
Erik Seidel won the opening event of the 2024 U.S. Poker Open at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA in Las Vegas.

The opening event of the 2024 U.S. Poker Open saw a bumper field and a thrilling final table produce a very popular winner. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel began the final day with the chip lead before losing his advantage after a series of unfortunate all-in hands. Undeterred, the New Yorker battled back to take the title after a superb victory over Eric Afriat heads-up in Las Vegas.

Chidwick and Foxen Fail to Make the Final

With a total of 116 entrants each paying $5,100 to play, there were 17 money places, which led to a dramatic bubble. Mitchell Halverson was eliminated for no return on his investment when his AsKd met with no help post-flop after Erik Seidel’s QsQh survived the Qc6d5h3h6h board and then some, rivering an unnecessary full house.

Everyone was now in the money places and cashes for John Riordan (17th for $8,700), PokerStake player Brock Wilson (16th for $11,600) and Kristen Foxen (14th for $11,600) all followed as some big names made profit but left the competition before the business end of the event. Stephen Chidwick’s elimination for $14,500 in 11th place brought about the final ten as the British player’s Ad6d failed to improve against Alex Foxen’s Ah7d.

Rodger Johnson’s 10th-place exit at the hands of Justin Zaki saw the remaining nine players move on, and further eliminations of Sam Laskowitz in ninth for $17,400 and Bulgaria’s Stoyan Madanzhiev in 8th for $23,200 brought about the final table bubble.

Zaki Hits Z-List as Afriat Rises

Heading into the final seven players, Canadian player Eric Afriat was the chip leader. The popular Afriat, who famously lost a massive had to Barny Boatman on the way to the British player becoming the oldest-ever EPT Winner in Paris earlier this year, had wielded the axe on numerous occasions and had the biggest stack before Alex Foxen departed in seventh place. That was when Erik Seidel busted his fellow American for $23,200 and took the lead in the tournament. Foxen’s queen-jack lost to Seidel’s ace-five and six remained to battle it out for the title.

Seidel led, but the final day couldn’t have started worse for the poker legend. First, Seidel doubled up Dylan Linde to lose the lead to Afriat. Next, the New Yorker doubled up John Khoury. Attempts to remedy this dramatic shortfall in form saw another double at Seidel’s expense, this time for William Lamar-Boone.

Meanwhile, Justin Zaki was all-in and at risk. Holding AdQs, his effort to ‘flip’ his way back into contention went as badly as it possibly could against Linde’s pocket sixes, a board of Jd6c3h4hKc sending Zaki to the cash desk to collect $29,000 before the river card fell.

Seidel built up slowly but lost his fourth all-in in a row when Lamar-Boone again scored a double through the resumptive chip leader. It took Eric Afriat to bust Lamar-Boone, who tried to spin it up again with Kc7c but ran into Afriat’s KdKd and a board of Ks4c4d9h7s had doomed the luckless Lamar-Boone – who won $37,700) on the flop.

Seidel Seals Epic Victory

With four left, Afriat has resumed the leader’s position with 5.6 million chips. Seidel (4,425,000) trailed closest, with Linde (3,150,000) and John Khoury (1,325,000) further behind. On a board showing QdQc7h7s2s, only Seidel’s stack preserved his tournament life, as his pocket kings were crushed by Afriat’s AsQs, which took out Khoury’s 9d9c in fourth place for $49,300.

Afriat now had more chips than Linde and Seidel combined but that change quickly when Seidel’s full house beat Afriat’s rivered flush. Afriat and Linde traded chips but all that did was to chip up Seidel and close to the end of the event, a big pot between the two chasing players resulted in Afriat grabbing almost all of Linde’s chips.

Soon, Seidel had the lot. Afriat opened with 9s9d, Linde shoved with Ks8c and Erik Seidel looked down at AsAd, moving all-in himself. Afriat made the call and after a JdTd5c5c3d board played out, it was all over, Afriat finishing second by virtue of his bigger stack when the final hand played out.

PGT 2024 U.S. Poker Open Event #1 $5,100 NLHE Final Table Results:
Place Player Country Prize
1st Erik Seidel United States $145,000
2nd Eric Afriat Canada $89,900
3rd Dylan Linde United States $63,800
4th John Khoury United States $49,300
5th William Lamar-Boone United States $37,700
6th Justin Zaki United States $29,000