Dan Smith USPO 3
Dan Smith won the third USPO event, the only one of the series he has entered so far.

An exciting conclusion to the third event of the 2024 U.S. Poker Open saw Dan Smith, a.k.a. ‘The Cowboy’ ride home with the title after playing and winning his first event of the series. Smith, whose lifetime winnings in ranking tournaments now top $54 million, as he sits in 5th position on The Hendon Mob All-Time Money List.

Soverel Bubbles Event as Smith’s Ladies Prevail

Event #3 of the 2024 U.S. Poker Open had 84 entrants and at $10,100 per entry, created a prizepool of $840,000. A top prize of $235,200 awaited the winner and just the top dozen players cashed. The bubble boy was Sam Soverel, who busted in unlucky 13th position for nothing when he shoved with JsJd and was called by Dan Smith with QhQc. The board of 8h6c4dKdTd sent Soverel home with nothing and put everyone else in the money.

Several big names snuck into profit after a gruelling Day 1 at the felt. Sam Laskowitz crawled into the money in 12th place, winning $21,000 when his Ad6d lost to David Coleman’s AhJd and he was soon joined on the rail by Victoria Livschitz. The PokerStake player, who has sold winning action to two of the opening three events continued her remarkable consistency, losing only when she ran Ac4d into Rodger Johnson’s AdQd for a score of $25,200.

Nick Schulman found himself short after he doubled up Phil Hellmuth, and the PokerGO commentator was out in 10th place for $25,200 soon after. On a board of 9h8d6s7cKh, Schulman bet-called off his stack with Qc5h for the low straight but Rodger Johnson had trapped with the high straight of QhTh and that sent play to the final nine.

The Poker Brat is Punished

Andrew ‘Chewy’ Lichtenberger busted in ninth place, his AcJh shot down by Jesse Lonis’ KcTc with all the chips going into the middle pre-flop. A flop of KsTh3h was a disaster for the much-loved Lichtenberger and despite hoping for a gutshot, it never came on the 2h turn or 7d river and Chewy cashed for $25,200.

With eight players left, it was the final table bubble and the biggest name in poker busted. All-in with As8s, Phil Hellmuth was hoping to win a flip against the 7h7c of Rodger Johnson. There was to be no such success for the Poker Brat, however, as Johnson – who has now cashed in all three of the opening events of the USPO – saw his pocket pair hold as the board came QcTs3h5c4s. Hellmuth left in eighth for $33,600 and later told his Twitter/X followers just how painful the exit had been.

Thankfully for Brat fans, the 17-time WSOP bracelet winner made the final table of Event #4, which we’ll bring you news of later in the weekend when it concludes at the PokerGO Studio.

After Hellmuth’s exit, the final seven were led by David Stamm on 1.98 million chips, but he was less that a big blind clear of Dan Smith (1.96m) and Rodger Johnson (1.95m) as the race to win the $235,200 top prize began in earnest. It wasn’t long before seven became six, as Bill Klein shoved pre-flop with KcJc and walked into the brick wall of Jesse Lonis’ AcAd. Only a jack came on a safe board for Lonis and he took over the chip lead as Klein left with $33,600.

No sooner had the final six been formed were they being broken up. Dylan Linde dipped under a million chips and moved all-in from the small blind with JhTd, called by Johnson with AcQs. Linde had two live cards but neither of them hit on the nine-high and as Linde left to collect $42,000, just five players remained in the hunt for the trophy.

Smith Shoots Down Opposition

David Coleman was short stacked when he moved all-in from the small blind with TdTc, called by Smith and Johnson, who held Qh5h5s. Johnson continued on the flop, getting rid of Smith and the cards were on their backs with Coleman hoping for a two-outer miracle, without even a back door flush or straight draw. The Qd ended any lingering hopes he might have had, and he was on his feet, shaking hands with his conqueror before the 4h river completed the board, on his way to collect $58,800 for finishing fifth.

At that moment, it seemed like Lonis and Johnson were dominating all around them, on an inevitable collision course for a heads-up showdown. It wasn’t the case, however, as is so often shown in No Limit Hold’em. You’re never more than two big hands from the door and so it proved inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA on the Las Vegas Strip.

Dan Smith doubled twice, first with a superior ace-high and secondly with the worst of it, his Jh8h finding a flush against Stamm’s AcJc when all the chips went in pre-flop. Lonis slid down the counts and attempted to flip his way back into contention, shoving pre-flop with AdQs. Johnson was going nowhere with 6h6c and called, making a straight on the board of 8h8c7dTd9s and sending Lonis to the rail, out in fourth place for $79,800.

Three-handed, David Stamm doubled once but then lost the lot with Ah5d, his pre-flop shove again called by Johnson with a low pair, his 2s2d holding across the 9s9d4sJs6s board which even gave him a flush on fifth street. Stamm exited for $109,200 as Johnson took the lead into heads-up, his 6.25 million chips ahead of Smith’s 4.25 million.

Not enough is made of Dan Smith’s record in ranking tournaments when down to the final two players. In 44 ranking heads-up battles, Smith has prevailed in a staggering 30 of them, and his nickname of ‘The Cowboy’ owes itself most to his ability to shoot down any man or woman when it’s one on one.

On this occasion, once Smith got into the lead, the cards played themselves to a degree, his Ac9h dominating then defeating Johnson’s As4h when a board of KcTh3hJd9c favored the player in front. Johnson’s third cash of the 2024 U.S. Poker Open was his best yet at $151,200, but it was Smith was again left smiling as the quiet man of the world’s elite bagged yet another big title, his $235,200 top prize just reward for a focused and finessed final table showing.

With the U.S. Poker Open Online taking place on Global Poker, poker fans can invest in a number of players via our official PokerStake staking page for the series, with stars such as Brock Wilson, Victoria Livschitz and Aram Zobian already having won profit for their investors in the opening three events.

PGT 2024 U.S. Poker Open Event #3 $10,100 NLHE Final Table Results:
Place Player Country Prize
1st Dan Smith United States $235,200
2nd Rodger Johnson United States $151,200
3rd David Stamm United States $109,200
4th Jesse Lonis United States $79,800
5th David Coleman United States $58,800
6th Dylan Linde United States $42,000
7th Bill Klein United States $33,600