David Peters has defeated the largest-field event held so far in U.S. Poker Open history, outlasting 99 entries to win event no. 7 at the 2021 USPO to win $217,800. The record turnout for the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event created a prize pool of $990,000. The previous largest field at the USPO was in another event with the same buy-in and format, which drew 91 entries in 2019 and was won by Lauren Roberts.
This victory marked Peters’ third USPO title, with only 25 events completed since the series first debuted in 2018. Peters won the USPO trophy in 2019 and is the reigning champion heading into this year’s series as a result of the 2020 running having not taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only inaugural champion Stephen Chidwick has won more USPO titles, having taken down two events at both the 2018 and 2019 runnings for four total victories at the series.
This was Peters’ first final-table finish in a live poker tournament this year. He was awarded 540 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, and 218 USPO rankings points. The score catapulted him into sixth place in the series points race, with $50,000 in added prize money and the new Golden Eagle Trophy on the line for the eventual winner. Peters also earned 218 rankings points towards the PokerGO Tour leaderboard. This victory alone was enough to move him inside the top 30 in those standings.
With this win, Peters increased his career tournament earnings to more than $35.4 million, placing him in sixth place on poker’s all-time money list.
The 99-entry field was narrowed to just eight players heading into the second and final day of action, with World Series of Poker bracelet winner Andrew Lichtenberger sitting on the chip lead when play resumed. Kristina Holst was eliminated in eighth place ($39,600) to set up the live-streamed final table of seven players.
Peters scored the first knockout under the bright lights, with his A9 beating out the pocket sixes of Dan Shak (7th – $49,500). This was Shak’s third final-table finish of the series, having finished runner-up and ninth in two prior $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em events. With $235,500 in earnings and 236 points accumulated so far this series, he now sits in third place in the USPO series standings behind only Joe McKeehen (302 points) and Steve Zolotow (289 points).
That knockout saw Peters overtake the chip lead. He was then able to put his foot on the gas, applying plenty of pressure to the other players who were trying to ladder up the payouts. He shoved all-in with 64 from the small blind and short stack Ivan Zufic called from the big blind with K8. Peters flopped a pair of sixes and held from there to bust Zufic (6th – $59,400) and take roughly a 2:1 lead over the next largest stack, belonging to WSOP bracelet winner and World Poker Tour main event champion Jared Jaffee.
Jaffee closed that gap somewhat when his AK beat out the KJ of Alex Foxen, who failed to improve and was sent to the rail in fifth place ($79,200). Shortly after that Brock Wilson’s run came to an end when his A-5 for a pair of fives failed to hold up against the nut flush draw of Peters, who made his flush on the turn to leave Wilson drawing dead. He was awarded $89,100 as the fourth-place finisher.
Peters entered three-handed action with just shy of 60 percent of the chips in play. Peters extended that advantage when he moved all-in from the small blind with J10 and Lichtenberger called with A7 for his last 16 big blinds. Peters flopped a full house to send Lichtenberger home in third place with $118,800.
Heads-up play began with Peters holding more than a 2:1 lead over Jaffee. The two battled it out for over 90 minutes, with Jaffee able to nearly draw even before the decisive pot arose. Peters limped in from the small blind with 43 and Jaffee checked with 84. The flop brought the J43 to give Peters two pair. Jaffee check-called a bet of 200,000 and the 4 on the turn improved both players. Jaffee checked and Peters bet 650,000. Jaffee called and the 9 completed the board. Jaffee check-called again, this time for an overbet of 2.75 million into the pot of 2.3 million. Jaffee was left with just 10 big blinds after running his trips into Peters’ full house. He called all-in shortly after that with K2 and was unable to beat out the A8 of Peters, who made eights and fours to secure the pot and the title. Jaffee earned $158,400 as the runner-up finisher.
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Winner photo credit: PokerGO.