Perhaps the least accomplished tournament player in the 33-player field for the $50,000 US Poker Open Main Event field, emerged victorious on Sunday thanks in large part to an ill-timed bluff. While Keith Tilston’s win put him over $1 million for the series, it wasn’t enough to overcome Stephen Chidwick’s lead in the race to become the first US Poker Open champion.
Tilston’s Main Event added $660,000 to his series totals, but he would’ve needed another half a dozen or more players in the tournament to have surpassed Chidwick, the series’ biggest winner, who cashed in five events, winning two, for more than $1.2 million.
Bad Time to Bluff
To win a poker tournament against some of the best players in the world, you’re going to have to pull off a few sick bluffs along the way. But you had better be sure your opponent will fold if you put your entire stack on the line. Just ask Tom Marchese and Jake Schindler.
With four players left, Marchese had the smallest stack and sought an opportunity to make a move with king-high against Daniel Negreanu, who was second in chips at the time.
Kid Poker, holding A♠6♠ on a A♣J♦10♣8♣2♥ board, check-called bets on the flop and turn. That didn’t stop Marchese from firing a third bullet on the river for most of the remainder of his stack.
Less than 10 seconds after Marchese threw out his river bluff bet of 172,000, Negreanu made the call, virtually ending Tom’s chances of winning the tournament.
But the long-time PokerStars ambassador was the next one out when he ran pocket 9s into Schindler’s pocket 10s, setting the stage for an exciting heads-up match.
Schindler, an aggressive player much like Marchese, is never afraid to triple-barrel bluff. But if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.
On a flop of 6♠9♥A♥, Tilston continued his pre-flop aggression with K♥4♥, firing out a 38,000 bet. Schindler, also on a draw with 8♠7♥, put in a massive check-raise to 140,000.
There was no chance Tilston was going anywhere with the nut flush draw. The only question was will he raise or just flat. He opted for the latter and the hand progressed to the turn, which was the 2♣, no help to either player.
Schindler wasn’t ready to give up and continued telling the story of a strong hand by firing out 280,000 chips. Unfortunately, for the Pennsylvania native with over $15 million in lifetime live tournament winnings, the aggression didn’t scare off his opponent.
Still, if the river was anything but a heart, Jake was going to win this hand even if he didn’t hit his draw. That’s the power of aggression in no-limit Texas hold’em.
Too bad, for Schindler, the river was a heart (2♥). He now had to decide if he wanted to give up and live to fight another day with a 3-1 chip disadvantage. Or, make what would be an ill-timed bluff.
It isn’t in Schindler’s nature to surrender. He didn’t become such a successful poker player by sitting around waiting for the nuts. So, he shoved all-in and, that was all she wrote.
US Poker Open Main Event Final Table Results
1 Keith Tilston (United States) $660,000
2 Jake Schindler (United States) $429,000
3 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $264,000
4 Tom Marchese (United States) $165,000
5 Dan Smith (United States) $132,000
Chidwick Overall Series Winner
Tilston’s victory was his fourth cash during the series and put him over the $1 million mark for the week, but he still couldn’t win enough to become the first US Poker Open Champion, not with Stephen Chidwick scooping two events and cashing in five.
Chidwick cashed for $1,256,600 throughout the series, a run that includes wins in Events #3 and #4.
2018 US Poker Open Money List
1 Stephen Chidwick (United States) $1,256,000
2 Keith Tilston (United States) $1,047,100
3 Jake Schindler (United States) $693,400
4 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $621,500
5 Benjamin Pollak (France) $554,600
That wraps up the inaugural US Poker Open series.