Ali Imsirovic Takes USPO 2021 Overall Lead With Event #9 Victory

Ali Imsirovic earned his second career USPO victory with a win in Event #9 ($10,000 NLHE) for $217,800. (photo: Poker Central)

It seems like every high roller series at the PokerGO studios has been very good to Ali Imsirovic. Once again, the 24-year old Imsirovic was back posing for a winner’s photo on Saturday after he bested the 99-entry field of the U.S. Poker Open Event #9 ($10,000 No Limit Hold’em) for a $217,800 payday.

Imsirovic, the 2018 Breakout Player of the Year, now has two USPO career victories under his belt to go along with his 2018 Poker Masters overall title. He’s cashed in four of the first nine USPO 2021 events with this being his third final table of the series and has now taken the lead on the USPO 2021 Overall Leaderboard.

Things have been going smoothly for young pro, but for Imsirovic to put himself in a position to win, he needed to survive a field that included the likes of Nick Petrangelo (12th, $19,800), 2018 USPO overall champion Stephen Chidwick (11th, $29,700), and two-time GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen (10th, $39,600)

The final table fireworks started early when with blinds at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 bb ante) a short-stacked Jake Schindler put in a raise to 435,000 holding Kd9d, leaving himself just two big blinds behind. PokerGO founder Cary Katz picked up 7s7d in the cutoff and made the call. The pair saw a flop of Kc4d2s and Schindler tossed in his remaining chips. Katz made the call and Schindler was way ahead with his pair of kings. The turn came the Qd, and with just two outs left in the deck, Katz called out “seven of clubs” and the dealer obliged, putting the 7c out on the river sending Schindler out in seventh place for $49,500.

Roughly forty minutes later, Katz was back taking out another opponent. With the blinds up to 30,000/60,000 (60,000 bb ante), Katz opened to 215,000 with the AcKs. Thomas Winters was sitting on just 470,000 in the small blind and he moved all in with his Ad3d. Katz quickly called and the pair watched as the 9h7h5dTc2c board provided little for Katz’ dominating hand. Winters made his exit in sixth place and collected $59,400 for his deep run.

After the first break of the day, the blinds were up to 40,000/80,000 (80,000 bb ante) when Erik Seidel opened to 160,000 with the AdQs. It folded to Katz who quickly moved all-in for his final 17 big blinds with JhJc and the short-stacked Seidel decided to call. The flop came 9h5h2c, keeping Katz pocket jacks in the lead. The turn was the Th, removing some possible outs for Seidel. The river was the Ts, giving Katz another final table knockout and sending Seidel to the rail in fifth place for $74,300.

At four-handed, Imsirovic continued to accumulate chips while the rest of the field found themselves with similar chip stacks. With the blinds up to 50,000/100,000 (100,000 bb ante), PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary winner Vanessa Kade was down to her final 15 big blinds. She opened in the cutoff to 200,000 with KdQd and when the action folded back to Andrew Lichtenberger in the big blind, he three-bet all-in. Kade made the call putting her tournament life on the line and the flop came down Ks9s8h, giving Kade top pair. The 6c came off on the turn, but it was the Ah that hit the river shipping the pot Lichtenberger and sending Kade to the cashier in fourth place to pick up her $94,000 payday for fourth place.

Lichtenberger took that momentum and assumed the chip lead while Katz’s early success faded to frustration. Even after receiving a much-needed double, he was sitting on just over 10 bigs with blinds at 75,000/125,000 (125,000 bb ante). Imsirovic opened to 250,000 with the QhJh on the button and Katz defended his big blind with the 9c3c. The Qc6c3h flop gave Imsirovic top pair and Katz a pair and a flush draw. Katz checked it to Imsirovic who continued for 150,000. Katz quickly check-shipped his remaining 1.1 million and Imsirovic immediately called, with the hands being a virtual flip. The Ad turn was no help to either hand and the 5d river ended Katz’s run in third place where he added $118,800 to his earnings.

After winning that hand, Imsirovic and Lichtenberger were separated by just over seven big blinds, with Lichtenberger holding the slight edge. The pair battled for nearly an hour, trading the chip lead back and forth. Eventually, Imsirovic captured the lead and extended it to roughly ten-to-one.

With the blinds at 75,000/150,000 (150,000 bb ante), Lichtenberger moved all-in for his final 1,125,000 holding KhJs. Imsirovic in the big blind took a moment to consider and ended up making the call with the Jc6d. The flop came 9s5h4s, missing both but giving Imsirovic some backdoor draws to go with his pair outs. The 6c turn gave Imsirovic that pair which held through the Qh river. Lichtenberger finished as the runner-up, which was good for $158,400.

Ali Imsirovic took down his second career USPO title and with the win, and $217,800 first-place prize, surged into the lead in the USPO 2021 Overall Standings and is the current favorite to win the first-ever Golden Eagle trophy.

U.S. Poker Open Event #9 Final Table Payouts

  1. Ali Imsirovic – $217,800
  2. Andrew Lichtenberger – $158,400
  3. Cary Katz – $118,800
  4. Vanessa Kade – $94,050
  5. Erik Seidel – $74,250
  6. Thomas Winters – $59,400
  7. Jake Schindler – $49,500