Proving to be quite the mixed-game specialist, Japan’s Tamon Nakamura captured his second title of the 2022 U.S. Poker Open, defeating Phil Hellmuth heads-up to take home $239,700 in Event #6: $15,000 8-Game. Nakamura now has four cashes at the 2022 U.S. Poker Open and sits atop the series leaderboard at the halfway point of the series.

In addition to picking up his second win of the 2022 USPO, Nakamura vaulted himself into the top 10 of Japan’s all-time money list according to HendonMob.com. Prior to 2022, Nakamura had a total of $372,317 in live tournament winnings. He’s won $460,900 at the 2022 U.S. Poker Open alone in what is truly a breakout performance for the self-proclaimed mixed-game player from Japan.

Start-of-day chip leader Ben Yu parlayed the chip lead into a third-place finish for $105,750. Bryan Micon finished fourth for $77,550, Damjan Radanov finished fifth for $56,400, Scott Seiver finished sixth for $42,300, and Jeremy Ausmus finished seventh for $28,200.

2022 U.S. Poker Open Event #6 Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Tamon Nakamura Japan $239,700
2 Phil Hellmuth United States $155,100
3 Ben Yu United States $105,750
4 Bryan Micon United States $77,550
5 Damjan Radanov United States $56,400
6 Scott Seiver United States $42,300
7 Jeremy Ausmus United States $28,200

The 47-entrant field in Event #6: $15,000 8-Game created a prize pool of $705,000 and paid the top seven finishers. Maxx Coleman fell in eighth place when Yu’s superior flush bested his flush in a hand of stud hi-low.

Nakamura’s Road To Victory in Event #6

Tamon Nakamura came into the day seventh in chips and was down to his last 165,000 early before he found a double through Scott Seiver playing razz during 60,000-120,000 limits. Nakamura made a seven on sixth street to leave Seiver drawing dead before seventh. Even though he doubled, Nakamura was still the short stack at the table with 405,000.

Turning the page to limit hold’em, Jeremy Ausmus would be the first to head out the door when his king-jack of diamonds ran into the pocket queens of Ben Yu. The flop of jack-eight-seven with two diamonds hit the felt and gave Ausmus a pair and the flush draw, but when the board ran out with the eight of spades on the turn and the five of hearts on the river, Ausmus walked out the door in seventh place for $28,200.

Nakamura would then find his second double of the final table when his ace-queen ran down the pocket eights of Bryan Micon. An ace on the turn secured the double to 710,000.

Limit hold’em at 40,000-80,000 would also see Seiver’s downfall when he three-bet ace-king from the small blind against the ace-ten of Damjan Radanov. The flop fell ten-nine-two and Radanov check-called a continuation bet from Seiver. Another ten on the turn would see Radanov check-raise Seiver all in, and when the New York native made the call, he was drawing dead before the river hit the felt. Seiver took home $42,300 for his sixth-place finish.

From there, it was a battle of attrition as the remaining five players battled through 10 different double-ups over a near three-hour period before Radanov got in his last 300,000 at the 75,000-150,000 level holding the ace-queen-jack-ten in a hand of Omaha hi-low. Yu three-bet to 450,000 holding the ace-ace-six-six on the button and Phil Hellmuth came along with the ace-king-five-four from the big blind. The board ran out king-seven-five-two-eight with three spades, and Hellmuth made the nut flush and an ace-four low to scoop the pot and eliminate Radanov in fifth place for $56,400. The pot also gave Hellmuth the chip lead.

A few hands later, in the same level playing no-limit Texas hold’em with the blinds at 50,000-100,000, Micon got his last 300,000 into the middle holding the from under the gun only to see Nakamura wake up with the in the small blind. The board ran out , and Micon was headed to the rail in fourth place for $77,550. Nakamura moved into second place in chips with just over 2,100,000 chips.

Two hands later, Yu was all in from the small blind for his last 950,000, holding the jack-nine against the pocket fives of Nakamura in the big blind. The board ran out king-ten-two-nine-five. Although Yu had turned a pair of nines, Nakamura rivered a set of fives to eliminate Yu in third place for $105,750 and set the stage for the heads-up battle with Hellmuth.

Nakamura would quickly wrestle the chip lead away from Hellmuth thanks to consecutive razz hands at the 200,000-400,000 level. The first hand saw Hellmuth bring in with eight-four in the hole and a six up and Nakamura completed with queen-three in the hole and an ace up. Hellmuth put in the raise and Nakamura called. Nakamura hit a seven and Hellmuth hit the two on fourth street. Hellmuth bet and Nakamura called. On fifth street, Nakamura hit a five and Hellmuth hit a ten. Nakamura led and Hellmuth called. On sixth street, Nakamura hit a nine and Hellmuth paired up by hitting an eight. Nakamura bet and Hellmuth called. On seventh street, Nakamura hit a deuce to give him a seven. Hellmuth hit a seven to give him an eight-seven. Nakamura bet, and Hellmuth paid it off, sending the 3,700,00-chip pot Nakamura’s way and giving the Japanese player a chip lead greater than 2-1.

Two hands later, Nakamura sent Hellmuth under 1,000,000 chips. Hellmuth would score a double a few hands later to 1,600,000, but when the game switched to limit hold’em, it was all Nakamura. Nakamura sent Hellmuth under 600,000 when he flopped a pair of aces against Hellmuth’s flopped pair of sevens.

The final hand saw Nakamura open the button with ace-three of clubs and Hellmuth three-bet all-in with king-seven. Nakamura called and the board ran out clean for his hand. Nakamura successfully completed the ascent from worst to first and sent Hellmuth home with a $155,100 second-place prize.

Nakamura Now Leads 2022 U.S. Poker Open Leaderboard

With his second win of the series, Tamon Nakamura moved into a sizable lead in the race for the 2022 U.S. Poker Open Golden Eagle Trophy and $50,000 Championship Bonus. He sits at 462 points and is more than 100 points clear of second-place Jeremy Ausmus, who finished in seventh place to bring his point total up to 333. Ausmus has cashed the last four events in a row. Rounding out the top five are Shannon Shorr in third with 302 points, Ren Lin in fourth with 235 points, and Adam Hendrix in fifth with 234 points.

Phil Hellmuth, meanwhile, jumps into the top 10 on the leaderboard with his second-place finish in Event #6 and currently sits at 174 points.

2022 U.S. Poker Open Leaderboard Top 10

Rank Player Country Points
1 Tamon Nakamura Japan 462
2 Jeremy Ausmus United States 333
3 Shannon Shorr United States 302
4 Ren Lin United States 235
5 Adam Hendrix United States 234
6 Justin Young United States 200
7 Rok Gostisa Slovenia 192
8 Phil Hellmuth United States 174
9 Daniel Negreanu Canada 167
10 Jonathan Little United States 150

No Change On the PGT Leaderboard

The top of the PGT leaderboard remains unchanged, as none of the top 10 finished in the money in Event #6. But with the win, Tamon Nakamura jumped into the top 21 and currently sits in 17th place, knocking Darren Elias out of the top 21 spots.

At the end of the season, the top 21 point earners on the PGT leaderboard will compete in a winner-take-all freeroll for $500,000 in prize money. Click here to view the complete PGT leaderboard.

2022 PGT Leaderboard Top 10

Rank Player Country Points
1 Tony Sinishtaj United States 1,250
2 Isaac Kempton United States 1,200
3 Sean Perry United States 1,147
4 Nick Petrangelo United States 1,106
5 Ali Imsirovic Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,086
6 Jeremy Ausmus United States 1,021
7 Alex Livingston Canada 799
8 Daniel Negreanu Canada 743
9 Brock Wilson United States 685
10 Cary Katz United States 602
Scott Seiver, PGT, Phil Hellmuth, Tamon Nakamura, Jeremy Ausmus, U.S. Poker Open, USPO, Ben Yu, Bryan Micon, Damjan Radanov