It took every single hand if the 2022 U.S. Poker Open for Sean Winter to win the series championship, but he did it. After failing to cash in the first 10 events of the series, Winter stormed to the top of the mountain by winning the final two events. After he won Event #11: $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $440,000, Winter reached the final table of Event #12: $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em. Winter needed a victory to rip the Golden Eagle Trophy from Tamon Nakamura’s hands, and he pulled it off, defeating Nakamura’s good friend, Masashi Oya, in heads-up play to win the finale for $756,000 and become 2022 U.S. Poker Open champion.

“It means a lot,” WInter told PokerGO’s Jeff Platt after the victory. “I’m kind of speechless right now. I was just getting destroyed all series, obviously, and I was kind of grateful for that because it motivates me to do well, and the buy-ins went up. I kind of just got lucky in that regard and I’m good winning when I need to.”

Winter had previously finished runner-up in the U.S. Poker Open in each of the last two editions the series was held. Both times, David Peters won the series championship and Winter finished second. Not only did Winter take home the 60-pound Golden Eagle Trophy, but he was awarded the series’ $50,000 Championship Bonus. All told, Winter won $1,246,000 at the 2022 U.S. Poker Open.

Entering the final day of play, Nakamura had the points lead and was hoping to hold on to the top spot. Nakamura needed to fade Winter and Shannon Shorr, who could both overtake him if things broke right. Shorr went out in fifth place, leaving just Winter left to win it all. To do so, Winter needed first place and only first place. Winter pulled it off and became the 2022 U.S. Poker Open champion.

“Everyone was having a phenomenal series,” Winter said. “Hats off to [(Tamon Nakamura). At the start of yesterday’s tournament, I had to be one percent to win, less? I don’t know. I wasn’t even thinking about having a shot at all.”

What’s more, Winter has now gone back to back in the final event of the U.S. Poker Open. In the 2021 series, he topped the field of 42 entries to win $756,000.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” Winter said of the U.S. Poker Open series. “The whole atmosphere in here, it’s well run, Cary (Katz) does a great job here, and I just have the most fun of any form of poker playing these. I like to compete and it’s got a good mix of players.”

2022 U.S. Poker Open Event #12 Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Sean Winter United States $756,000
2 Masashi Oya Japan $504,000
3 Zhuang Ruan United States $336,000
4 Vikenty Shegal United States $231,000
5 Shannon Shorr United States $168,000
6 Dan Smith United States $105,000

Event #12: $50,000 NL Hold’em generated a prize pool of $2,100,000 thanks to 42 entries. The top six spots reached the money. Seven players returned for Monday’s final table, with Jake Schindler busting on the money bubble. All players to cash earned both U.S. Poker Open and PGT leaderboard points.

Winter’s Path To U.S. Poker Open Supremacy

Following his win in Event #11: $25,000 NL Hold’em, Winter had 264 leaderboard points and sat 12th in the race for the U.S. Poker Open championship. In the final event, Winter maneuvered his way to the final table. The way things lined up, Winter needed a victory in order to win the U.S. Poker Open championship.

Jake Schindler returned to Monday’s play as the shortest stack remaining, and he had his work cut out for him if he was going to make it into the final six players and into the money. Schindler couldn’t make it happen, though, and busted in seventh place as the tournament “bubble boy.”

Next to go was Dan Smith, who busted in a blind-versus-blind hand against Zhuang Ruan when Smith ran king-ten into ace-king. Then it was Shannon Shorr, the other player left in contention for the U.S. Poker Open championship, to bust in fifth place when he ran ace-king into Masashi’s Oya’s pocket aces.

The tournament looked like it might belong to Oya, who had built up a nice chip lead into four-handed play and looked as though he could do no wrong. But then he doubled up Winter in a big pot that gave plenty of momentum to the winner of Event #11.

With the blinds at 15,000-25,000 with a 25,000 b ig blind ante, Winter opened from under the gun to 75,000 with pocket jacks. Oya made the call from the big blind with ten-seven of hearts. The flop was jack-five-two with one heart and Oya checked. Winter bet 50,000 and Oya came along to see a seven land on the turn. Now with a pair of sevens, Oya check-raised Winter’s 135,000 bet to 285,000. Winter made the call. The river was a four and Oya moved all in, putting Winter to the test for his last 365,000. Winter quickly aced this one and made the snap-call to double up.

Winter kept the train rolling when he knocked out Vikenty Shegal shortly thereafter. He opened on the button with the ace-six of diamonds to 60,000 at the 15,000-30,000 level. Shegal jammed from the big blind for 450,000 with pocket sevens and Winter made the call. The board ran out in Winter’s favor and Shegal was out the door in fourth place.

After a bit of three-handed action, Ruan busted in third place, falling to Oya when his eight-high bluff failed to get through. On a final board of queen-four-two-five-four, Oya bet 295,000 into a pot of 705,000. Ruan raised all in for 1,530,000. Oya tanked for a bit and then made the call, busting Ruan in third place and getting heads up against Winter.

At the start of heads-up play, Oya and Winter were very, very close in chips. Oya had the slight chip lead with 4,235,000 to Winter’s 4,170,000.

Winter struck first and took the lead away from Oya, but then Oya fought right back before winning a big pot with a Broadway straight. Winter got down to 2,000,000 in chips as Oya rose about 6,000,000, but then he turned things around.

Winter got Oya to pay him off by check-raising the river with two pair. Oya looked him up with just a single pair, a wired pair of queens, and the chip lead was sent over to Winter.

On the final hand, it was once again Oya with pocket queens. Winter had ace-six and flopped trips on the six-six-three flop. After a ten hit the turn, the money went in. Winter was able to fade a queen hitting the river to win it all.

Winter Tops 2022 U.S. Poker Open Series Leaderboard

Winning 264 points in Event #11 and 454 points in Event #12 allowed Sean Winter to tally a total of 718 points for the U.S. Poker Open leaderboard. Those points were enough to win him the series title, $50,000 Championship Bonus, and Golden Eagle Trophy. As previously outlined, Winter could only top the leaderboard with a win in the final event, and he did just that.

Tamon Nakamura and Masashi Oya, two good friends from Japan, had quite the performances during the 2022 U.S. Poker Open. Nakamura won two events and cashed six times total to finish second on the leaderboard with 588 points. Oya had two top-three finishes for 414 points and finished ninth on the final leaderboard.

Phil Hellmuth played every event at the 2022 U.S. Poker Open, cashing four times and earning 464 points. He placed fifth on the final leaderboard.

2022 U.S. Poker Open Leaderboard Top 10

Rank Player Country Points
1 Sean Winter United States 718
2 Tamon Nakamura Japan 588
3 Alex Foxen United States 488
4 Chino Rheem United States 481
5 Phil Hellmuth United States 464
6 Shannon Shorr United States 441
7 Erik Seidel United States 428
8 Dylan Weisman United States 414
9 Masashi Oya Japan 414
10 Adam Hendrix United States 356

Winter Now Fourth On 2022 PGT Leaderboard

On the 2022 PGT leaderboard, Sean Winter now has 1,217 points and sits fourth overall. This PGT season, Winter has 10 cashes for $1,855,100 including two victories.

Isaac Kempton leads with 1,375 points, then it’s Ali Imsirovic with 1,369 points and Tony Sinishtaj with 1,250 points.

The two Japanese players who broke out at the 2022 U.S. Poker Open, Tamon Nakamura and Masashi Oya, made their way into the top 20 of the PGT leaderboard. Nakamura is currently 14th with 588 points and Oya is 17th with 563 points. The top 16 point earners on the leaderboard following the conclusion of the U.S. Poker Open series are invited to play in the first-ever PGT Heads-Up Showdown, so we could see Nakamura returning to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas to compete in that tournament April 21-23.

The top 21 point earners on the PGT leaderboard will be invited to a winner-take-all freezeout tournament at the end of the season, with the winner taking home $500,000.

Click here to view the complete PGT leaderboard.

2022 PGT Leaderboard Top 10

Rank Player Country Points
1 Isaac Kempton United States 1.375
2 Ali Imsirovic Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,369
3 Tony Sinishtaj United States 1,250
4 Sean Winter United States 1,147
5 Sean Perry United States 1,119
6 Nick Petrangelo United States 1,049
7 Jeremy Ausmus United States 986
8 Alex Foxen United States 886
9 Alex Livingston Canada 845
10 Cary Katz United States 763

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Dan Smith, PGT, Sean Winter, Tamon Nakamura, Jake Schindler, Shannon Shorr, Masashi Oya, U.S. Poker Open, USPO, Vikenty Shegal, Zhuang Ruan