The hot streak continues for Isaac Haxton who captures his fourth live tournament victory of 2023 in U.S. Poker Open Event #8: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em. Haxton topped the 54-entry field to collect $432,000.
"It's been a good year," Haxton said following the victory. "I think I was going to play more this year whether or not it went well. Though, certainly the fact that it has is a little additional motivation. I do plan to go to Monte Carlo and Cypress after this and I'll probably be playing some stuff at the World Series. So yeah, I am mostly back."
Haxton started the day second in chips, and it wasn't until midway through Day 2 that he took the lead away from Dan Smith, but once he had it, he never let off the gas and cruised his way into the victory circle.
Haxton had to make his way through an absolutely stacked final table which featured Alex Foxen, Joey Weissman, Bill Klein, Phil Hellmuth, and start of day chip leader Dan Smith on his way to the win.
The day would start with fireworks, as Hellmuth and Foxen played a very familiar hand. After a raise from Hellmuth, Foxen called in the big blind leaving himself with less than one big blind behind. He moved all in on a ten-high flop and revealed the queen-four offsuit when Hellmuth called holding ace-king. Hellmuth would hold through the river to eliminate Foxen in sixth place. Poker fans may remember that Hellmuth doubled through Foxen at the final table of the very same event in last year's U.S. Poker Open. But Foxen could not find revenge and would have to settle for $81,000 for his run.
Hellmuth didn't last much longer than that though, handing most of his chips over to Dan Smith in two hands. In the first, Hellmuth called two streets against Dan Smith holding ace-high, but when both players checked on the river, Smith revealed a better ace-high to claim the pot. Just a few hands later, Smith drilled a three-outer seven with queen-seven against Hellmuth's ace-queen to eliminate him in 5th place. Hellmuth took home $108,000 for his finish.
Haxton would eliminate the final three players from the event starting with Bill Klein. A short stacked Klein moved all in with ace-four suited and Haxton woke up with pocket tens in the small blind. He called and held to finish off Klein in fourth place for $135,000.
Next, Haxton would double through Smith to claim the chip lead. In the hand, Haxton found two kings in the big blind after a raise from Dan Smith in the small blind. He three-bet and called quickly when Smith four-bet jammed with ace-five offsuit. The kings would hold and Haxton would take the chip lead.
Three-handed play lasted nearly two-hours with pots being traded back and forth before Dan Smith hit the rail in third. In his final hand, Smith limp-jammed with pocket deuces from the small blind, but Haxton was holding a better pair of sixes. They held to bring the tournament into heads-up play.
Haxton held a nearly 7-1 lead when heads-up play started, but Weissman would battle back into contention. At one point, Weissman would pull nearly even after making a flush with nine-six suited and calling Haxton's river shove with aces. Unfortunately, the comeback was short lived and just one hand later, Haxton would finish off Weissman.
In the final hand, Haxton check-raised a jack-high flop with the nut-flush draw. Weissman floated and turned a pair of queens. Both players checked and the river brought in Haxton's flush. Haxton led out with a bet, Weissman raised, and Haxton moved all in. Weissman took a dip in the tank, thinking for several minutes before eventually calling. He would see the bad news and settle for second place in the event, worth $283,500. The 170 PGT points that Weissman earned also placed him second on the U.S. Poker Open series leaderboard.
With the victory, Haxton locked up $432,000, 259 PGT points, and his fourth recorded live tournament win of 2023. He moves over $5,000,000 in live tournament earnings for the year and moves over $35,000,000 in lifetime tournament earnings, according to TheHendonMob. The win also puts Haxton in 15th on the All Time Money List, just behind Steve O'Dwyer. Despite that, Haxton said he has no plans of chasing the top spot.
"I don't give it too much thought." He explained. "You know, the number of high buy-in events just goes up every year. And at this point, if I broke even for the next five years, and other people stopped playing, I'd pass them all. You just play so much now that the all-time money list tracks more who's playing a lot, than who's winning the most. Although, obviously you do have to win to move up."
For Haxton, it's the challenge of No-Limit Hold'em tournaments that keeps him motivated to play more, more than the money.
"I really enjoy the competition and the challenge," Haxton said about his motivations for playing. "No-Limit Hold'em tournaments are very very challenging and relative to cash games I like that it's... They're open. You show up and you play. There's no shenanigans with everyone having to pretend that they're here goofing off and gambling. People are here to win. And you don't have to pretend otherwise."
|1st||Isaac Haxton||United States||$423,000||259|
|2nd||Joey Weissman||United States||$283,500||170|
|3rd||Dan Smith||United States||$189,000||113|
|4th||Bill Klein||United States||$135,000||81|
|5th||Phil Hellmuth||United States||$108,000||65|
|6th||Alex Foxen||United States||$81,000||49|
|7th||Chris Brewer||United States||$67,500||41|
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