Isaac Kempton was the happiest man in the PokerGO Studio when he captured his first PokerGO Major title in U.S. Poker Open Event #6: $15,000 Pot-Limit Omaha. Kempton topped the field of 66 entries to take home the lion's share of the $930,000 prize pool, walking away with $279,000 - the largest prize of the U.S. Poker Open this far.
The 25-year-old Kempton, who originally hails from Delaware, moved to Vegas to take on the biggest games and immediately found success on the tournament scene, breaking out with a 2nd place finish in the Wynn Millions in March of 2022 for $1,093,314. Shortly after, Kempton found his first two final tables on the PokerGO Tour at the U.S. Poker Open, as well as a third place finish in the $25,000 PGT Heads-Up Championship.
"Well here's the thing, I like money," Kempton said about moving to Vegas. "And I'm pretty good at poker. And you can make a lot of money playing poker. So I came out to Vegas because they're always playing cards here. There's barely any card games in Delaware. Not stakes like this, that's for sure. So I thought, Hey, I'll come out to Vegas. I'll take all their money and I'll be rich."
Kempton's results speak for themselves, espcially in Pot-Limit Omaha where he now has over $1,000,000 in live PLO cashes according to TheHendonMob.com.
"You know in Omaha, you get to gamble more, is the thing," Kempton said. "In Hold'em there's only two cards, someone gets aces and they make a big raise and what are you gonna do? In PLO, you know they got the aces? It doesn't matter, you call anyways. 'Cus you can hit. You can hit something big with the four cards. Four cards makes all the difference. It's good for gambling. It's good for fun. Everybody loves four cards man."
Kempton came into the bubble on Day 1 with a big stack and used that time to apply relentless pressure to the short stacks to build his lead. Along with Martin Zamani and Gregory Shuda, who also held big stacks, Kempton abused the nearly two-hour long bubble to bring a massive stack into the final table. Kempton was the one to burst the bubble when he eliminated Japan's Masashi Oya in 10th place. From there, several other short stacks fell in quick succession, including Michael Wang (9th -$27,900), Chris Brewer (8th - $37,200) Jim Collopy (7th - $46,500), and Erik Seidel (6th - $55,800).
Shuda actually eliminated a majority of the players at the final table, including Collopy and Seidel and would close out Day 1 with an elimination of Roussos Koliakoudakis in 5th place as well.
And Shuda picked up right where he left off, eliminating Ben Lamb in 4th to kick of Day 2 action at the live streamed final table. In the hand, Shuda called Lamb's three-bet from the big blind, and his all-in shove on an ace-high flop with flush and straight draws. Shuda turned a flush and held through the river to send Lamb home. Lamb earned $93,000 for his run in the event.
Martin Zamani fell not long after, also dropping to Shuda. In spectacular fashion, Shuda spiked one outer quads with a set under set to send Zamani to the rail. Zamani's 3rd place finish would earn him $130,200.
While final day of play started off going all Shuda's way, Kempton proved his prowess in heads-up play, putting on a dominating performance to take the win. Kempton started Day 2 with the chip lead, but would lose that when Shuda eliminated two of the final four players.
But even with the chip lead, Shuda couldn't overcome Kempton in heads-up play. Kempton applied relentless pressure hand after hand and made the right calls and right folds to move back in front. In one of the early hands in the heads up match, Shuda attempted an ill-timed bluff with missed flush and straight draws. Kempton, holding the second nuts with a set of queens, moved all in. Shuda quickly released, and Kempton reclaimed the chip lead.
"It was interesting actually, because I wasn't at his table at all yesterday," Kempton said about his heads-up opponent. "We were at separate tables the entire time up until this final table. So the first two hands, I raised it up as the chip leader. Most of the players here, they'd be scared. They want to avoid the chip leader. This guy just pots it right back at me and I have no idea how he plays. So that was certainly interesting. I had to get a read on how he played, study the showdowns, see what he was doing. But eventually I feel like I figured him out somewhat."
From there, it was small pot after small pot for Kempton who whittled Shuda down to a miniscule stack. In the final hand of the match, Kempton called a limp-raise from Shuda with a queen-high double-suited rundown. Shuda held a double-suited king high and the two would get the last of the chips in on a queen-high flop. Kempton had the lead and further improved to a straight on the river to take down the pot and earn his first PokerGO Tour title.
"Oh it's great. Man, playing in the PGT," Kempton said. "These are my favorite tournaments I ever play. More favorite than even the WSOP probably. I mean you show up, it's rake free. They give you free food. You get to play with legends like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. I used to watch those guys on the television back in the day. Now I'm playing with 'em and beating 'em! Now they're watching me on the television. It's lovely, man."
The win was Kempton's first in the PokerGO studio, despite having much success on the PokerGO Tour. Kempton improves upon his finish from the 2022 U.S. Poker Open where he finished third in the very same event. With the win, Kempton also climbs over $3,000,000 in live tournament earnings according to TheHendonMob.com and claims his third recorded live tournament victory. The 279 PGT points Kempton collected for the win currently place him in 3rd on the overall U.S. Poker Open leaderboard.
"I think I'll porbably chase," Kempton said about the race for series champion. "I would love to win the whole USPO. That'd be great."
|1st||Isaac Kempton||United States||$279,000||279|
|2nd||Gregory Shuda||United States||$186,000||186|
|3rd||Martin Zamani||United States||$130,200||130|
|4th||Ben Lamb||United States||$93,000||92|
|6th||Erik Seidel||United States||$55,800||56|
|7th||Jim Collopy||United States||$46,500||47|
|8th||Chris Brewer||United States||$37,200||37|
|9th||Michael Wang||United States||$27,900||28|
Connect with PokerGO.com on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Watch daily poker clips on the PokerGO YouTube channel. Join the conversation on the PokerGO Discord server. You can save $20 off an annual subscription to PokerGO.com by using the code “PGT2023” at checkout.