Joey Weissman is the winner of the opening tournament at the 2023 U.S. Poker Open. Weissman topped a record-setting field of 105 entries to win the $231,000 first-place prize and take the early lead in the series leaderboard ace.
With 105 entries in the field, the opening event of the 2023 U.S. Poker Open Series became the largest-ever owned-and-operated $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event in PGT history. That means it was also the biggest field size ever at the U.S. Poker Open.
Weissman now has more than $5,000,000 in career live tournament earnings, according to TheHendonMob.com. Among his successes are a 2021 U.S. Poker Open victory for $204,000 and a 2022 BetMGM Poker Championship win for $224,236, both held at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.
“It's really cool,” Weissman said of playing in the PokerGO Studio. “I love playing here. They do everything right, and it's just catered to the players so the experience is just super high quality. To be able to win under those conditions obviously is even more special. So not only is it somewhere that I look forward to playing, but I also associate it with running good and making money. It's just special, you know, it's great.”
Weissman came into the final day of play second in chips among the final six competitors. Within 30 minutes, the field was down to the final three. In under 40 minutes, Weissman was heads up with Justin Young. Weissman quickly took the lead and never really looked back. Young did retake the lead by a single chip later in the heads-up match, but Weissman immediately took it back and extended the gap. It was a combination of better hands, well-timed bluffs, and extracting value at the right time in what was a rather dominating heads-up performance from Weissman. Eventually, Weissman came out on top over Young to earn his third-ever tournament win inside the PokerGO Studio.
“I do consider myself a competitive person, and I really love the game and I just love to show up and play with guys who I consider the best, people that I really respect,” Weissman said. “To come out on top, obviously, you know, this is just a small sample, this is just one tournament and anybody in this room can win, so I feel grateful that it happens to me. I’m just going to keep trying to play my best and hopefully put myself in more situations like this.”
Joey Weissman entered the final day second in chips with six players remaining, and it didn’t take long for the eliminations to start.
Just a few hands into play on Friday, Jonathan Little found his money in the middle with pocket sevens against the ace-jack for Andrew Moreno. Moreno flopped a jack and held from there to send Little packing in sixth place for $63,000.
Shortly thereafter, it was Nacho Barbero hitting the rail in fifth place after he clashed with Justin Young. Young had opened on the button with a raise to 100,000 at the 25,000-50,000 level. Barbero reraised from the small blind and made it 420,000 to go. Young four-bet to 1,100,000. Barbero took some time before moving all in for 2,695,000. Young quickly called with the ace-king of clubs. Barbero was in bad shape with king-jack. The ace-five-two flop was a barren one for Barbero and Young held from there to knock out Barbero in fifth for $78,750.
A little while after that, Matthew McEwan moved all in on the ace-six-two flop with nine-two. Young had bet the flop for 50,000 with ten-six and McEwan jammed for 420,000. Young called, held, and McEwan was out the door in fourth place for $99,750. Just like that, the tournament was down to its final three players in less than half of an hour.
After about another 10 minutes or so passed, Moreno got his chips in preflop with pocket sevens. He was up against the ace-king of Weissman. Moreno opened the button, Weissman three-bet from the big blind, Moreno four-bet shoved for right around 41 big blinds, and Weissman met him with a call. A king flopped and the runout favored Weissman from there to bust Moreno in third place for $126,000.
Heads-up play began with Young out in front of Weissman. Young had 7,790,000 to Weissman’s 5,335,000. Young’s stack represented a very deep 155 big blinds, and Weissman was also very deep with 106 big blinds.
Weissman started closing the gap right away before he pulled off a king-high bluff to move into the chip lead. Weissman continued to stretch out the lead over the early portion of the match, but then Young fought back and was able to ever so slightly take the lead back. The match quickly tilted back in Weissman’s favor, and then he won a sizable pot with king-three against Young’s jack-two that involved a sneaky check-raise on the river.
Weissman flopped two pair on the king-six-three-nine-jack board and waited until the river to pounce. He checked the action to Young, who bet his pair of jacks for a half-pot wager. Weissman check-raised to a little more than three times what Young put in, and Young paid him off. That gave Weissman more than 70% of the chips in play, and it only took about 10 more minutes for him to seal the deal.
On the final hand, Young got his last 26 big blinds in preflop from the button with ace-seven only to run into Weissman’s ace-queen. Weissman’s hand held up and he was the winner.
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