Day 2 Completed
|Blinds||25,000 / 50,000|
Day 2 Completed
Benjamin Pollak has been travelling the European poker circuit for a decade but 2017 was truly the breakout year for the 34-year-old Frenchman who finished third in the WSOP Main Event for a mammoth $3.5 million payday.
He took off from there, trying to elevate his game and make a name for himself in the high buy-in fields. Pollak notched four six-figure cashes between his hit at the Series and the US Poker Open. He's now added two more, including an impressive $416,500 first-place prize from the Event #6: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em. He needed less than four hours to accumulate all of the chips on the star-studded final table, earning the top-cash after 87 hands.
"I wanted to prove myself that I can beat the best," Pollak said, and he certainly did. He claimed the largest single prize that has been awarded at the US Poker Open so far, beating a 49-entry competition.
US Poker Open - Event #6: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em results:
|2||Jason Koon||United States||$269,500|
|3||Stephen Chidwick||United Kingdom||$183,750|
|4||Isaac Haxton||United States||$122,500|
|5||Brian Green||United States||$98,000|
|6||Elijah Berg||United States||$73,500|
Pollak made a last-minute decision to fly in for the series and he accepted Daniel Negreanu's $50,000 prop bet on a must-win leaderboard race. He's now second in the standings.
It might still be a long shot at earning some extra money from Negreanu but Pollak can be more than satisfied with his performance. He's already amassed $554,600 during this week in Las Vegas, the city that has treated him well in the past eight months.
Pollak would need a backdoor miracle to fend Stephen Chidwick off from the throne as the English pro keeps piling cash at the top of the leaderboard. Chidwick was also on the final table today (his fourth final appearance in the six completed events at US Poker Open), finishing third to bring his overall festival earnings close to $1 million.
Pollak's victory came in a surprisingly quick fashion. The six-handed final table started with all players guarding deep stacks. Pollak had a great start right off the bat, rising to the chip lead in the first few hands.
Elijah Berg was the first casualty. He raised with ace-king and tangled with Jason Koon who flatted pocket sixes in position. Berg triple-barreled on a low board that saw him river a wheel but Koon himself made a seven-high straight and happily called his hand down to send Berg to the rail. Berg, who works as an ER doctor, said he enjoyed the tough competition, calling the tournament "a really challenging event."
Aside from Koon, it was Brian Green who benefited the most from Berg's early exit. Green fell to a short stack and laddered up the first pay jump before squeeze-shoving with ace-deuce of hearts. Chidwick originally flatted king-eight of diamonds on the button and then closed out the action. He had good odds to call and put Green at risk.
"This is the week of Chidwick," Green knew that he was up against the hottest-running player in the building. The board confirmed his statement as Chidwick hit two kings to dispatch Green in fifth. The quota of two eliminations before the first break was filled once again and the remaining four players continued with big stacks.
Isaac Haxton was the next one to leave the table after playing an interesting pot against Koon. Haxton went for an unconventional three-bet out of the big blind with ace-four, and Koon stuck around with ace-queen. Haxton then barreled a wheel draw on the flop before they both checked the turn. An ace on the river troubled Haxton, who ended up check-calling for all of his chips.
There's no doubt about Haxton being one of the smartest brains that have ever tried to solve the game of poker and he offered his thoughts on the crucial hand that saw him depart in fourth place. "I thought about shoving for value," Haxton explained what was going through his mind on the river. Then he noted that his kicker didn't play and that made him incline to check. "I thought this is the good hand to check-call with and pick some bluffs," he said, noting that he didn't block some of the hands he thought Koon might think to bluff with.
Koon was the driving force on the final table. He was responsible for tackling Chidwick in third place, wounding him with two pair against the top pair and top kicker in a blind-versus-blind spot. Chidwick was left with fewer than three big blinds after the hand but that was something he's been brilliant to deal with throughout the festival.
"I wanted to make this more of a challenge," he joked. This time, however, he wasn't able to climb back from the dust. Koon took the rest of his chips and Chidwick settled for a $183,750 payday. "I've definitely lost any rights to complain for a while," Chidwick said after missing out on a hat-trick.
Koon had a two-to-one lead coming into the heads-up match with Pollak and he kept it through the first part of the battle. The key moment of the duel came on the 73rd hand of the day. On a five-three-deuce flop, Koon had a top pair and an open-ended straight draw while Pollak hit the top two pair. It was inevitable to see the chips go in the middle. While Pollak was ahead, the race was still close to a coin flip.
The jack of hearts on the turn brought an even bigger sweat as Koon had a total of 21 outs to finish Pollak off, almost a half of the cards in the deck. He added a flush draw to his straight draw and could now also win, should the jack hit the river to counterfeit Pollak's two pair. For all the cards that would crown Koon the champion, the eight of spades wasn't one of them.
Pollak took over the chip lead, and while Koon survived his elimination with a tremendous fold of trip aces against Pollak's rivered queens-full, he wasn't meant to claim the chips back. His swan song came when he shoved with king-five and Pollak called with ace-three. As was typical for the heads-up, the flop and turn once again brought many possible scenarios for each of the players.
Koon hit a top pair while Pollak had a flush draw, then Koon added his own flush draw and Pollak added a gutshot in the meantime. The river gave Pollak a nut-flush to finally unravel the drama, allowing him to scoop the first-place prize.
Current US Poker Open Championship Standings:
|1||Stephen Chidwick||United Kingdom||$994,650|
|3||Isaac Haxton||United States||$291,250|
|5||Jason Koon||United States||$269,500|
Hand 87: Koon open-jammed with the for 845,000 and Pollak looked down at the . Pollak took a few moments, counted his stack, used a timebank chip, and made the call.
Koon's cards were live but needed some help. A flop was huge for Koon but Pollak had a flush draw.
The on the turn gave Pollak some more outs and one of the 13 of them hit the river as the peeled off giving Pollak a flush.
Koon received $269,500 for his runner-up finish while Pollak takes home the trophy and a top prize of $416,500.
Hand 85: Benjamin Pollak picked up the and opened to 165,000 getting Jason Koon to fold his big blind with his own .
Hand 86: Pollak limped wit the and Koon checked his . Both players checked down a board and Koon's min-bet of 50,000 took it down
Hand 79: Jason Koon limped with and Benjamin Pollak checked his options with . The flop was checked and Koon took the pot with a 125,000-bet on the turn.
Hand 80: Pollak picked up on the button and he just called. Koon made it 200,000 out of the big blind with and Pollak shoved on him, forcing a quick fold.
Hand 81: Now Koon peeled a strong hand on the button, raising black queens. Unfortunately for him, Pollak had rags and laid his hand down.
Hand 82: Pollak limped in with and folded after Koon shoved with .
Hand 83: Koon now limped with but had to fold when Pollak shoved with .
Hand 84: Finally they went to a flop in a limped pot as Koon checked while Pollak had in position. Pollak flopped a flush on the but Koon didn't pay him a cent.
Hand 75: Jason Koon made it 115,000 to go with the and Benjamin Pollak bumped it up to 265,000 holding the . Koon made the call bringing a flop.
Both players checked and the fell on the turn. Pollak bet 390,000 with his broadway straight and Koon put in a call.
The completed the board and Pollak moved all in. Koon took his time using up his final time bank chip and eventually pressed the fold button.
Hand 76: Pollak opened with the and Koon called holding the . A flop saw Pollak continue for 105,000 and Koon check-called. The fell on the turn and as Koon reached for chips, Pollak tossed his cards into the muck saying "you win."
Hand 77: Koon limped in with the and Pollak checked with the . Koon bet on the flop and Pollak quickly mucked.
Hand 78: Pollak min-raised with the and Koon flatted with the . The flop came down and Pollak bet 115,000 which Koon check-called.
The gave Koon trips on the turn and both players checked. A disastrous hit the river and Koon bet 500,000. Pollak took a moment before raising all in and with just a second left on his clock and no timebank chips a disgruntled Koon made the correct fold.
Hand 71: Jason Koon made it 90,000 with but he folded after Benjamin Pollak three-bet out of the big blind, having five-four offsuit.
Hand 72: Pollak completed with and Koon checked his . Both hit the bottom pair on the flop and Koon check-called 50,000. The turn was checked through and Pollak improved to a better two pair on the river. Koon paid him 75,000 to see that Pollak had him beat.
Hand 73: Koon called with and Pollak peeled . He raised to 155,000 and Koon called in position.
The was an action-packed flop and Pollak continued for 125,000 with his top two pair. Koon made it 300,000 and the ball was back in Pollak's court. Pollak shoved for 1,735,000 million and Koon called right away.
Pollak was only a slight favourite coming to the turn, and the gave Koon extra outs as he could now also win it with a heart or a jack on the river. It was still pretty fair race as Koon sweated a possible victory. The river, however, didn't hurt Pollak as he doubled up.
Hand 74: Pollak raised it up with the and Koon called holding the . Both players checked all the way down on a board and Pollak took it down with a 75,000 bet on the river.
Hand 66: Benjamin Pollak gave Jason Koon a walk.
Hand 67: Koon limped in with the and Pollak checked holding the . Both players checked a flop bringing the on the turn. Two more checks saw the hit the river and Pollak took a shot making a small bet that Koon picked off and took down the pot.
Hand 68: Pollak flatted with the and Koon checked with the . Koon check-called abet of 55,000 when the flop hit the board.
The fell on the turn and both players checked to see the fall on the river. Koon bet 160,000 and Pollak folded.
Hand 69: Koon limped with the and Pollak looked down at the checking his option to a flop. No bets were made and the hit the turn. Pollak bet 55,000 and Koon made the call.
The landed on the river and Pollak check-folded to a bet of 150,000.
Hand 70: Pollak limped with the and Koon checked with his qc7d]. A board was checked all the way down and Pollak took it with his ace-high.
Hand 61: Jason Koon raised to 90,000 with but folded after Benjamin Pollak three-bet to 340,000 with .
Hand 62: Koon received a walk.
Hand 63: Koon just called with and Pollak checked with . Koon hit the top pair on the flop but, unfortunately for him, Pollak open-folded before Koon had a chance to get for any kind of value.
Hand 64: Pollak limped in with and this time it was Koon who checked his . They checked the flop and Pollak scooped the pot with a bet on the turn.
Hand 65: Koon made it 90,000 to go, holding and Pollak flatted a dominated . After both checked the flop, Pollak went for it on the turn, leading 60,000. Koon, however, called and the completed the board. Pollak fired another 300,000 but Koon was tempted. He studied the board and took 90 seconds before making his decision, which ultimately happened to be a fold.