Breaking Down the Action:
  • Mixed Games Proving Popular
  • Micon Can’t Make It
  • Hellmuth Loses Heads Up

4 Minute Read

Tamon Nakamura won his second USPO event in the first six to take place, beating Phil Hellmuth heads up.

Japanese poker sensation Tamon Nakamura won his second U.S. Poker Open title of the series as he moved into a halfway lead in Las Vegas. Coming back from a chip deficit against 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth heads-up, the impressive Nakamura sealed a second six-figure score out of six events as he took the overall lead in the 2022 U.S. Poker Open.

With a total of 47 entries, the sixth event of the 2022 U.S. Poker Open saw a prizepool of $705,000 gathered in as the $15,000 buy-in was fired in by some of the best players ever to play the game. Phil Hellmuth ran all the way to second, but plenty of poker luminaries missed out on the money, such was the standard.

Players such as Dan Shak, Event #1 winner Shannon Shorr, Ali Imsirovic, John Monnette, Stephen Chidwick, Eli Elezra, Dan Smith, Erik Seidel, Daniel Negrenau and Chris Brewer all fell, while it would eventually be Maxx Coleman who was busted in eighth place when Ben Yu’s won with flush over flush in Stud Hi-Lo to send coleman out on the bubble.

Play restarted on the final day with seven players rather than six, and Yu still had the lead, but Jeremy Ausmus did not and the overnight USPO leader had the misfortune of going out in seventh place for $28,200. Losing out in Limit Hold’em, Ausmus would be the first to head out the door when his king-jack lost out to Yu’s pocket queens.

Micon Can’t Make It

Six players remained, and the battle for the title and potential halfway lead on the overall USPO leaderboard was intense. Nakamura, who came into the final day in last place, managed to make a big double-up through Scott Seiver, which led to the American’s eventual demise in sixth for $42,300. Seiver’s ace-king was well ahead of Damjan Radanov’s ace-ten, but a ten on the flop and turn saw the latter move well ahead. A well-timed check-raise all-in from Radanov saw Seiver hero-call, but the bad news came quick and brutal and he was on the rail.

Nakamura’s good run continued with another double, this time through Bryan Micon, who couldn’t hold with pocket eights against the Japanese player’s ace-queen. A few hands later, Damjan Radanov finished fifth for $56,400, his downfall coming in Omaha 8 or better as Hellmuth made a nut flush and ace-four low to scoop the pot and leave Radanov on the rail.

Bryan Micon had climbed as far as he could on the ladder and busted in fourth place for a result worth $77,550. Micon lost in No Limit Hold’em to Nakamura as queen-eight was no match for the eventual winner’s ace-king of hearts. A ten-high board gave Nakamura the pot and allowed him to pile up 2.1 million chips, some way ahead of Ben Yu (1.35m) but some way behind Phil Hellmuth (3.5m).

Hellmuth Loses Heads Up

Phil Hellmuth wins

Phil Hellmuth.

Nakamura had most of the chips when Hellmuth was all-in for the final time

With three men left, Ben Yu had entered the day as the chip leader but now found himself the short stack. That was something he needed to change, but he was unable to do so in a dramatic hand. All-in with jack-nine against Nakamura’s pocket fives, the flop of K-T-2 kept Yu behind, but the nine on the turn flipped him into the lead with just two outs which could eliminate him.

Sadly for Yu, a five popped up on the river to exactly that, giving him a third-place finish worth $105,750. Nakamura won the hand, and that pot gave him 3.12 million chips, but that amount was still shy of Hellmuth’s chip lead with 3.92 million. Nakamura, however, had the momentum and took the lead shortly after heads-up began.

Stretching his lead in the mixed games, Nakamura had most of the chips when Hellmuth was all-in for the final time with king-seven. The Japanese player needed to hold with ace-three of clubs and did so on the Q-T-T-Q-9 board, giving him the $239,700 top prize and relegating Hellmuth to the position of runner-up, a score of $155,100 coming the Poker Brat’s way.

U.S. Poker Open 2022 Event #6 Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Tamon Nakamura Japan $239,700
2nd Phil Hellmuth U.S.A. $155,100
3rd Ben Yu U.S.A. $105,750
4th Bryan Micon U.S.A. $77,550
5th Damjan Radanov U.S.A. $56,400
6th Scott Seiver U.S.A. $42,300
7th Jeremy Ausmus U.S.A. $28,200


Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in

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