Stephen Chidwick knows the grind of the U.S. Poker Open well. He is, after all, the first and reigning champion of the tournament. Chidwick won two events and made five final tables at last year’s event, totaling $1.2 million in cashes.
This year, he picked up right where he left off, winning the Event #1 of the 2019 U.S. Poker Open and putting himself in contention for back-to-back USPO titles.
Despite his unmatched success in the tournament, he doesn’t feel like there’s a bulls-eye on him.
“I wouldn’t say that. I was very excited to come play. I was looking forward to this for a while,” Chidwick said of coming into this year’s installment of the U.S. Poker Open at the PokerGO Studio inside ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas as a marked man.
His success at the felt during the grueling week of high-stakes action is no mistake. He knows what it takes to grind out twelve hour days on the felt.
Before this year’s USPO started, Chidwick told Poker Central that last year’s event was “one of the most intense weeks of poker I’ve ever played.”
“I’m not sure how much longer I could have lasted at that pace. When it was all over I slept for a really long time,” he said.
The format, Chidwick said, rewards players who can play a variety of different games and show stamina doing so.
“Anyone in the hunt for the overall title has undoubtedly played until the early hours of the morning several times, competing against some of the best players in the world for so many hours in a shorthanded, high-pressure, high-stakes arena definitely takes it out of you,” he said.
Those lessons, Chidwick has learned, can be applied to this year’s event.
“It gets harder and harder as the week progresses so I’m just trying to be in the best frame of mind I can be,” he told Poker Central. “Eating well and getting rest, and doing whatever I can do to make sure I’m as focused as I can be when I’m playing.”
Along with his Event #1 win ($216,000), Chidwick has also cashed two other times (3rd place for $113,750 in Event #3, and 6th place for $25,200 in Event #4) through five events at this year’s U.S. Poker Open. As the year goes on, don’t be surprised to see Chidwick climb from his current fifth place spot among Global Poker Index’s player rankings.