Tony Miles

Tony Miles Turns the Tables, Takes Complete Control of 2018 WSOP Main Event Final Table

Here we are. Tonight is the last night of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event. By tomorrow morning, one of three people will have a whole new life ahead of him, to be forever known as a the champion of the poker world. And right now, it very much looks like it could be Utah’s Tony Miles, who went from “yeah, he’s doing alright – he’s certainly had a great run” to planet destroyer. Going into Friday night, it was Michael Dyer who was untouchable and who kept running away with it well into the evening, but suddenly things changed and Miles took off, leaving everyone in his dust while Dyer goes into Saturday just hoping to hang on.

Here are what the chip counts looked like to begin the second day of final table play:

1. Michael Dyer – 156,500,000
2. Nicolas Manion – 72,250,000
3. John Cynn – 61,550,000
4. Tony Miles – 57,500,000
5. Joe Cada – 29,275,000
6. Aram Zobian – 16,700,000

Dyer was in complete control, using his stack to push around his opponents. He wasn’t like Qui Nguyen, just playing any two cards, but he had the freedom of playing a lot of hands while at the same time making excellent reads and essentially chipping up at will. He continued to build his stack, seeming in particular to take advantage of former chip leader Nicolas Manion, as he eventually eclipsed the 200 million chip mark.

One of the pots he won gave us the first elimination of the night Aram Zobian was short and needed to make a move. He decided to YOLO and go for it with 6♦-8♦ and was called by Dyer and his A♥-8♣. The board brought no surprises and Zobian was out in sixth place.

Joe Cada Makes History, but Not HISTORY

In the meantime, 2009 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Cada was still in it, looking to achieve the unthinkable, winning two Main Events in poker’s modern era. He was the short stack at that point, doing okay, but he definitely needed to find a chunk of chips. In one fascinating hand, he got into a bluff-off with John Cynn, both only having overcards to the board. Cynn blinked first, allowing Cada to stay confident.

But at around quarter after seven in Las Vegas, Cada’s run came to a quick end. Holding pocket tens, Cada open-raised to 2.2 million chips (blinds were 500,000/1,000,000). Miles, with A-K, three-bet to 6.9 million. After some thought, Cada decided to shove his entire stack of 47.6 million chips into the middle. Miles tanked for a full five minutes, even telling his tablemates, “I’m going to need a minute here.”

He clearly had a good read on what Cada had, since it seemed like his decision was based on whether or not he wanted to flip for what could basically be his tournament. At that point, Miles didn’t have many more chips than Cada. Miles finally made the call, probably thinking that if he wanted to win the tournament, he needed to take this chance to grab a boatload of chips.

A king came on the flop and though the turn brought a straight draw for Cada, the river didn’t help and Cada was eliminated in fifth place. That pot took Miles’ stack over 100 million, easily in second place, but still well behind the 167 million of Dyer at the time.

Tony Miles
Photo credit: WSOP.com/Jamie Thomson

Tony Miles Initiates Michael Dyer’s Downward Spiral

That was the first turning point of the night. The second was at around 8:00 pm.

With Dyer at about 200 million chips and Miles around 115 million, the two big stacks tussled. Cynn raised to 2.1 million under the gun, Miles called with 3-3 on the button, and Dyer called with 3-4 in the big blind. It looked like any other hand.

The flop, though, came down K♠-4♥-3♠, giving Miles a set and Dyer two pair (by the way, Dyer was flopping two pair all night to the point that it became a running joke on the ESPN telecast). Dyer and Cynn checked, followed by a 4.3 million chip bet from Miles. Miles had to be beaming inside when Dyer then raised to 14.3 million. Cynn folded and Miles called. The 5♣ was dealt on the turn and Miles bet 21.4 million. Dyer called. The K♣ came on the river, counterfeiting Dyer’s two pair. He checked and Miles bet 27 million. Surprisingly, perhaps thinking Miles may have missed a draw, Dyer instantly called, handing over a massive pot – and the chip lead – to Miles.

The tournament went on break with Miles holding 182.6 million chips, followed by Dyer (130 million), Manion (48 million), and Cynn (33.3 million).

From there, it was all Miles and, interestingly, Cynn, who to that point, had not been able to get on track. In one crucial hand, Cynn had J♣-T♣ and Manion had Q♥-J♥. They were basically bluffing at each other the whole way, but Cynn hit a flush on the river. When Manion put Cynn all in for his last 11 million chips, Cynn easily called and won, doubling up. Reactions on poker message boards were that Manion played it horribly, but then again, had the river not brought a third club, Manion would have looked like a genius, sniffing out the bluff when he himself had nothing.

In the meantime, Dyer couldn’t get anything done. Whereas the day before and in the beginning of Friday he made all the right moves, it seemed that after the big hand with Miles he got picked off left and right. Both Miles and Cynn, in particular, were taking chip after chip from Dyer.

At around 11:30 pm, a short-stacked Manion doubled through Dyer, sending Dyer’s stack down below 50 million. Remember, he was up over 200 million earlier, looking like he was well on his way to the title.

The night finally ended around 12:30 am when Manion, who had been in desperation mode for a long time, moved all in over the top with A-T after Cynn raised with K-K. No Aces arrived and Manion was eliminated in fourth place.

That sets up Saturday’s finale with Tony Miles, he of $52,000 in lifetime tournament earnings, with about 61 percent of the chips at the table, while Michael Dyer, who was earlier manipulating the table as he pleased, has just 16 big blinds.

Action will pick up at 5:30 pm Pacific time with the ESPN telecast beginning a half-hour later.

2018 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Tony Miles – 238,900,000
2. John Cynn – 128,700,000
3. Michael Dyer – 26,200,000

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