John Cynn Wins 2018 WSOP Main Event
After a marathon day lasting nearly 12 hours, John Cynn outlasted Tony Miles to win the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event. The entire final table spanned 442 hands, with the heads-up match lasting more than 10 hours and a record 199 hands. Much of the final table was focused on Joe Cada, who won the 2009 Main Event and came four spots away from making history by doing it a second time in this era of 6,000-, 7,000-, and 8,000-player Main Events, but what Cynn accomplished was essentially an equal feat: he finished 11th in 2016 before winning this one early this morning.
The closing night of the final table began with just three players remaining, chip counts as follows:
1. Tony Miles – 238,900,000
2. John Cynn – 128,700,000
3. Michael Dyer – 26,200,000
Dyer had been dominating for much of the final table, but got into a funk he just could not extricate himself from on Friday. It looked like he was going to be the third-place finisher and that turned out to be the case. He survived for a while, but eventually ended up all-in with A-T against Miles’ A-J and that was that.
As you can see from the above, Miles had a prohibitive chip lead going into the night, making him the odds-on favorite at the Caesars sportsbook (-225 to win, compared to +180 for Cynn and +1,600 for Dyer). And though Miles knocked Dyer out, it was Cynn who had gotten on a roll on Saturday, finding cards and playing them well. Going into heads-up, Miles had only a slight edge, 203.5 million to 190.3 million.
The lead went back and forth at the beginning of heads-up, a theme which would recur throughout the long, long night. At about 8:00pm (play began at around 5:30pm), Cynn hit a huge hand holding 9-4 when he flopped trip fours and turned a full house. Miles, holding 7-6, rivered a straight and ended up losing a 105.6-million chip pot to his rival. This took Cynn’s stack way up to 247.8 million and sent Miles’ down to 146 million. On the next hand, Cynn built up to a 2-to-1 chip lead.
It was the very next hand, though, that is one of the two that people will be talking about for a while and one which would have gone done in history had Cynn lost.
Cynn had 6-4 and raised to 5 million from the button. With 7-5, Miles called to see a flop of J♦-4♦-3♥. Cynn bet 4.5 million with a pair of 4’s and Miles check-called. The 3♣ came on the turn and Miles checked, Cynn bet 6.5 million, and this time Miles check-raised to 20 million chips. Cynn made the call. The K♦ was dealt on the river, putting a possible flush out there, but of course, nobody had the flush. Cynn had the best hand with just the two pair, 3’s and 4’s. Miles, holding complete air, moved all-in for 95.3 million chips, shocking Cynn.
Cynn tanked for several minutes, lamenting his bet on turn, saying that he should’ve just checked. Watching the ESPN broadcast, Cynn looked like he may have actually sniffed out Miles’ bluff and he called, the tournament would have been over. But with such a weak holding – Cynn even told Miles that his hand was really weak – he couldn’t muster up the courage to make really what might have been the greatest call in WSOP history. Miles stayed alive, though Cynn was still well ahead.
I am not going to get into a million hands of play-by-play. Suffice to say that the two players swapped the lead a few times for the next few hours, though Cynn did appear to be in more control of the action most of the time. He didn’t usually let Miles have the lead for very long.
So let’s advance to the championship hand, the other hand that will have people talking for some time.
A few hands earlier, Miles cracked aces with T-8 to narrow wide had been a large gap just a bit, but after a night of bold moves and well-timed bluffs, he finally stuck his hand in the wrong cookie jar.
Cynn began the hand with 213.8 million chips to Miles’ 180 million. Blinds were 2 million/4 million and the ante was 500,000. On the button with K♣-J♣, Cynn raised to 9 million and Miles re-raised to 34 million with Q♣-8♥. Cynn made the call to bring on a wonderful flop for him: K♥-K♦-5♥. Miles acted first, betting 32 million. After pondering his move for a minute, Cynn called. The turn was a disaster for Miles, an 8♦, giving him a pair. It didn’t take him long to say he was all in for his last 114 million chips.
Phil Hellmuth, sitting in on the telecast, immediately said it was all over, but Cynn needed to think it about it, especially considering how exhausted he had to have been. He thought out loud, even saying the hand he had and promising Miles he wasn’t slow rolling, that he just needed to think about it with a fried brain. After a few minutes of tanking (frustrating some fans who felt making the call with trip kings heads-up should have been much easier), Cynn made the call and it was all over.
John Cynn, who came just ten spots away from winning two years ago, is the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event champion!
2018 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Results
1. John Cynn – $8,800,000
2. Tony Miles – $5,000,000
3. Michael Dyer – $3,750,000
4. Nicolas Manion – $2,825,000
5. Joe Cada – $2,150,000
6. Aram Zobian – $1,800,000
7. Alex Lynskey – $1,500,000
8. Artem Metalidi – $1,250,000
9. Antoine Labat – $1,000,000
Lead image credit: ESPN