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If the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the pilgrimage that every poker player wishes to make at least once in their life, then playing in the Main Event World Championship is on the bucket list of every serious poker player. The 2018 WSOP witnessed the second-biggest attendance in its history with 7,874 players participating in Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship.
Fielding over the second-biggest Main Event turnout and battling against some of the biggest names in the poker community including Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Shaun Deeb and Bart Lybaert, it was John Cynn who emerged as the 2018 WSOP Main Event Champion. Debuting in the tournament series in 2012, Cynn has come a long way to win his maiden WSOP gold bracelet. And what a win that has been! Not only does Cynn get to take home the huge first place prize money of $8,800,000, increasing his WSOP earnings to $9,512,071, but he also takes away the bragging rights of becoming the new World Championship.
Basking in the glory of his victory, Cynn said in the post-event interview, “Feels very different. I mean really neither is supposed to happen. To make 11th is insane on its own, and to win, that’s literally something that you dream of but you just never expect to happen. Right now I do feel pretty overwhelmed.”
Players from all across the globe were seen in action at the Main Event including a strong Indian contingent of 25 players. From the first two starting flights, Day 1A and 1B, Indian challengers Aditya Sushant, Rohan Dhawan, Kavin Shah, Dharmesh Patel, Rishab Jain and Jaswinder “Bobbe” Suri made it through to Day 2AB, while Day 1C, which was the largest starting flight ever at the WSOP, saw Paawan Bansal, Vivek Rughani, Jaideep Sajwan, Mayank Jaggi, Yudhisther Jaswal, Nikita Luther, Apoorva Goel, Shashank Jain, Kartik Ved, Nishant Sharma, Aditya Agarwal, Akash Malik, Amit Jain, Sriharsha Doddapaneni, Muskan Sethi, Nipun Java, Vikram Kumar, Jasven Saigal and Abhinav Iyer advance to Day 2C.
However, only 11 players made the cut for Day 3 and the number was further reduced to nine runners by the end of the day’s play. Only three Indians made it past Day 4, namely 9stacks qualifiers Nishant Sharma and Vivek Rughani along with Kartik Ved.
The Indian players who made it into the money at the Main Event include Nishant Sharma (34th for $230,475 – ~₹1.58 Crores), Vivek Rughani (88th for $77,695 – ~₹53.47 Lakhs), Kartik Ved (128th for $57,010 – ₹39.24 Lakhs), Jaideep Sajwan (589th for $23,940 – ~₹16.44 Lakhs), Aditya Agarwal (717th for $19,900 – ~₹13.66 Lakhs), Rohan Bhasin (731st for $19,900 – ~₹13.66 Lakhs), Yudhister Jaswal (977th for $15,920 – ~₹10.93 Lakhs), Sriharsha Doddapaneni (1,057th for $15,920 – ~₹10.93 Lakhs) and Apoorva Goel (1,148th for $15,000 – ~₹10.30 Lakhs).
While most the players from the Indian battalion that made it into the money were first-timers, the only Indian to have repeated the feat was the PokerStars Team Pro Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal. Agarwal’s resume at the WSOP is extensive with 40 cashes resulting in winnings of $552,355 (~₹3.78 Crores). One of the pioneers of Indian poker, Agarwal has cashed in seven WSOP Main Events starting from 2007. He continues to be the only Indian to crack the top 100 at the Main Event twice – 2008 (96th for $51,466 – ~₹35.25 Lakhs) and 2015 (71st for $96,445 – ~₹66.06 Lakhs). With seven WSOP Main Event cashes under his belt, Agarwal is fast approaching the record of Berry Johnston who has ten Main Event cashes to his name.
Kartik Ved, a protégé of Agarwal, had entered Day 5 with a comfortable stack of 1,096,000, but his journey ended in 128th place for $57,010 (~₹39.20 Lakhs), as the 9stacks qualifiers Nishant Sharma and Vivek Rughani carried the fight to Day 6 but their runs finished with Sharma placing 34th for $230,475 (~₹1.58 Crores) and Rughani finishing 88th for $77,695 (~₹53.47 Lakhs). However, they created history by not only placing in the top 100, but Sharma became the first Indian ever to make it in the top 50 at the Main Event. Sharma and Rughani’s inspiring runs had re-ignited India’s hopes for winning the World Championship title and even though their dreams ended on Day 6, what they achieved will give a massive boost to the growth of poker in the country.
By the end of Day 7, the nine-handed final table was set up with Nicolas Manion in the chip lead.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Nicolas Manion – 112,775,000
2. Michael Dyer – 109,175,000
3. Tony Miles – 42,750,000
4. John Cynn – 37,075,000
5. Alex Lynskey – 25,925,000
6. Joe Cada – 23,675,000
7. Aram Zobian – 18,875,000
8. Artem Metalidi – 15,475,000
9. Antoine Labat – 8,050,000
Amongst the nine finalists, one of the most prominent names still in the hunt was the 2009 Main Event World Championship winner Joe Cada. Cada is the youngest player in poker history to win the WSOP Main Event and was gunning to win his second World Championship title.
Following the eliminations of Antoine Labat (9th for $1,000,00), Artem Metalidi (8th for $1,250,000) and Alex Lynskey (10th for $1,500,000), the final table came down to six players on Day 8. Three more eliminations of Aram Zobian (6th for $1,800,000), Joe Cada (5th for $2,150,000) and Nicolas Manion (4th for $2,825,000), brought the event down to three-handed play.
1. Tony Miles – 238,900,000
2. John Cynn – 128,700,000
3. Michael Dyer – 26,200,000
Final Day 10 Recap
Day 10 began with Tony Miles in the chip lead with 238,900,000, as John Cynn (128,700,000) and Michael Dyer (26,200,000) were a distant second and third in chips.
Even though the short-stacked Dyer was able to build up his stack for a while but eventually on the 243rd hand of the final table his luck ran out. As Miles raised from the button to 4 Million, Dyer re-raised all-in for 22.2 Million from small blind. Miles called holding against Dyer’s . The flop fell , while the turn strengthened Miles’ lead with a pair, but Dyer had the outs to a broadway draw. The river ended those chances and Michael Dyer was eliminated in third place for $3,750,000.
The heads-up play between Tony Miles and John Cynn lasted for over 11 hours and a record 199 more hands were played before the winner was announced.
On the 442nd hand, Cynn raised to 9 Million and Miles re-raised to 34 Million. Cynn called and the flop was dealt. Miles bet 32 Million and Cynn called again to see the turn . Miles shoved for 114 Million and Cynn tanked for over a minute and called. Cynn tabled against Miles’ . Cynn had trip kings and Miles was drawing dead. With the river card bringing the , it was all over for Tony Miles as John Cynn was declared the new World Champion and took home an impressive payday of $8,800,000 along with his career-first WSOP gold bracelet!
Final Table Results (USD)
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
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com.
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