An epic 10-hour battle between two World Series of Poker players has ended in spectacular fashion with one claiming a prize pool worth over $12 million.
Surrounded by bricks of hundred dollar bills and a cheering crowd, John Cynn won the series’ marquee no-limit Texas Hold ’em main event in Las Vegas.
The match dealt an incredible 442 hands on the final table, including an incredible 199 hands, between the remaining two players.
Cynn emerged victorious from the poker marathon and immediately grabbed his head and momentarily crouched after being overcome with emotion.
“Right now, I do feel pretty overwhelmed,” Cynn said.
“The money is very significant, but I do like to think that I don’t need the money to be happy, but at the same time, practically, it’s going to make things a lot easier, things I want to do in life.”
He told reporters that the money will be “life-changing” but does not have immediate plans to spend it.
His opponent, Tony Miles, a resident of Lake Mary, Florida, took home $6.7 million for his efforts. He hugged many of his supporters after his defeat and shed some tears off stage.
Cynn’s final king of clubs and jack of clubs was stronger than Miles’, who went all in with queen of clubs and eight of hearts. The community cards were king of hearts, king of diamonds, five of hearts, eight of diamonds and four of spades.
Each of the nine players who made it to the final table was guaranteed at least $1.34 million. They represented the U.S., Australia, France and Ukraine.
The famed tournament this year drew more than 7,800 players who either risked $13,500 or earned a seat through satellite competitions with lower buy-ins.
The series as a whole has attracted a record 123,838 entrants this year, surpassing last year’s record of 120,995 with one event still left.
Cynn, had previously cashed at various series tournaments and barely missed the main event’s final table two years ago, when he finished in 11th place and won $875,000.
This year, he started play on the last night of the final table as the player with the second-most chips with 128.7 million.
“Different. Feels very different,” Cynn said, when asked about his 2016 and 2018 main event results.
“I mean, really, neither is supposed to happen. To make 11th is insane on its own, and then to win, that’s literally something that you like dream of but you just never expect to happen.
“Last time, when I got knocked out in 11th, I was really happy.”
Earlier in the night, Miles bluffed Cynn off the better hand when he shoved 95.3 million chips, going all-in. Cynn took about three minutes before folding. The broadcast showed Cynn had two pair — including a pair of threes on the board. Miles essentially had nothing, yet he reached 154.9 million chips after taking the pot.
About 90 hands later, Miles again went all in. He pushed 74 million chips, and Cynn eventually called. When they rolled over their cards, Miles ended with triple sixes, while Cynn had two pair, including a pair of sixes on the board. Miles increased his stack to 182 million at that point.
“After the disappointment of losing, which there is some — I’m going to be honest — subsides, I’m sure I’ll be very happy that I’ll be able to help my family and do some travelling and some stuff that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Miles told PokerNews.com after the tournament ended.
“It truly is a blessing to be here.”
Miles and Cynn had dozens of supporters cheering them on in the ballroom hosting the event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino near the Las Vegas Strip. The supporters sported T-shirts that read #TEAMMILES and Welcome to Cynn City.
with Associated Press.