2018 Review – July: Cynn Wins Main Event, Hellmuth Takes Down #15

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If it's July, the poker world is focused on the WSOP Main Event, but Phil Hellmuth and Joe Cada did their best to distract.

Every time the calendar turns to July, the poker world becomes laser-focused on just one thing: the World Series of Poker Main Event. 2018 was no different by Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo and Chris Moorman did everything they could to act as a distraction from poker’s biggest event.

It Seems Everybody Came to Play the WSOP Main Event

Expectations for the field size of the 2018 WSOP Main Event ranged from 7,000 players all the way up to around 8,500. The number ended up being 7,874 – a nine per cent jump over 2017 – thanks in part to a record-setting 4,571 entrants on Day 1C.

The final prize pool ended up being $74,015,600 with $8,800,000 up top.

As the Main Event progressed from Day 1A to the eventual champion, PocketFives caught up with a number of players in the field.

Longtime PocketFiver and sports talk radio host Ben Mintz found himself back in the Main Event for the first time in five years.

“It took five years to build it back, to get to this point. Now I’m back and I’ve got the radio show with me too,” said Mintz. “Even though I haven’t played this in five years I’ve fallen right back into poker like I never left, except I actually have an income now to sustain it.”

READ: WSOP: Ben Mintz is Back Mixin’ It Up in First Main Event Since ‘13

Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have been buying pieces of players in the Main Event for years now. The pair decided to get even more serious about the side business this year and hired a lawyer to draw up contracts for all of the players they bought pieces from. Despite taking it to another level, they still ran into trouble with one player deciding to try and pull a fast one.

READ: WSOP: Piece-Buying Now Serious Business for Hunichen and Kornuth

Clayton Fletcher’s day job isn’t actually a day job – he works night. Fletcher is a New York-based stand-up comedian who has been playing poker for almost his entire life. In July, he put together a deep run in the WSOP Main Event for the second time. In 2015, Fletcher finished 96th in the Main Event. This summer he outlasted all but 27 players on his way to  a $230,475 score. As the Main Event field got smaller and smaller, Fletcher talked about his passion for poker and how he was enjoying another deep run.

READ: WSOP: Clayton Fletcher is More Than Just a Comedian Who Plays Poker

Making the final table of the Main Event can be a real grind for even the most experienced of players. After Day 2 of the 2018 Main Event, Tony Miles felt like he needed to have somebody on his rail to help him what was coming. He had a premonition that he was on the verge of something big, so he called in Jenn Gene. Miles ended up finishing in second and Gene was there the entire way.

READ: WSOP: Tony Miles Had a Feeling, So He Called in Reinforcements

The Main Event final table concluded with one of the longest heads-up battles in WSOP history. In the end, John Cynn defeated Miles to win poker’s most prestigous title and a whopping $8.8 million.

READ: WSOP: John Cynn Beats Tony Miles to Win 2018 Main Event, $8.8M

Phil Hellmuth Captures WSOP Bracelet #15

It’s almost impossible to upstage the pomp and circumstance of the WSOP Main Event, but if there is one player in the 49 year history of the WSOP who could do it, it’s Phil Hellmuth. While the Main Event got to a final table in one of the most talked about hands of the year, Hellmuth was in another room battling against Steven Wolansky for the title in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em (30 minute levels) event. He eventually overcame a 2.5-1 chip defecit to add another bracelet to his collection.

“I said, … ‘When’s the next time you’re going to have an opportunity like this where you’re heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong’, and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards,” said Hellmuth.

READ: WSOP: Nicolas Manion Leads Main Event Final Table, Hellmuth Wins #15

Hellmuth wasn’t the only big name to do big things after being eliminated from the Main Event. 2009 Main Event champion Joe Cada made the Main Event final table, only to bust out in fifth place. He simply marched down the hall, entered the $1,500 Closer event and beat out 3,119 other players to win the fourth bracelet of his career

READ: WSOP: Cada Closes Out Epic Series, $1 Million One Drop Get Underway

Two days later, Justin Bonomo continued his incredible 2018 by winning the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for his third super high roller win of the year. Bonomo beat a final table that included Dan Smith, Byron Kaverman, Rick Salomon and eventual runner-up, Fedor Holz to add $10,000,000 to his lifetime earnings.

Shaun Deeb Leaves Las Vegas in Control of WSOP Player of the Year

Shaun Deeb had himself one helluva time at Poker Summer Camp. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver cashed in 16 WSOP events, winning two and winning over $2.5 million along the way. All of that success put him atop the WSOP Player of the Year standings with just WSOP Europe left to go. Deeb lead the player closest to him, Ben Yu, by 588.02 points.

READ: WSOP: Shaun Deeb Locks Up Player of the Year…For a Few Months