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  1. Most poker players would consider finishing 11th in the World Series of Poker Main Event to be an amazing accomplishment. Maybe not in the moments following their elimination, but eventually they’d accept what they did as something special. For the last two years, John Cynn has allowed his 2016 11th place finish to be his career-best score. Sunday morning, however, following an epic heads-up battle with Tony Miles, Cynn changed all of that by winning the 2018 WSOP Main Event and walking away with $8.8 million. “Different. Feels very different,” Cynn said when asked to compare his emotions from each event. “I mean, neither of these are supposed to happen, right? To make 11th was insane on its own and to win, that's literally something that you dream but you never expect to happen. I think last time, when I got knocked out in 11th, I was really happy. Right now I do feel pretty overwhelmed, all of the emotions times ten.” Winning the fifth largest Main Event prize in the 49-year history of the WSOP, Cynn is well aware of how that money is going to change his life. “I don't know what people's impression of me was, but I'm not doing bad but I'm not rich, so the money is very significant, but I do like to think that I don't need the money to be happy,” Cynn said. “At the same time, practically, it's going to make things a lot easier, things I want to do in life, things for my family and parents.” He did have some more immediate plans for spending some of his winnings though. “I might use some of it to party with my friends, but other than that I think I'm going to let my emotions die down before I decide to do anything crazy, probably just get away, disappear somewhere for a while sounds nice,” Cynn said. For his part, Miles recognized what the 10-day run in poker’s most prestigious event showed him about himself as a person and a poker player. “You can do anything you put your mind to,” Dyer said. “Well in poker, you just want to be prepared and be in the best state of mind and you want to be able to execute all the time because you don't know when you're going to get the run of cards. You don't know when you're going to have an opportunity to strike, so you just have to be prepared all the time.” When the final three players returned to action Saturday night, Miles held the chip lead, Cynn had the second biggest stack and former chip leader Michael Dyer was working with the shortest stack of the three. Michael Dyer Eliminated in Third Place Michael Dyer came into the final day with just 16 big blinds and built his strategy around finding a spot to double or steal the blinds and ante. He was all in without a call on five of the first 180 hands of play, but it was the sixth all in on the 19th hand that ended Dyer’s night. Miles raised to 4,400,000 from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"] and Dyer responded by moving all in for 22,200,000. Cynn folded and Miles called. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop didn’t offer Dyer much help, but the [poker card="jc"] turn actually increased his available outs. The [poker card="qh"] river didn’t fill Dyer’s Broadway draw and he was eliminated in third place. “I wanted a little more, but it was pretty good. I can’t complain. Third place, that’s more than you can dream from when you start the tournament,” Dyer said. That had allowed Miles to reclaim the chip lead he had lost just two hands prior and was now sitting on a stack of 203,500,000 to Cynn’s 190,300,000. The Heads Up Marathon In the modern era of the WSOP Main Event, the longest final table belonged to 2012 when Greg Merson needed 399 hands to win. Dyer was eliminated on hand #243 and over the next 10 hours and 23 minutes, Cynn and Miles played 199 hands on their own, put the total for the final table at 442. The lead changed over a dozen times during the course of heads-up action. Tony Miles Eliminated in Second Place With blinds of 2,000,000/4,000,000 (500,000), Cynn raised to 9,000,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] and Miles responded 34,000,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="8h"]. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="5h"] and Cynn called Miles’ bet of 32,000,000. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] and Miles moved all in for 114,000,000. Cynn thought the hand through and called, giving Miles the bad news that he was drawing dead. The [poker card="4s"] river completed the board, eliminated Miles in second place and crowned Cynn as the new Main Event champion. Final Table Payouts John Cynn - $8,800,000 Tony Miles - $5,000,000 Michael Dyer - $3,750,000 Nicolas Manion - $2,825,000 Joe Cada - $2,150,000 Aram Zobian - $1,800,000 Alex Lynskey - $1,500,000 Artem Metalidi - $1,250,000 Antoine Labat - $1,000,000
  2. In what felt like a flash, the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event suddenly just has 310 players left with Barry Hutter standing on top of the entire field. Sunday's play started with 1,182 players all still hoping to become World Champ, but over 5.5 two-hour levels of play, 872 players were shown the door. Hutter managed to do some damage on Day 4 and ended up bagging nearly six million and the chip lead. Four former #1-ranked PocketFivers managed to advance to Day 5 with Shaun Deeb ending with the highest chip count at 2,175,000. Cliff Josephy (1,985,000), Paul Volpe (1,070,000) and Chris Moorman (907,000) are also still alive. Kelly Minkin Makes a Big Call For Top 10 Stack A key moment for Kelly Minkin came late in Level 19. Faced with a decision for roughly 60% of her stack, Minkin eventually managed to call her opponent's all in river bet and tabled a paired king for second pair - good enough to beat Ivan Galinec's flopped third pair. Minkin finished Day 4 with 3,459,000, good enough for the sixth-largest stack. The Demise of Phil Ivey All eyes, including those of the viewers watching at home on ESPN, were on Phil Ivey on Sunday. The 10-time bracelet winner started the day with a decent size stack and was at one of the ESPN secondary feature tables. Ultimately, Ivey was unable to navigate his way through Sunday's landmines. Ivey raised to 22,000 from middle position before Brian Altman made it 75,000 to go from late position. After the blinds folded, Ivey called. The flop came [qc][js][2s] and Ivey checked. Altman bet 60,000 and Ivey called. The [8s] turn got both players to check. The river was the [3d] and Ivey checked to Altman who bet 195,000. Ivey moved all in for 629,000 total and Altman tank-called and showed [qs][jc] for top two pair while Ivey flashed pocket nines before exiting the Amazon Room. More Than Just Ivey Though Scattered throughout the bustouts on Sunday were a number of prominent players including former World Champions, the start-of-day chip leader, European Poker Tour champion and a number of other familiar faces. 357. Mustapha Kanit - $33,305 367. Darren Elias - $33,305 379. Liv Boeree - $33,305 400. In Sun Geoum - $33,305 409. Jonathan Duhamel - $33,305 424. Frank Flowers - $29,625 428. Dominik Panka - $29,625 492. Kristen Bicknell - $26,535 541. Todd Brunson - $23,940 543. Jessica Dawley - $23,940 547. Phil Ivey - $23,940 612. Johnny Chan - $21,750 685. Eugene Katchalov - $19,900 814. Patrik Antonius - $18,340 910. Maria Konnikova - $17,025 982. Jamie Kerstetter - $15,920 Top 10 Chip Counts Barry Hutter - 5,597,000 Alexander Haro - 5,031,000 Brian Altman - 4,861,000 Andres Jeckeln - 4,506,000 Hari Bercovici - 3,510,000 Kelly Minkin - 3,459,000 Franklin Azevedo - 3,410,000 Ubaid Habib - 3,300,000 Nicholas Newport - 3,269,000 Krasimir Yankov - 3,264,000 Action resumes at 11 am PT with players expected to play another 5.5 levels.
  3. Martin Sejer was the last 888poker qualifier left in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event before his opponent rivered a king to send him back to Copenhagen, Denmark with $57,010 and a story. As the official satellite partner of the WSOP, 888poker sent XXX qualifiers this year. Each has their own story of how they qualified. Sejer's might be the shortest. "I qualified for $109. One try, and I'm not kidding. I put $150 in the account and then I played up to the last stage of $150 for the $109 and then won the $1,050 and got the package," said Sejer, moments after being eliminated in 159th place. Sejer didn't win the package and then just book his flights though. The biggest tournament he'd played in before this summer was a $1,500 buy-in event. He wanted to be prepared for the Main Event so he reached out to Danish poker pro Jannick Wrang three months ago. "He's been coaching me every week and I'm thinking that helped me a lot because I've played two tournaments here in Vegas and the last one was the $888 and I was top 200 in that one also, out of almost 7,800," said Sejer. A personal trainer back home, Sejer managed to avoid the pitfalls that Las Vegas can offer tourists and stayed focused on the task at hand. "I don't really drink that much alcohol anyway, so I don't go out partying. I go to the gym every day," said Sejer. "I do yoga and meditation right now every morning instead of going hard with physical weight training. But I'm training just to be in shape and have a blast and feel good." As each day ended with Sejer bagging chips, he couldn't help but remember all the hours he's spent watching the WSOP on ESPN since he first started playing poker. "It's been like a dream. I've only been playing for 10.5 years and I've been watching this every year during the summer," said Sejer. "Up until the Main Event, I've been watching YouTube videos and just been seeing so much poker the last year." Even though he didn't quite turn his $109 into $8.8 million, Sejer was happy with the way he played and enjoyed the total experience. "I just played my A-game and tried to be a bit goofy and pushing people, raising up funny hands from positions and see if they want to answer back," said Sejer. A deep run in the Main Event for a longtime poker fan wouldn't quite be complete with some on the main stage and the ESPN broadcast. Just after Monday's dinner break, Sejer got himself mic'd up to sit and play at the same table as Antonio Esfandiari while ESPN broadcast it live around the world. The net profit of over $55,000 was nice and allows Sejer to upgrade an upcoming Greek vacation for him and his family to something a little bit more extravagant, but that's not the single biggest takeaway for him from this trip. "I think it's going to be the people here that I remember the most. It's been really nice. Most of the people here are really, really at the tables, good energy - especially around the bubble time," said Sejer. "It was nice to see people could be so good to each other even while still being competitive. It's been a really nice success."
  4. After all the madness that was a record-setting Day 1C of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, a rather modest 2,453 players made their way back to the Rio for Day 2AB. Just a little more than half - 1,244 to be exact - of those players managed to find a bag with chips in it at the end of the night after another five levels of play. Leading the way is California's Shawn Daniels who built his stack from 84,200 to a 532,000. Daniels was one of just five players to end the day with more than a half-million chips. Sean Ruane, younger brother of former November Niner and last year's 10th place finisher Michael Ruane, ended the day with 361,400. Some of the more well-known players to bag chips on Thursday incldued Ben Yu (311,000), Jason Strasser (283,900), Darryll Fish (278,800), Chris Klodnicki (266,900), Marvin Rettenmaier (256,400), Darren Elias (240,700), Mustapha Kanit (235,800) and Shaun Deeb (218,300). Michael Mizrachi Rides Roller Coaster All Day Long Over the first two days of play, poker fans at home have been tuning in to watch Michael Mizrachi play his aggressive style and he's rewarded them. Mizrachi finished Day 2AB with 62,500 after a day that the four-time WSOP bracelet winner described as frustrating. "I was playing a lot of pots, but I couldn't get anything going. All my big starting hands lost, which I didn't have many but every one I had couldn't hold or I got out-flopped," said Mizrachi. Mizrachi, who has cashed in the Main Event three times over the course of his career, knows that his strategy needs to change when he comes back for Day 3. "The first two days I'll play a lot more hands as I get a feel for the table and I can take those risks. The blinds are so small, so you try to flop hands and bust people and build a big, huge stack, so I'm prepared for Day 3, Day 4, Day 5," said Mizrachi. "Now, Day 3 is a totally different gameplan. I've got to just sit back and wait for good spots, look for the weaker players and attack them when you're in position. I've got to be patient." Not Everybody Found a Bag - Some Found the Exit There were some players who unfortunately saw their run at hte $8.8 million first place prize money come to an end on Day 2AB. Included in that group were David Tuchman, Dan Smith, Justin Bonomo, John Hesp, Erik Seidel, Joe Hachem, Tony Dunst, Andre Akkari, and Antoine Saout, Top 10 Day 2AB Chip Counts Shawn Daniels - 532,500 Eric Liebeler - 531,000 Samuel Bernabeu - 524,000 Michael Dyer - 502,400 Casey McCarrel - 501,800 Brian Borne - 496,000 Frank Bonacci - 486,300 David Cabrera Polop - 483,800 Smain Mamouni - 481,500 Mohamed Mokrani - 480,000 Galen Hall Goes from Retiree to Bracelet Winner The $888 Crazy Eights event was supposed to end on Tuesday, but the final three players decided to bag up their chips and return to play on Thursday to give each of them a chance to play Main Event Day 1C. Turned out to be a pretty good decision for Galen Hall. The now-retired poker pro started with the chip lead and finished off his final two competitors to win the first bracelet of his career. “I thought I definitely had an edge today. On Tuesday, after a whole long day of play, it's just harder to switch things up. People are a little tired, and I thought I had a good read on what was going on," said Hall. "Today, I had to scale it back for the first 30 minutes or so to see – a lot of times players will get coaching, or they get rest, they change their style a little bit if there's time off. Luckily, I ran hot, so it didn't matter.” Hall added $888,888 to his lifetime earnings which now pushes him past the $5,000,000 mark. It took a little bit more than 90 minutes for Hall to best Niels Herregodts in third and Eduards Kudrjavcevs in second. Hall won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2011 but has spent less and less time playing poker over the last few years, focusing on his career as a hedge fund manager. Final Table Payouts Galen Hall - $888,888 Eduards Kudrjavcevs - $476,888 Niels Herregodts - $355,888 Andrey Zaichenko - $266,888 Alexander Kuzmin - $201,888 Jeremiah Miesen - $153,888 Martin Stausholm - $117,888 Philip Tom - $90,888
  5. The moments immediately after the World Series of Poker Main Event reaches a final table are all kinds chaotic for the nine players who have just become millionaires. ESPN needs some interviews on live television and WSOP executives are giving instructions how the next day will go and photographers are trying to coordinate a group shot and the media on hand are trying to grab quick interviews and the players have to confirm their chip count with the dealer and bag up their chips. It can be, to say the least, overwhelming. On Wednesday night, after all of that madness subsided, after the railbirds had left and the camera crew had turned off the lights on the ESPN mothership, Tony Miles, the last of the nine 2018 final tablists to leave, sat in the five seat while Jenn Gene, a friend of eight years, sat next to him in the six seat. The conversation between the two lasted two, maybe three minutes and ended with a hug. “We just took a moment,” Gene says. Gene met Miles at a poker tournament at Isle Casino at Pompano Beach, Florida. Just a recreational player, Gene ended up seated at the same table as Miles, who was just starting to play professionally at the time. “We just had one of those connections where you just meet someone cool and there's a lot of great people in poker, but when you find someone super special, you just connect,” Gene says. “I came home and told my husband, ‘I met this really great guy tonight’. He said, ‘Invite him over for dinner’. Tony came and grilled with us and here we are eight years later.” Miles remembers that first meeting as well and was taken aback by a random act of kindness from this stranger sitting across the table from him. “She offered me a scarf for my legs because it was so cold in the room,” Miles says. “I’m pretty good at reading people, I knew she was a good person and then she invited me over for dinner and offered to do my laundry and she’s great.” Gene’s kids, age 3 and 5, have also taken to Miles and made him an unofficial member of the family. “My kids call him Uncle Tony,” Gene says. “He's been Facetiming with them. He Facetimed with them tonight and my five-year-old said, ‘Why are you still playing so long?’ He just kind of laughed and said, ‘We'll be home soon. I'll send Mom home.’” Since that day at Pompano, Miles and Gene have shared a lot of moments, some good, some bad. Anybody who has tuned into the ESPN broadcast over the past several days has heard a little bit about the personal struggles Miles has faced. The 32-year-old has beaten drug and alcohol addictions and throughout all of that, Miles’s family and friends stayed by his side and supported the fight, Gene included. “I mean it's a very challenging thing to go through as a friend, especially when you know someone whose heart is as good as his is and what an incredible person he is. And just to see him struggle is challenging,” Gene admits. “It's really hard to show someone your core and be okay with it, but his core is so good that he just needed to see that in himself. He needed to be reminded and I'm lucky that he was surrounded by a great family and some really awesome friends that stuck by him through that and knew that it was just a period and that he would beat it.” Gene made her way out to Las Vegas after a phone call with Miles on Monday night. Miles, who was one of 25 qualifiers that bestbet Jacksonville sent to the Main Event this year, told her that he had a feeling that he was about to go on a really deep run and he asked her if there was any way she could come and support him from the rail. Gene didn’t think she’d be able to pull it off with two young kids at home and a full-time job. “The next day my husband said, ‘You're leaving today, Tony needs you there. Get on the plane’,” Gene says. She flew out and joined Miles’ rail along with his mom, step-dad, brother, and grandparents. At that point, there was still over 100 players in the Main Event and while that might seem like it’s close to the end, it’s actually just the halfway point of the 10-day tournament. The final table was still days away but Miles realized he was playing well and wanted those closest to him to be there. “I think it was just a feeling that I was just kind of seeing things in a different light. I had a broader perspective when I was playing hands with my strategy. So that feeling was just a feeling of confidence,” Miles says. After arriving in Las Vegas, Gene understood what Miles meant about that feeling he had, but it had less to do with any strategic adjustments he was making and more to do with the attitude and the manner in which he approached every day. “His skill isn't what's got him here. I'm happy putting that in writing because it's true. I think it's his heart. I think it's his determination, his courage, his strength,” Gene says. “He's playing from a place of gratitude. He's playing from a place of, ‘I'm blessed just to be here another day. I'm thankful to be here. I am appreciative of these amazing players around me’. I mean who says that at the final table?” This isn’t the first time Gene has been in Las Vegas supporting Miles during the WSOP. She was in town last year and a quick search for Miles’ 2017 results shows no tournament success. He took the time after the summer wrapped up to take a vacation and once he got back, Gene saw that the trip gave him new energy and maybe a different perspective. “He had gone through a tough period and he went on this incredible trip to Australia and had some really cool life moments and I remember having a conversation with him like ‘This is it. Things have changed. This is it, this is the year’,” Gene says. “I don't think either of us knew what that meant poker-wise, I think it was just ‘Wow, look where we've been, look where we're going, put the past behind us, and take everything one day at a time.” Miles took the chip lead on Friday night and returns to the table with just two opponents standing between himself and the $8.8 million first-place prize money and the title of World Champion. His rail, which swelled to include other family and friends who flew out on Thursday, the day the final table started, is decked out in shirts with #TeamMiles on the back and ‘One Day at a Time’ on the front. Miles asked Gene to help him pick the slogan for the front of the shirt and rejected the first couple of suggestions before throwing out ‘One Day at a Time’. “He said, ‘That's it. That's it. This tournament has been one day at a time. Every day of my life is one day at a time and if I don't take this opportunity to start opening up the platform to people to show them that you can get knocked down seven times and get back up on the eighth, then I wouldn't be doing myself justice’,” Gene says. Miles, who is now two years clean, is conscious of and has embraced that idea that other people that have dealt with or are dealing with the throes of addiction are finding inspiration in what he’s managed to accomplish, no matter how Saturday night turns out. “Any time you’re struggling, you just have to take life one day at a time. Especially when you’re down in the depths of despair. You just have to keep that mindset that you just have to get through that day and focus on that,” Miles says. “I’ve been meditating a lot and a big focus of the meditation is to be present and not stress about the future, not worry about the past and I think that our shirts are a reflection of that.” Even as Miles has recently faced even more adversity, including the passing of his step-mother in June, he’s rejected any notion of being angry at the world. Instead, he’s turned his energy to becoming a better person, but even that is a process. “Love wins. Love conquers. If someone's being mean to you, kill them with kindness. It's just been an epiphany that I've had in the last six months that I just want to be kind to everyone,” Miles says. “It's been a combination of different factors, but I had to be humble enough to realize that I wanted to be a better person.” Even before Miles wrapped up play Friday night with almost 61% of the chips in play, Gene believed that everything her friend had gone through in life and the way the tournament had progressed for him was leading up to something special. “Honestly, I think it was written in the stars for him,” Gene says. “I just think it is. I think it's his time. I think these were some incredible players. I think he's met some great people, in the last few days and I just think it's his time.”
  6. Michael Dyer started Day 9 of the World Series of Poker Main Event with nearly 40% of the chips in play with just five opponents standing between him and $8.8 million and the title of World Champion. After six hours of play on Friday night, just three players remain but Dyer is suddenly staring up from the bottom of the chip counts after a day that saw Florida-based poker pro Tony Miles take control. Miles went 57,500,000 and the fourth biggest stack at the start of play to 238,900,000 and the chip lead after eliminating a former world champ and putting a major dent in Dyer’s stack. Aram Zobian Eliminated in Sixth Place The shortest stack at the start of Day 9, Aram Zobian was still guaranteed at least $1.8 million but cem in hoping for more. A blind versus blind battle, however, ended any hope he had of laddering up on Friday night. With blinds of 500,000/1,000,000 (150,000), action folded to Zobian in the small blind and he moved all in for 1,735,000 with [poker card="8d"][poker card="6d"] and Dyer called from the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2h"][poker card="7h"][poker card="th"] to eliminate Zobian from the tournament in sixth place. Following his bustout, Zobian talked about what the overall experience of making the final table of the Main Event and how a score that big will change things for him. “I would say it was intense, fun and amazing. I met a lot of people, I played a shit ton of hands, considering it was Level 38, 76 hours in the last few days,” said Zobian. “It will change my life significantly. I don't think I'll go too crazy, but I'll definitely do a lot of traveling, buy a nice new car, help out family, donate some to charity and just improve my overall quality of life.” Joe Cada Eliminated in Fifth Place In the modern era of the WSOP Main Event, a repeat winner seems almost impossible. Navigating through 7,000+ player fields once is difficult enough and doing it a second time didn’t seem possible until 2009 Main Event champ Joe Cada made this year’s final table. All of that came to a halt though thanks to a coin flip situation. From UTG, Cada raised to 2,200,000 with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] before Miles three-bet to 6,900,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. Cada responded by moving all in for 47,650,000 and after spending several minutes contemplating his decision, Miles called. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"] flop put Miles ahead with a pair of kings, but the [poker card="qd"] turn gave Cada straight outs. The river [poker card="9s"] paired the board and left Cada pondering what could have been and a fifth-place finish. Tony Miles Takes the Chip Lead from Michael Dyer About 45 minutes after eliminating Cada, Miles put his newfound chips to work against Dyer. John Cynn raised to 2,100,000 from UTG with, Miles called from the button with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3h"] and Dyer called from the big blind with [poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"]. After the [poker card="ks"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3s"] flop, Dyer and Cynn checked and Miles bet 4,300,000. Dyer check-raised to 14,300,000, Cynn folded and Miles called. The turn was the [poker card="5c"] and Dyer bet 21,400,000 and Miles called again. Dyer then checked after the [poker card="kc"] river and Miles be 27,400,000 and Dyer called instantly. That put pushed Miles into the chip lead with 182,625,000 to Dyer’s 129,950,000 and dramatically changed the dynamic of the table. Nicolas Manion Eliminated in Fourth Place At one point on Friday, Nicolas Manion started to make a valiant charge towards Michael Dyer’s chip lead but after losing 25% of his stack in a hand with Dyer and another 50% of his remaining stack to John Cynn, Manion was left scrambling. A final confrontation with Cynn would end up being the end of his tournament. Cynn opened from the button to 3,800,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] before Manion moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="td"] and Cynn called. Manion found no double-up on the [poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="6h"] run out and he was eliminated in fourth place, ending play for the night. “What a long day. Had some good hands, had some bad hands here we are we ran out of luck,” Canion said. “I have no regret on how I played my hands. I picked my spots and chose the hands that I felt were the right place to get all in and this is what happens when you run ace-ten into kings. Sometimes you can't just run like god anymore.” Final Three Chip Counts Tony Miles - 238,900,000 John Cynn - 128,700,000 Michael Dyer - 26,200,000 Action resumes Saturday at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast beginning at 6 pm PT.
  7. One day after a power outage wreaked havoc on the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, the remaining 109 players returned to action and continued with a breakneck pace of eliminations with 83 more players being shown their way to the cashier while just 26 remain in contention for the $8.8 million first-place prize. Aram Zobian finished Day 6 with 41,585,000 and the overall chip lead. That lead could have been much larger had he not lost a massive pot to Ukrainian Artem Metalidi with ace-king versus kings. Metalidi finished with the second largest stack thanks largely to that hand. Metalidi wound up with 30,845,000. France's Antoine Labat spent a good chunk of the day with the chip lead and finished with 28,445,000, good enough for the third biggest stack. Joe Cada remains in contention for a second Main Event title after surviving Day 6 with 8,850,000. Sylvain Loosli is also looking for the second Main Event final table appearance of his career, bagging up 11,635,000 at the end of the night. Included in the 83 players who were eliminated on Tuesday were Shannon Shorr, James Obst, Brian Yoon, Kelly Minkin, Stefan Huber and New Jersey's own Michael Lavenburg. Shaun Deeb, the last remaining former #1-ranked PocketFiver in the field, was also eliminated, finishing in 105th place for a $57,010 score and the 13th of his summer. Deeb has now managed to cash in the Main Event three times during his career. Clayton Fletcher's elimination in 28th place was supposed to draw play to a close on Day 6, but Jorden Fox was eliminated on another table just seconds later, leaving the field with just 26 players to go. The 26 players will return to play Wednesday and work their way down to a final table of nine, starting at Noon PT. Final 26 Chip Counts Aram Zobian - 41,585,000 Artem Metalidi - 30,845,000 Antoine Labat - 28,445,000 Michael Dyer - 26,515,000 Alex Lynskey - 22,045,000 Yueqi Zhu - 19,245,000 Kao Saechao - 18,985,000 Martijn Gerrits - 17,790,000 Nicolas Manion - 17,630,000 Eric Froehlich - 15,285,000 Paulo Goncalves - 15,230,000 Tony Miles - 14,945,000 John Cynn - 14,750,000 Alexander Haro - 12,940,000 Hari Bercovici - 12,775,000 Frederik Jensen - 12,100,000 Sylvain Loosli - 11,635,000 Ryan Phan - 9,545,000 Joe Cada - 8,850,000 Ivan Luca - 8,820,000 Konstantin Beylin - 8,305,000 Ming Xi - 7,550,000 Jeff Trudeau - 5,090,000 Nirath Rean - 4,950,000 Bart Lybaert - 3,825,000 Barry Hutter - 2,250,000
  8. Amidst the carnage that was the first level and a half of Day 5 play in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, Brian Yoon continued to push ahead and took his 3,228,000 starting stack all the way up 5,000,000 very quickly. "It's been nothing but good basically. I just immediately got involved in like two or three really big pots and won all of them, so it worked out pretty well," said Yoon. It shouldn't really be too much of a surprise to see Yoon putting up a solid run in the Main Event. He's done it before. He finished 58th in 2011, 498th in 2014 and then 60th in 2016. He's also won three bracelets already, all in big No Limit Hold'em field events. In 2013, Yoon beat 4,755 other players to win the $1,111 Little One for One Drop. The next year he topped a 550-player field in a $5,000 Eight-handed No Limit Hold'em event. His third bracelet came last summer, when he beat 6,715 other players to win the $1,500 Monster Stack. "There's no correlation, obviously they're kind of similar fields. I just feel like I just have a good understanding of how to approach this tournament, luckily it's been paying off," said Yoon, who has $4.39 million in lifetime earnings, including $2.8 million from WSOP events alone. Yoon moved from California to Las Vegas just over two years ago. It might seem to make sense for a poker pro to make the move to the poker capital of the world, but it was less about being close to games and tournaments and much more about the financial implications of living in Nevada. “Honestly, it was many just tax reasons, because California has state tax,” said Yoon, who now pays no state income tax as a resident of Nevada. “It just makes sense too because I'm here every summer for a couple of months. So I save money on getting a place here and everything like that.” Following his 2017 bracelet win, Yoon admitted he was going to play much less poker than he had in years past. This wasn’t some formal retirement announcement though, Yoon just felt like he was in a good enough place financially where he could pick and choose which tournaments he wanted to play. “Honestly, I feel like I study poker more than I play poker, which is kind of weird,” said Yoon. “I've been enjoying (playing) a little bit more lately, not enough to grind every single stop like I used to. I’ll still go to the big ones. I'm going to go to the party Caribbean event in November, I'll go to PCA, but I'm not going to go to every stop just to kill myself just to play.”
  9. Over the last five or six years, Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have each bought dozens upon dozens of pieces of players in the World Series of Poker Main Event. This year the pair have teamed up, not only to be able to put more money to work, but to bring some sort of organization and professionalism to a process that quite often lacks both. For the uninitiated, players entering the WSOP Main Event will sometimes look to other players to buy pieces of their Main Event entry in exchange for an equal percentage of any potential winnings. For example, before the tournament begins Player A sells Player B 10% of his Main Event winnings for $1,400. For investors, the Main Event is a very unique tournament given the overall size and makeup of the field. Hunichen sees it as an opportunity to get a decent return on an investment with a real chance at picking up a big score. "It's not often you get to chase prize pools with $8.8 million for first place. Also, this is kind of a tournament where there's just so many rec players where almost anybody has a shot to go deep," said Hunichen. "It's so easy to get a lot of cashes in this tournament, and if you can get just one or two or three people to break through and have one or two them final table, then a lot of big things can happen." The deals are usually consummated via text message, a direct message or maybe sometimes a handshake and often has players running around to collect $500 or $1,000 from various players all over Las Vegas. "Usually I just buy a few of my own pieces or I have a friend that will buy a bunch and I'll buy a piece of that. But over the years, it's pretty unorganized, it's kind of a pain dispersing the money and then chasing all your horses around and collecting the money when it's all done," said Hunichen. So Hunichen teamed up with Kornuth to get aggressive in investing some money in players. They spread the word that they were buying pieces and as players reached out, Hunichen and Kornuth started doing their homework. In cases where they didn't know the player, Hunichen would look for friends they had in common and do a bit of a reference check. "I'd go on Facebook and look what mutual contacts I had and I would message those people and ask 'Is this guy trustworthy? Can you vouch for him?'. I know most of the poker world, but there's also people that offer Main Event action that I've never heard of before," said Hunichen. "We would also look for Hendon Mob links. People would send in their Hendon Mob links so we could see how much live success they've had." Hunichen and Kornuth each took 33.3% of the action with Chip Leader Capital, a fund set up by Kornuth for his Chip Leader Coaching business, taking the remainder. They invested a total of $230,000. "We got contracts and we posted up at a certain spot here (at the Rio) for a couple of days in a row so that everyone could have easy access to us," said Hunichen. "So we sat down, had them show their ID and then the contract basically just says you were paid X amount of money and we get X percentage of this tournament." The contracts became a bit of necessity after some of Kornuth's investors who come from outside the poker world started asking questions and showing some discomfort with the idea of investing in people without some level of legal protection built in. "A lot of the business people and the non-poker demographic had a lot of concerns about that area, so we decided to do contracts," said Kornuth. "It was basically just trying to reassure our investors that their money was safe." As much as the contracts should serve as a natural deterrent for players doing something unethical, there was one player, who tried to pull a fast one on Kornuth and Hunichen. Austin Bursavich sold $1,100 worth of action to the pair but never entered the Main Event. "He degened it off and then went home, but we have him under contract and we've already been in touch with the lawyers," said Hunichen. Realizing he could be facing legal action, Bursavich reached out to Hunichen to figure out a way to settle up. "We've already been paid $500 and we're told we're being paid the rest, while everyone else without contracts hasn't even been responded to," said Kornuth. "I think that will be the future for buying action and in fact for next year when we do this again, I'll have my own Chip Leader Capital contracts in addition to a basic blank contract that other purchasers can use as well." Players were required to send a picture of their buy-in receipt from the table as well. Kornuth expected some resistance from players at such a formal process, but that wasn't the case at all. "I think we got a lot more appreciation for professionalism than the opposite," said Kornuth. Along with the investment, which was the only way some of the players would have been able to get into the event, the pair also plan on providing coaching to any of their pieces that continue to run deep into Day 5, 6, 7 and beyond. "It's going to be a combination of Huni and I and maybe other coaches that are part of CLC, but there's going to be livestreams for days and days of coverage and I will definitely go over all the tape if somebody makes a final table, give them all the live reads if they get deep enough," said Kornuth. "We definitely plan on helping people that go deep, we're looking forward to it."
  10. If the next 10 days go perfectly for Derrick Cavaco and he wins the 2018 WSOP Main Event, he will pocket exactly zero dollars. If he busts before the money bubble bursts, it will have cost him exactly zero dollars. Cavaco, who hosts a poker radio show in Houston, Texas, is playing the Main Event to raise awareness - and hopefully money - for Camp Hope, a peer-to-peer counseling group for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The $10,000 buy-in was paid for by Jim McIngvale, a Houston-area businessman you might actually know better as “Mattress Mack”. Anything Cavaco wins goes straight to Camp Hope. “What they do is they bring in vets from all over the country and they house them there, and it's peer to peer counseling with only other vets. They don't take government funding at all, it's purely privately run,” said Cavaco, who has been playing poker for over 15 years. “They don't take government funding at all, it's purely privately run. Mattress Mack and other people like that are guys that help fund this place.” Cavaco is well aware that just 15% of the field is going to make the money and that just one of the 7,000+ players will get to walk away with the top prize and title of World Champion, so also he’s using his time in Las Vegas to try and bring awareness to the cause. “I'm spending this whole week out here advocating and fundraising and trying to get anybody out here to either give a percentage or something that they can give to these vets to help them fight their mental scars of war. Or to at least help me raise awareness,” said Cavaco. “So my way, my small way to try and raise awareness, in front of the WSOP entrance every night at 2200 hours, I'm doing 22 pushups for 22 days to just help people understand that these represent 22 veterans lives every day that have taken their lives.” Camp Hope is an important cause for Cavaco because his good friend, Tyler Wolf, served four tours of duty and was dealing with PTSD after coming home. Wolf found his way to Camp Hope where they helped him through the transition back into civilian life. Cavaco visited Camp Hope and left with an appreciation for what it is all about after talking with some of the people who were there. “Most of them aren't there because of what they specifically dealt with themselves. They're there because they spent days walking, weeks walking with their buddies, trying to keep Al Qaeda and those bad guys away from us. And then one day they hear a mortar shell blow up, they look to the right and it's a red mist, and their guy's gone,” said Cavaco. “They're thinking what could I have done differently? Why did I do this? They trace every step and they can't stop replaying it in their head.” Cavaco first connected with McIngvale through his radio show, Poker Lab Radio. That conversation eventually lead to McIngvale putting Cavaco into the Main Event to help raise money and awareness for the cause. This isn’t the first charitable thing that McIngvale has done though. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last August, he turned his furniture stores into shelters for those who were displaced by the storm. He’s also found the Houston poker community to be more than willing to jump in and help. Cord Garcia and Ray Henson have been two of Cavaco’s biggest advocates, helping spread the word about Camp Hope and the work Cavaco is doing. “Ray's a huge charity guy. He loves helping the vets and that's how I met him. He jumped on board and everything I've done since that day, whether trying to build poker tables to auction off for these vets, trying to do charity events, Ray's helped me every step of the way,” said Cavaco. “When (Garcia) heard I had a show on poker on the sports station in Houston, he found me and we started talking, and he was my first guest. When he found out about what I'm doing with Camp Hope and Ray, he jumped on board, too.” Despite having played the game for so long, this is Cavaco’s first time playing the WSOP Main Event. Poker has always been a part-time pursuit for him, but one that has allowed his family to have a bit of financial freedom they otherwise might not have. “I had a family, so I couldn't play a lot. So I just studied, studied, studied, and then it got to a point a couple years back where I said, ‘Look, I'm gonna get back in the game.’ I took $100 lost it, $100 lost it, then took $100 and ran off that for the next three years. into about $35,000-$40,000, on my own, playing $100 cash games. Little bits at a time. Throughout that time, I'm buying my groceries for my family out of that. My wife's being able to keep 100% of my paychecks from my day job.” Playing for a cause so important to him gave Cavaco a chance to reflect on how his normal approach to tournaments might not be optimal in this situation. While he’s normally prone to playing tight early and then amping up the aggressive as the bubble approaches, Cavaco is focused on getting into the money before opening things up. “This game's a little different, I'm taking someone else's money and trying to raise money for charity, so I'm playing tight and right all the way to that bubble, trying to get that minimum cash,” said Cavaco. “I want to make $30,000 for these guys and then I'm gonna go hard and try and make $8 million for these guys. So, it's a little different strategy.” Visit ptsdusa.org for more information on Camp Hope.

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