John Cynn Tops WSOP Main Event For $8.8 Million

Written By Katie Callahan on July 16, 2018 - Last Updated on July 6, 2022
Poker tournament winner with piles of money

While two years ago John Cynn left with a respectable 11th-place finish in the WSOP Main Event, the 33-year-old now leaves with $8.8 million, the diamond-encrusted WSOP gold bracelet, and the title of 2018 WSOP Main Event Champion.

His finish two years ago came in at $650,000. Cynn had 16 previous cashes at the World Series of Poker coming into this event, capping his previous total earnings at $739,416. Now, that number is $9,513,071.

The Indiana native stuck it out for over 10 hours and 199 hands (most of which was heads‑up poker), the longest heads-up contest on record for the Main Event.

Cynn had this to say after his win:

“Really, neither is supposed to happen, right? To make 11th is insane on its own. And then to win, that’s literally something that you dream of, but just never expect to happen. […]. Right now, I do feel pretty overwhelmed. All the emotions times 10.”

Cynn stands up to the competition

Tony Miles, the runner-up, and Cynn would exchange the lead 11 times before Cynn would be declared the winner. Miles, a Florida native, walked away with $5 million for his first cash in the WSOP Main Event. His prior results consisted of two smaller live tournament cashes totaling $54,333.

Cynn had this to say about his opponent after the Main Event:

 “Tony’s an amazing guy. We’ve been playing next to each other for quite a while now. He plays really well, I think. He put me in a lot of tough spots. Not just hand wise, with his strategy.  I probably had to adjust three, four, five, I don’t know how many times. And it seemed like whenever I would adjust he would adjust right back. It was cool because we had moments where we were really going after each other. And we had moments of dead pots.”

When the former logistics analyst was laid off from his job, Cynn started playing poker. His professional career has been ongoing for the past five years. With about $300,000 in cashes outside of his Main Event runs, Cynn told WSOP that the money would make his life easier and allow him to provide for his family and his parents.

Who this year’s WSOP brought to the table

The turnout reached record numbers, with 7,874 entrants, the second-largest WSOP Main Event field, coming in behind 2006 numbers.

The final table:

1st: John Cynn – $8,800,000
2nd: Tony Miles – $5,000,000
3rd: Michael Dyer  – $3,750,000
4th: Nicolas Manion – $2,825,000
5th: Joe Cada – $2,150,000
6th: Aram Zobian – $1,800,000
7th: Alex Lynskey – $1,500,000
8th: Artem Metalidi – $1,250,000
9th: Antoine Labat – $1,000,000

Of the final table, the top six are from the United States with an Australian, Ukranian, and Frenchman, respectively. This year’s WSOP, in its entirety, featured participants from 110 nations.

This year brought a record number of players who would cash out: 1,182. The total prize pool was $74,015,600 with over $28 million of that belonging to the final nine players.

The total number of players in the 2018 WSOP exceeded last year’s numbers with 123,838 (compared to 120,995). The Big One for One Drop is the last event to finish on the schedule, and already, more than $242 million has been awarded, a record prize pool for WSOP.

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Joe Cada kept it close

Joe Cada, the 2009 WSOP Main Event champion, made a remarkable run, finishing in fifth place. Cada would have been the fifth repeat champion, placing his name immediately next to the poker greats, like Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, and Johnny Chan.

The first champion to return to the final table since Dan Harrington (1995), Cada faced a larger field size (even that in 2009 was large – 6,494). He joins an exclusive list of players who have made the final table twice in the post-Moneymaker era, alongside Mark Newhouse, Antoine Saout, and Ben Lamb, none of whom have taken the Main Event title.

Despite the frenzy, Cada still managed fifth place and $2,100,000, overshadowing Phil Hellmuth extending his record to 15 bracelets.

The three-day finale telecast finished at 4:51 a.m. July 15 in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino’s Amazon Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo courtesy of WSOP / Joe Giron

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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