‘The Main Event’ of the summer
In the absence of the WSOP in its usual July slot, the Wynn Las Vegas is holding ‘The Main Event’ of the summer with a $10m-guaranteed tournament. The plush casino boasts the nicest poker room in Vegas, so, for the last week, poker players have been treated to some five-star treatment – no less than they deserve for their $10,000 buy-in.
1,328 entries, generating a prize pool of $12,483,200
The Wynn Millions event started on June 25 and will conclude this weekend. In total there were 1,328 entries, generating a prize pool of $12,483,200, split among the top 134 finishers. The eventual winner will take home a whopping $2,018,866.
Three star-studded Day 1s
The first of three starting flights attracted 263 entrants, but after ten levels of play, just 92 players remained. Peter Braglia was the chip leader, with two-time GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen and WSOP Main Event final tablists Cliff ‘Johnny Bax’ Josephy and Joe Cheong all bagging up big.
Other notables to progress included Jason Koon, Vanessa Kade, Dan Smith, Nick Schulman, Chance Kornuth, Jason Somerville, David Peters, and former Main Event champion Ryan Riess.
Day 1B delivered 389 runners, 150 of whom progressed. The chip leader was Bryn Kenney, poker’s all-time tournament money leader. Behind him, but very much in the mix were Kristen Bicknell, Connor Drinan, Chris Brewer, Chris Moorman, Brock Wilson, and reigning WSOP Main Event champion Damian Salas.
Day 1C drew the largest field with a total of 676 runners
As expected, Day 1C drew the largest field with a total of 676 runners, some of whom came in after being on the alternate list. 246 players progressed to Day 2, including overnight chip-leader John Hennigan, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, Erik Seidel, and Poker Hall of Famer Jack McClelland.
Two Day 2s
The remaining players from Day 1A and 1B combined for Day 2AB on Monday. 240 players in total returned to play, and after five 90-minute levels, there were just 76 left. Dominique Mosley led the pack, just ahead of Pavlo Veksler and Alex Foxen.
On Tuesday, the remaining players from Day 1C were reunited for 2C. When the dust settled, just 86 players were still in, including chip-leader Frank Funaro, Dylan Linde, Farrid Jattin, and Daniel Negreanu.
The field comes together for Day 3
On Wednesday, the survivors from Day 2AB and 2C combined for Day 3. 162 players remained, 28 of whom would receive no prize. Some of those unfortunates would include Jack McClelland, David Pham, Sergio Aido, and eventual ‘bubble boy’ Carlos Alvarado, who busted with pocket Kings, running into Alex Foxen’s pocket Aces. The rest of the field banked a min-cash of $25,000.
61 players ultimately bagged up, including Anthony Marquez and bracelet winner and Five Diamond World Poker Classic winner Ralph Perry, who sit atop the chip counts. Others in contention include Cliff Josephy; Alex Foxen; PCA champion Harrison Gimbel; broadcaster and WSOPE final tablist Maria Ho; Aussie Millions champions Toby Lewis and Ari Engel; and the WPT, NAPT, and Millions champion Tom Marchese.
The tournament heralded a great success
The organizers of the upcoming WSOP will have been watching closely how things went at the Wynn this past week and, no doubt, they will be buoyed to see the large turnout. It’s certainly encouraging to see a big buy-in, big-field tournament play out after 16 months of little to no meaningful live poker.
The Wynn appears to have pulled out all the stops for the players. WPT and Heartland Poker tour champion Dan Smith took to Twitter to acknowledge the great job done:
Maria Ho was also quick to give credit where it is due:
The remaining 61 players are assured a $41,997 payday. Action will recommence later today at midday local time and, given the structure, expect it to get down to a final two tables by the end of play.
Tournament poker is a cruel business and tournament poker players are professional masochists. With life-changing money up top in this one, the potential for joy and devastation is even more potent. Dreams can be crushed at any point, as so many have already. But for at least one person and maybe a stoical few, the payday at the end of this one will satisfy, if for just a moment.