John Cynn captured poker’s world championship and a cool $8.8 million at the 2018 World Series of Poker main event by defeating Tony Miles early Sunday morning.
Drawing 7,874 players, this year’s $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event held at the Rio All-SuiteHotel & Casino is the second-largest field in the tournament’s history, generating a prize pool of $74,015,600.
Each player at the final table earned at least $1,000,000, with Miles receiving $5 million for finishing second, and Cynn getting $8,800,000, one of the richest prizes in poker, ESPN reports.
After playing 10 full days of poker over the past two weeks, Cynn endured a record-setting head-to-head marathon with Miles, playing against each other for 10 hours. Their heated duel set the records for the most hands played heads-up to close out a WSOP main event (199) and the most total hands at a WSOP main event final table (442).
In an interview after his historic win, Cynn pointed out that while the money will significantly change his life, it will not change him as a person.
“The money is very significant, but I do like to think that I don’t need the money to be happy,” Cynn was quoted as saying. “But at the same time, practically, it’s going to make things a lot easier — things I want to do in life … even to my parents, this is money that they never could’ve imagined. It’s definitely going to be life-changing.”
In the final hours of the contest, Cynn admitted that he was starting to feel the effects of pushing through the latter stages of the 10-day poker marathon capped with the intense final day.
“I’m pretty beat. I’m pretty exhausted,” he said. “I think every day, somehow you get more exhausted but also a little bit sharper just because your adrenaline keeps you going.”
Cynn, who graduated from Indiana University, worked as an IT consultant in California before embarking on his poker career.
He won his first cash in a poker tournament came in 2010, and first cashed in a WSOP event in 2012. He finished 11th in the Main Event back in 2016, earning $650,000.
Before his huge win on Sunday, he had 12 WSOP cashes and three on the World Poker Tour, including last year’s 10th place finish at the L.A. Poker Classic.
His total live tournament winnings to date exceed $9.7 million.