Late Friday has given way to early Saturday at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in Las Vegas, but it is later still in a tournament that each year names the game’s World Champion. From a starting field of 7,874 players paying $10,000 apiece, only three players now remain.
By the time the weekend is over at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino, Tony Miles, from Lake Mary, Fla., John Cynn, from Evanston, Ill. and Michael Dyer, from Houston, TX. will have decided which of them will take home $8.8 million and the winner’s bracelet. The others will win $3.75 million (third) or $5 million (second), but having come so close once, they will know it will never likely happen again.
The man to catch is Miles, who won a series of major pots in today’s second phase of final-table play. The 32-year-old started the day ranked fourth of the returning six, with 57.5 million chips. By day’s end he had 238.9 million, which is more than his two opponents combined.
A dream day for Tony Miles
“It means the world to me to be able to come out here and show them what we worked so hard for all the time,” Miles said. “My dad has always asked me, ‘Why do you play tournaments, why don’t you just stick to cash games? I’m always telling him one day you could win life-changing money.”
The WSOP is actually one more step on Miles’s journey to turn his life around. The tournament represents a high point after a turbulent few years in which he has struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and the recent death of his step-mother. He paid tribute to his father Jim, who is among a large crowd of supporters cheering Miles’s every step.
“He’s been grieving and I’m just happy to be able to bring some joy to his life,” Miles said.
Miles is on the brink of $8.8 million
Referring to his spectacular day he added: “It means the world to me to be able to come out here and show them what we worked so hard for all the time…It’s indescribable. It was a dream come true. It was truly magical.”
Miles’s surge coincided with, and was chiefly responsible for, Dyer’s nosedive from an earlier position of seeming unimpeachability. Dyer had dominated the final for its opening stages, building a lead double that of any competitor. But the tide turned dramatically this afternoon in the Amazon Room, as Miles seized control.
Michael Dyer endured a day on the slide
Miles won a massive pot with a flopped set of threes–Dyer had 4♣ 3♣ and had two pair by the end of the hand–and latterly Miles’s A♦ 9♦ rivered trip aces to best Dyer’s pair of queens.
The final three of this tournament was decided at around 12:20am when Nicolas Manion, who had led at the start of final table play, lost with A♠ 10♦ to Cynn’s K♠ K♣ .
Nic Manion departs in fourth
Before that, Aram Zobian (sixth – $1.8 million) and Joe Cada (fifth – $2.15 million) had already joined yesterday’s eliminated trio Alex Lynskey, Artem Metalidi and Antoine Labat on the rail. They too came close but fell short.
For Cada in particular today was a huge disappointment. The 30-year-old from Shelby Township, Mich., was aiming for an unprecedented double. He won this tournament in 2009, aged 21, and his re-appearance at the final eight years later represented one of the modern game’s most exceptional performances.
Only four players–Johnny Moss (1971 & ’74), Doyle Brunson (’76 & ’77), Stu Ungar (’80, ’81 & 97) and Johnny Chan (’87 & ’88)–have ever won poker’s showpiece more than once, and none since fields ballooned in the post-Moneymaker era.
A near miss for Joe Cada
But it wasn’t to be for Cada either. His pocket tens lost out to Miles’s ace-king in a pot that vaulted the latter into the chip lead and proved to be the turning point of Friday’s play.
That was also the first moment since early yesterday that Dyer had not been leading the way after what had threatened to be the most one-sided final. But having started the final table in passive fashion, Miles grew into his role as big stack and is now clearly the man to beat.
Cynn is now in second, having been under pressure himself for much of the final. “People are battling, people are trying to stay alive,” Cynn said. “That’s poker, that’s why we play. We like the battle.”
He left with a note that will be worth repeating to both Miles and Dyer as they head off for a well-earned rest. “Things change so quick in poker,” Cynn said.
Blinds: 800,000-1.6 million
Name Country Chips/Payout Tony Miles USA 238,900,000 John Cynn USA 128,700,000 Michael Dyer USA 26,200,000 Nicolas Manion USA 4th – $2.875 million Joe Cada USA 5th – $2.15 million Aram Zobian USA 6th – $1.8 million Alex Lynskey Australia 7th – $1.5 million Artem Metalidi Ukraine 8th – $1.25 million Antoine Labat France 9th – $1 million
Selected previous 2018 WSOP coverage:
Party shifts from Amazon Room as Lynskey departs
Metalidi takes the fall as Zobian hits twice
Antoine Labat killed by the kings that once saved him
Final table player profiles
Two Miles: Jim and Tony
Is Hellmuth closing in on bracelet #15
As England departs World Cup, a new hero emerges
From the archive: Kassouf is finally silenced
Short stories of long nights at the poker table
The payout process
Then and now: Jake Cody
From the archive: K.L. Cleeton’s inspiring run
Inside the ideas factory: Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Studios
Stop, start, break, start, bubble for Matt Hopkins
Then and now: Barry Greenstein
A comprehensive guide to the WSOP bubble
Untangling the cake riddle to discover the key to Liv Boeree’s heart
Meet Muskan Sethi: India’s presidential poker ambassador
Then and Now: Daniel Negreanu
A flippin’ fantastic way to enter a poker tournament
Jeff Gross: A momentary pause in the perpetual motion
From the archive: Stages
Moneymaker surveys the world he created
Negreanu continues preparations for PokerStars Players Championship
Then and Now: Andre Akkari
Then and Now: Maria Konnikova
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.Back to Top