2018 World Series of Poker Broke Records and a Few Hearts
WSOP players won an incredible $266,889,193 total in prize money including $187.4 million won by American players in 2018. That represents an astonishing 15.5 percent increase from last year’s event and a massive growth for the sport overall.
Lives were irrevocably changed as 28 players won prizes of $1 million or more with an average first prize of $655,337 and the average winner overcoming a field of 1,588 players to claim it. In total, 78 bracelets were awarded for each of the events with the majority of 54 going to the Americans.
It was also a benchmark year for participation as a whopping 123,865 entrants took part in the festivities. That represents a 2.4 percent increase from last year and was good for yet another record. 89,533 hailed from the United States while Canada sent 4,128 players and England led the overseas competition with 4,534 participants.
Main Event Brings the Thrills
The 49th Main Event itself in all its splendor presented an unforgettable show with a grand finale that left little room for complaint. John Cynn was able to outlast Tony Miles after an absolute marathon of a heads-up showdown.
Cynn described the moment of victory as incredible but “bittersweet” as he didn’t want to celebrate too hard in the presence of a worthy adversary. The players, according to Cynn, even considered reaching a secret deal to chop the $8.8 million pot during the over 12-hour-long standoff.
“There was a point when we were talking about making a deal, but then every break it seemed like I had some really great guys around me who kept talking strategy with me. So didn’t really get a chance to hammer anything out, so there was no deal made.”
The pot won by Cynn was the third largest of all-time behind Jamie Gold’s $12-million pay day back in 2006 and Martin Jacobson’s $10-million prize in 2014. That resulted likely from the massive field of 7,874 players being the largest since 2006 and contributing to the $74,015,600 prize pool.
When talking about the prize money, Cynn admitted it was still the biggest benefit of winning the tournament as sponsorships are quite as lucrative as they were in the hey day of online poker. That’s not to say, however, that the future of the sport won’t hold its own surprises and new ways to profit off persona.
“It’s definitely not like it used to be when the online poker was big, but there’s still definitely some sponsorships…but also the opportunities are still coming so we’ll see what happens.”
Some Left Wanting More
For every winner of every great competition there must be a loser. Miles dropped the intense competition and in the heat of the moment appeared upset at Cynn for “slow-rolling” him. Miles accused him of such as the pair shook hands, however it’s all water under the bridge now as he took to Twitter to apologized.
I just wanted to respond to some of the things that were being said last night after my HU match with Johnny. I appreciate people being understanding and open-minded about a situation where we were both delirious and battling our ❤️’s out! pic.twitter.com/IKz7E0CiED— Tony Miles (@Storm253) July 15, 2018
Sadly the tournament left a lot to be desired for another pro player, Roland Israelashvili. That’s because he maintained the incredibly unique distinction of having the most cash finishes with no WSOP bracelet to his name.
The long-time player from Forest Hills, New York is still searching for the elusive hardware after compiling an incredible 90 career cash finishes. At this point he claims bracelet “is more important than the money, for sure.”
“I keep trying, and almost every year for the past few years I’ve had a lot of cashes. But no bracelet, so I keep trying. It is frustrating. It’s not good. Some of my friends are teasing me.”
Israelashvili finished in the money 14 times at the WSOP this year, but still came just short of achieving his dream. He remains the player with the most cashes and no bracelet followed by Tony Cousineau (87 cashes) and Tom McCormick (76).
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