The 2018 World Series of Poker proved to be the second-largest in the series’ 49-year history with 7,784 players. The 10-day event featured many storylines including the 8-Team competition (won by Team UK), 888poker Ambassador taking 273rd place for $42,980, and Denmark’s Martin Sejer finishing as the last 888poker qualifier standing, ultimately busting in 159th place for $57,010.

At the final table, all eyes were on 2009 WSOP champ Joe Cada, who was looking to join Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, Johnny Chan and Stu Ungar (all Poker Hall of Famers) as players to win the Main Event more than once. Unfortunately, his run at poker history came to an in fifth place for $2.15 million. Still, it stands as one of the most remarkable runs in the modern poker era.

In the end, 33-year-old John Cynn, who two years earlier had finished in 11th place in the very same event, found redemption by winning the tournament for $8,800000 after an epic heads-up battle against Tony Miles.

"I do like to think that I don't need the money to be happy, but at the same time it's practically going to make things a lot easier," Cynn said after the win. "Things I want to do in life, things for my family, and my parents. To my parents, this is money that they could have never imagined. It'll definitely be life-changing."

Early Final Table Action

Six-way action at 2018 WSOP Main Event Table

The final table was broken into three days of play with the first playing down from nine to six players. It took just 16 hands at the final table for the first elimination to occur and happened when France’s Antoine Labat got his short stack in holding the K♥K♦, and he was primed to double through Ukraine’s Artem Metalidi, who held the Q♣Q♥.

Unfortunately for Labat, the A♠Q♦5♠ flop have his opponent a set. Neither the 9♠ turn nor A♦ river helped Labat, and he had to settle for ninth place and $1,000,000. Despite winning that hand, Metalidi followed him out the door.

It happened in Level 37 (400,000/800,000/100,000) when he shoved all in for 6.225 million with the 5♣5♦ and Aram Zobian isolated by moving all-in over the top from the small blind with the K♦Q♦. It was a flip, and the 6♦2♦5♥ flop made thing interesting by giving Metalidi a set, and Zobian a flush draw. The K♣ turn was of no consequence, but the 4♦ river was - Zobian spiked the diamond flush, and Metalidi headed for the payout desk to collect $1,250,000.

The day wrapped after Hand #47, which is when Alex Lynskey hit the rail. The first Australian to appear at the final table since Joe Hachem in 2005, Lynskey was absolutely card dead at the final table and did not win a single hand. That’s right, he went 0 for 47!

In his final hand, he got it in with the 6♦6♣ and was racing against Cynn’s K♠Q♠. The board ran out 10♣9♣3♠10♦J♣, and Cynn made a straight to send Lynskey home in seventh place for $1.5 million.

Playing Down to Final Three

2018 World Series of Poker Main Event Final 3

On Friday, July 13, the final six players returned and would play until their number was cut in half. Within 20 minutes, one player fell. It happened on Hand #75 when Zobian shoved for 17.35 million from the small blind holding the 8♦6♦ and chip leader Michael Dyer called from the big with the A♥8♣. Zobian needed help but didn’t get any as the board ran out a dry Q♦K♣2♥7♥10♥. Zobian earned $1.8 million for his sixth-place finish.

In Level 38 (500,000/1,000,000/150,000) Cada raised to 2.2 under the gun with the 10♠10♥ and Miles three-bet to 6.9 million on the button. Both blinds folded and Cada jammed for 47,65 million, which sent Miles into the tank for several minutes before he called with the A♥K♣.

It was a huge flip, and Cada was just looking to hold to double. That proved easier said than done as the K♠8♦9♥ flop gave Miles the lead with a pair of kings. The Q♦ turn gave Cada a gutshot straight draw, but he missed when the 9♠ bricked on the river.

Amazingly, Cada bested a 3,120-entry field to win Event #75: $1,500 The Closer for $612,886 and his fourth career bracelet (second of the summer). It capped off a truly remarkable run by the former Main Event champ.

The next player to fall was Nic Manion, who took his leave in Level 40 (800,000/1,600,000/200,000) on Hand #224 of the final table. It happened when Cynn raised to 3.8 million with the K♣K♠ and snap-called Manion’s 23.8 million shove with the A♠10♦. Manion’s best chance at surviving was to find an ace, but it wasn’t in the cards as the board ran out 6♣Q♣3♠2♦6♥. With that, Manion headed to the payout desk to collect $2.825 million for finishing in fourth place.

The Final Day of Action

2018 WSOP Main Event Gold Bracelet

The final three players returned to play down to a winner. In Level 40 (800,000/1,600,000/200,000) on Hand #243 of the final table, Miles raised to 4 million holding the A♠J♥ on the button and called when Dyer moved all-in for 22.2 million with the A♥10♦ on the button. Dyer had a kicker problem, and it didn’t get resolved as the board ran out Q♣5♠3♦J♣Q♥. Dyer took home $3.75 million for his third-place finish.

Heads-up play lasted a marathon 199 hands over 10-hours, making it the longest heads-up contest in WSOP Main Event history. Finally, at around 5 a.m. in the morning, the final hand of the tournament was dealt.

It took place in Level 44 (2,000,000/4,000,000/500,000) on Hand #442 of the final table. Cynn made it 9 million to go and then called when Miles re-raised to 34 million. When the flop came down K♥K♦5♥, Miles bet 32 million and Cynn called.

On the 8♦ turn, Miles moved all-in for 114 million, and Cynn thought it through before calling with the K♣J♣ for trip kings. Miles was drawing dead with the Q♣8♥. The meaningless 4♠ was run out on the river and Miles finished in second place for $5,000,000.

“Tony’s an amazing guy,” Cynn said after the win. “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.”

He continued: “I definitely ran amazing against him. You’re just not supposed to make that many hands. I had a couple bluffs, but I just got so fortunate so many times.”

2018 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results

Place| Winner | Country | Prize

1 | John Cynn| United States| $8,800,000

2 | Tony Miles| United States| $5,000,000

3 | Michael Dyer| United States| $3,750,000

4 | Nicolas Manion | United States | $2,825,000

5 | Joe Cada | United States | $2,150,000

6 | Aram Zobian | United States | $1,800,000

7 | Alex Lynskey | Australia | $1,500,000

8 | Artem Metalidi | Ukraine | $1,250,000

9 | Antoine Labat | France | $1,000,000

Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter