The Championship Event of the second annual Wynn Classic ended yesterday night, awarding a $692,286 first prize. Just days after the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star, many pros left San Jose and came straight to Vegas to play this four day $10,000 buy-in event. A few pros didn’t make the trip, however – Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Hellmuth were all absent, for example. This created a significantly different atmosphere than that of the San Jose event, lacking the large crowd of railers and seemingly endless parade of eager fans. This was not necessarily bad, however! Many young up-and-comers made the trip, as well as several other tournament grinders. The Wynn Classic may not have created the same buzz that the Bay 101 tournament created, but the prize pool was still significant, and the final table ended up jam-packed with great players.
183 players sat at 21 tables to start the Championship Event, and Day 1 saw 92 survive. Leading the pack was the infamous Mike Matusow, who placed 5th in last year’s event. In a bid for a second final table, he battled his way through a few tough tables and finished the day with 107,700 chips (which would be equivalent to over 175 big blinds to start Day 2). The ‘young guns’ of the online poker world were well-represented after Day 1 as well, with James Mackey, Blair Hinkle, Justin Bonomo, Ryan Young, Vivek Rajkumar, Jonathan Little and Darrell Dicken all finishing the day in the top 20.
Day 2 saw the field play down to 27 players, which would be 9 players away from the money. Ricky Chow led the way with 432,600 chips, more than 100,000 chips ahead of Young, who finished in second place. Young was actually short for most of the day, but he turned on the aggression near the end of the night and generated a very nice chip stack. Little had a similar day and got himself up to 6th place. Mike Matusow struggled during the first part of Day 2 but came back to finish the day in third.
The all important Day 3 included both a money bubble and a final table bubble, and Young absolutely dominated. He ended the day with 714,000 chips in his stack, almost 200,000 more chips than his nearest competition (Larry Wright, 572,500 chips). Mackey and Little didn’t fare as well and they both busted out of the money. Day 3 saw an interesting feature unique to the Wynn come into play once the money bubble came and Andrew Robl busted in 19th place. Robl actually ended up sharing money with 18th place David Singer because Wynn has a rule that if two players bust in the same round during the money bubble, they would split the 18th-place cash. How silly (in my humble opinion). Why couldn’t they just play hand-for-hand like every other casino does? I’m sure Singer would really like to know.
You’re probably wondering what happened to Matusow, and I’m sad to report he busted. His final hand had him all-in preflop with pocket sevens and running into rockets (causing him to discover that talk isn’t everything and sometimes cards DO matter!). He reported that he spent most of Day 3 card-dead.
On to the final table! Here was how it looked at the start of the day:
Seat No. 1 – Ardavan Yazdi – 405,000
Seat No. 2 – Eugene Todd – 236,000
Seat No. 3 – Alemu Tesema – 230,000
Seat No. 4 – Larry Wright – 572,500
Seat No. 5 – Ricky Chow – 507,000
Seat No. 6 – Blake Cahail – 299,500
Seat No. 7 – Jace Markgraf – 167,500
Seat No. 8 – Ryan Young – 714,000
Seat No. 9 – Chris Moore – 536,000
The stacks were deep and even the short stacks had room to play poker, so one would think that it would be a while before the eliminations occurred. It wasn’t long at all, however! Todd was the first to bust, getting it in preflop with pocket tens and running into pocket queens. Tesema, who won a Wynnn raffle to gain entry into this tournament, busted in 8th place. And pocket tens caused another demise at this final table, busting Chow in 7th place (which must have been a disappointment because he held several chip leads throughout the course of the event).
The next three eliminations all occurred before the dinner break in a span of 20 minutes (maybe they were hungry). Wright, clinging to a short stack, was the first to go, losing a flip with KQ to Cahail’s pocket eights. His sixth place finish was an improvement over his 12th-place finish in this very event in 2007. Markgraf was the next victim at this table, handing his chips over to Young after getting it in preflop absolutely dominated (his Q8 versus Young’s KQ). And the final pre-break bust was Yazdi in fourth place, running into Cahail’s pocket queens with his less impressive pocket threes.
Stacks were deep going into 3-handed play, but Cahail ran into a few bad hands and ended up a significant short stack. He finally ended his suffering by losing with QT to Young’s pocket jacks, and he took home a sexy $177,510 for third place. This set up what could have been an epic heads-up battle between Young and Moore, but the poker gods intervened and gave us coolers instead. The first of these coolers saw Moore flopping two pairs with J5 and Young hitting top pair with his AJ. They got it in on the flop and Moore’s hand held.
Young was left with a small stack, and soon after he was put all-in for his remaining chips after Moore looked at a single hole card and pushed when he saw it was a K. Young subsequently took a look at one of his hole cards, saw an ace, and made the call. They showed their hands and it turned out Young had a 5 kicker and Moore actually had the best hand with pocket kings. The cowboys held and Moore won first place, an improvement over his third place finish from last year.
Young won $355,020 for his second place finish (giving him over $1 million in career earnings), and Moore received $692,286 for first. Moore also won a snazzy model version of the Wynn casino as his keepsake trophy. For a list of all the cashes, please see below. Some other notable cashes include Makhija, a good online player known as AMAK316, in 11th place, and Kathy Liebert in 15th place.
1) Chris Moore – $692,286
2) Ryan Young – $355,020
3) Blake Cahail – $177,510
4) Ardavan Yazdi – $95,855
5) Jace Markgraf – $71,004
6) Larry Wright – $53,253
7) Ricky Chow – $44,378
8 ) Alemu Tesema – $35,502
9) Eugene Todd – $31,952
10) Alfredo Leonidas – $26,627
11) Amit Makhija – $26,627
12) Mike Matusow – $26,627
13) Ted McCollom – $23,964
14) Allen Kessler – $23,964
15) Kathy Liebert – $23,964