It was certainly an audacious statement. Whether you want to call it a bold commentary on their belief in poker or a risky chance that could blow up in their faces, the Wynn Las Vegas Resort threw down the gauntlet with their latest tournament. The Wynn Millions started last week with its $10,000 buy in event and, after three Day Ones of action, the players have responded to the call of the Wynn.
Guarantee Cracked, Prize Pool North of $12 Million
With their tournament, the Wynn poker room was taking on many challenges. First, the number of high-dollar tournaments ($10,000 or higher) has declined of late and not just because of the COVID pandemic. Even before that, more tournaments had gone to multiple Day One tournaments with lower buy ins and plentiful reentries rather than run high dollar tournaments. For example, the World Poker Tour only has ONE active $10,000 buy in event on its schedule, the venerable L. A. Poker Classic, after having as many as six of those tournaments only 10 years ago.
The Wynn poker room did not just gamble on the price tag (the three-Day Ones, with a singular re-entry each day, certainly was a helping point towards our next subject), but they also thought that there would be plenty of players champing at the bit to hit the felt. The Wynn management set the guarantee for this tournament at $10 million dollars, one of the highest guaranteed prize pools in the history of the game and by far the biggest game that has come out since COVID protocols have been relaxed.
By the end of the third day of action in the Wynn poker room, all the bets by the Wynn management were paid off. There were 1328 entries over the three-Day Ones, building a prize pool of $12,483,200 to easily cruise past the guarantee. Perhaps more important is the payouts in the tournament; a min-cash for those at the bottom of the 134 players who survive the event will be worth $25,091. Six figure payouts will stretch back to the 17th place finisher, while the second-place finisher will earn over a million dollars ($1,248,886, to be exact) and the eventual champion will walk off with a $2,018,666 bounty.
Did Anyone NOT Play in the Tournament?
With the guarantee set by the Wynn management, it seems that every poker player in existence took their shot at the crown. Furthermore, with the players able to take two shots at each Day One of action, there was plenty of cash flying around the Wynn. This brought out many of the “big guns” in poker, promising a great week of action to determine a champion.
From Day 1A, such players as two-time defending Player of the Year Alex Foxen, Cliff Josephy, Vanessa Kade, and Tony Dunst all would find a bag by the end of the action. Day 1B saw Kristen Bicknell, 2020 World Series of Poker victor Damian Salas, Chris Moorman, and defending WPT Player of the Year Brian Altman all came out on the other side with chips. Arguably the most fun day was Day 1C, when five members of poker’s Valhalla, the Poker Hall of Fame, earned their way into Day 2. Former World Champion Johnny Chan, former Poker Players’ Championship winner John Hennigan, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel and Jack McClelland, all will be taking to the felt on Tuesday for Day 2C of the tournament.
In taking a look at the three-Day Ones of action, this is the HIGHLY unofficial leaderboard for the Wynn Millions:
1. Brynn Kenney, 376,500
2. Franklin Fok, 347,000
3. Andrew Heckman, 334,500
4. Mark Hammond, 332,000
5. Bruno Furth, 331,500
6. Orson Young, 326,000
7. Peter Braglia, 321,500
8. Cliff Josephy, 317,000
9. Frank Funaro, 313,000
10. Jason Zona, 305,000
Two Day Twos will be on tap for the 501 survivors in the Wynn Millions. The Day 2AB players will be up first, taking to the tables on Monday, while the approximately 260 players who made it through the Day 2C battlefield will have a day of rest before coming back on Tuesday to resume hostilities. It is going to be an intriguing week of poker coming out of the Wynn Las Vegas as the game continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.