This past Saturday, after six grueling days of battle, the brilliantly structured Wynn Millions boiled down to three players with $4.1m in prize money still up for grabs.
Andrew Moreno, Clayton Maguire, and Toby Lewis did a bit of business, guaranteeing themselves seven-figure paydays, agreeing to play on for reduced pay jumps of $100,907 and $313,000.
When the dust settled on that ménage-a-trois, Andrew Moreno had all the chips and a career-best $1,460,106 score – plenty of diaper money for the soon-to-be father.
From 1,328 entrants to a final table of nine
The $10,000 buy-in, $10m-guaranteed Wynn Millions event drew a field of 1,328. On Wednesday, 134 players made the money for $25,000. When they bagged up for the night, 61 of them were still in the hunt. Players included chip leaders Anthony Marquez and Ralph Perry, plus notables Cliff Josephy, Alex Foxen, Harrison Gimbel, Maria Ho, Toby Lewis, Ari Engel, and Tom Marchese.
18 players made it to day five, which ended when Frenchman Julian Millard-Feral eliminated Spaniard Santiago Soriano Ramos in tenth place. The final table was set with Clayton Maguire perched in the top spot, as he had been for much of the tournament.
2. Julian Millard-Feral, 8.35 million chips
3. Salim Admon, 7.72 million chips
4. Jaime Cervantes, 7.575 million chips
5. Toby Lewis, 4.98 million chips
6. Joe Kuether, 4.42 million chips
7. Andrew Moreno, 2.285 million chips
8. Phillip Shing, 2.74 million chips
9. Lion Yiming Lee, 2.695 million chips
The final table was a cagey affair
A cagey start to the final meant it would take two hours and over 50 hands to eliminate a player. Again, it would be Millard-Feral to do the deed, his pocket sevens holding versus short stack Lee’s King-Queen.
Another tippy-tappy hour of cautious play elapsed before Kuether would succumb to Cervantes in a standard pre-flop battle of the blinds. Cervantes was, however, the next to go, busting in seventh in a classic race versus Lewis, his pocket queens no match for the Englishman’s Ace-King.
Lewis had his sights set on yet another title
A canny and experienced performer on the big stage and part of a golden generation of British players, Lewis had his sights set on yet another title. The EPT and Aussie Millions champion took out Shing in sixth place in another battle of the blinds, his King-Eight holding versus Shing’s Jack-Nine. With that, he was second to the dominating Maguire who used his chip lead effectively, applying ICM pressure on his table-mates at every opportunity.
After Millard-Feral was sent to the rail in fifth place, the two short stacks, Moreno and Admon, clashed next, as Moreno’s pocket Queens defeated Admon’s pocket nines. A disciple of the poker training app DTO, Admon saw his $619,160 score celebrated on Twitter:
Suddenly, there were three left and a deal discussion broke out. At one point, it looked like talks might break down, but ultimately, an ICM chop was deemed to be acceptable to all.
Moreno found some heat at the right time
With the pressure valve released, the three players battled on, playing for $414,000 in leftover money. Lewis succumbed to Maguire in another race, rivering the Englishman’s pocket threes. That left Moreno and Maguire to fight it out for the title.
Moreno had played superbly for six days, making some heroic calls along the way, but nothing beats a bit of good fortune at an opportune moment. He found some heat at exactly the right time as, for the next thirty minutes, Maguire got consistently drawn out.
the turn Queen was a dagger to Maguire’s heart
A cold-deck final hand saw Maguire get it in with Ace-King to Moreno’s suited Ace-Queen. The King-Queen-Three flop had two of Moreno’s suits, but the turn Queen was a dagger to Maguire’s heart. There would be no miracle river, and Moreno was the champion of the inaugural Wynn Millions.
The final payouts were as follows:
2. Clayton Maguire, $1,443,757
3. Toby Lewis, $1,235,204
4. Salim Admon, $619,160
5. Julian Millard-Feral, $456,629
6. Phillip Shing, $360,140
7. Jaime Cervantes, $289,361
8. Joe Kuether, $240,302
9. Lion Yiming Lee, $202,765
Not a dream
It was an exciting finish to a phenomenal event, one which is sure to be repeated by the classiest poker room in Las Vegas. What the Wynn lacks in size, it more than makes up for in player experience. One would guess that more tournaments at the price point will be part of its offering going forward.
On the rail, Moreno’s brother, poker vlogger ‘Johnnie Vibes’, was overjoyed. But nobody was happier than his wife, poker player and content creator Kristy Arnett, who is expecting their child later this year.
For the last five years, the couple’s journey to becoming parents has been captured by Arnett in her beautifully written, gut-wrenching blogs. Last month, she posted a good news video to YouTube:
After a painfully difficult chapter of their lives, Andrew and Kristy have turned the page. It understandably must feel like a dream. Fortunately, it’s not: