The 2018 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event is one step closer to crowning a champion and six hopefuls remain in the hunt for the $8.8 million first prize and bracelet in the second-largest field of 7,874 entries.
As expected, the Thunderdome was filled with plenty of spectators, with the rail of Alex Lynskey dominating the boisterous atmosphere with chants as early as 20-minutes prior to the shuffle up and deal by 2017 WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein. However, unfortunately for Lynskey's rail, the Aussie, who was born in England, endured a torrid time of it and became one of three casualties in as many levels on Day 8.
Michael Dyer will carry over a commanding lead into the penultimate day after bagging up 156,500,000, more than two times as many chips as his nearest rival and start-of-the-day chip leader Nicolas Manion (72,250,000), John Cynn follows in third place with 61,550,000. Tony Miles bagged up 57,500,000 after a late surge in the final level of the night and the remaining two contenders for the Main Event title include 2009 champion Joe Cada (29,275,000) and Aram Zobian (16,700,000).
Dyer was seemingly cruising through the day after picking up an early pot against fellow big stack Manion and continued to pull further away without too much resistance. Compared to previous days, he didn't change too much about his playing style.
“No, I just try to make good decisions,” confirmed Dyer. In fact, the only thing that changed besides claiming the vast majority of the chips in play was his choice of Animal Crackers instead of Shredded Wheat:
“It’s just snacks. It’s just something to eat while I’m at the table.”
While Dyer has a comfortable lead and more chips than Manion and Cynn combined, victory is far from guaranteed and he is very well aware of that.
“They all played pretty well. It was a pretty solid final table. I didn’t see any big mistakes,” said Dyer when asked his thoughts about the opposition.
Speaking of Cynn, the US player recorded the biggest profit for the day and bagged up 62 big blinds, which was exactly what he began the day with, though this boosted his stack to 61,550,000. Having already come close to reaching the final table in 2016, Cynn appeared immune to a lot of the previous pressure, finally reaching his goal two years after his 11th-place Main Event finish, a fact he celebrated with some high fives with his rail when play ended for the day.
"I got a few decent cards and I was able to play them the way I wanted to," said Cynn. "The dynamics at the table are constantly changing so I don't have a set strategy to battle constant aggression all the time. We'll see how it goes tomorrow."
Though Cynn was keen to point out that no matter how cutthroat it can get when playing for millions of dollars and the biggest poker title in the world, the atmosphere at the table was good and Cynn pointed out at how well everyone is getting along.
"We're all playing a game and we're all playing to win but it definitely doesn't seem personal between anybody. I love the atmosphere, it makes things more interesting. As opposed to sitting there and having to watch someone take twenty seconds to fold every hand, there's nothing interesting about that."
Cynn won an emotional coin flip against Lynskey to eliminate the Aussie in seventh place and talked about the emotions of that particular hand.
"I know I won the hand so I feel bad saying that it was enjoyable, but it was just an exciting hand all the way through. Even if I had lost the hand, it was such a fun hand. Just the way the board ran out, so many outs. Obviously, Lynskey is such a great guy and we can't all win but I felt good after that."
Another player in the final six who knows what it takes to go deep in this very event is Joe Cada, who will be comfortable under the spotlights after claiming the title in 2009 and he headed into Day 7 under very similar circumstances, but with a lot more experience under his belt.
“It's been a long time so you kind of forget a lot of those feelings. I'm just happy to be here. It's been a grueling tournament. I've been lucky to even be in the spot that I'm at. I've had low chips the entire tournament so I feel like I've just been hanging in there," said Cada.
Cada also added the following: “Maybe I'm more disciplined now. My ranges are a little bit better. I just have a lot more data to work with. That's about it. Other than that, I was playing a lot of poker back then too so I was pretty confident.”
Since his victory nine years ago, Cada has cemented his legacy in the history books by claiming two further bracelets, with one of them coming earlier this summer.
“I think the pressure's off a lot now. I think there's a lot of pressure getting to the final table and then there's a lot of pressure at the start of the final table not knowing what's going to happen. Now that the jabs have been thrown and we're six-handed it's all gravy. If I go out next, I go out next. If I make a run, that would be sweet.”
2018 WSOP Main Event Day 9 Seat Assignments
|Seat||Player||Country||Age||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|1||John Cynn||United States||33||61,550,000||62|
|2||Tony Miles||United States||32||57,500,000||58|
|3||Nicolas Manion||United States||35||72,250,000||72|
|4||Aram Zobian||United States||23||16,700,000||17|
|5||Michael Dyer||United States||32||156,500,000||157|
|6||Joe Cada||United States||30||29,275,000||29|
Day 9 will recommence with Level 38 (500,000/1,000,000, with a 150,000-ante).
Day 8 Action at a Glance
Among those to bust were Antoine Labat (9th place, $1,000,000), Artem Metalidi (8th place, $1,250,000) and Alex Lynskey (7th place, $1,500,000).
After the three-way all in to end Day 7, Antoine Labat returned as the shortest stack by far. And the very same cards came to haunt the Frenchman once more to end his run in 9th place. Labat got through with an open-shove once and min-raised on the button in hand #16 soon after. Artem Metalidi moved all in from the small blind with a covering stack and Labat quickly called with two red kings to get shown pocket queens by Metalidi. The flop brought one of the two remaining queens in the deck and Labat became the first casualty of the day.
Michael Dyer dominated the action early, further pulling away at the top of the leaderboard as play neared the first break, and won the biggest pot of the final table with ace-king, getting three streets of value from Nicolas Manion who called down with ace-queen high.
Aram Zobian was the next player to end up all in and at risk when he open-shoved for 13 big blinds with ace-eight suited. Dyer looked him up from one seat over with pocket sixes and an eight on the river saved Zobian, who jumped up and celebrated with his rail.
"When I hit that 12% river it was the most happiness in one moment in my life," said Zobian.
Zobian remained involved in the action just a few minutes later. Metalidi had moved all in for seven big blinds in early position and Zobian moved all in over the top out of the small blind to isolate successfully. Metalidi flipped over pocket fives and found himself flipping against the king-queen suited of Zobian. Two diamonds and a five on the flop saw the rail explode, and a third diamond on the river improved Zobian to a flush and sent Metalidi to the rail in 8th place.
"It's been an incredible run," said Metalidi In his interview after his elimination, "I feel really happy and i couldn't ask for more. This way I have a desire to improve for the next year's to come."
With the goal to reach the final six, one more player had to join the rail and that was to be Alex Lynskey. The Aussie failed to win a single pot the entire day, and despite the wild encouragement from his rail, could not change this state of affairs after three-betting all in out of the big blind over the top of a raise by Dyer and a call by John Cynn. Dyer folded, but Cynn called with king-queen suited to take on the flip against Lynskey's pocket sixes.
A ten-high flop gave Cynn a gutshot and the ten paired up on the turn to give Lynskey more reason to worry. Eventually, a jack fell on the river to give Cynn a winning straight and reduce the field to the final six. Play continued until the end of the level without any further casualties and Joe Cada chipped up at the very end after jamming into Dyer just before bagging and tagging.
The remaining six players will return to the Thunderdome at 5.30pm local time on Friday, July 13, to play down to the final three, and the PokerNews live reporting team will provide hand-for-hand coverage of all the action.