John Cynn battled with Tony Miles for nearly 200 hands before finally breaking through to win the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event title.

John Cynn WSOP Win
John Cynn poses with his prize money after winning the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event. (Image: AP/John Locher)

Cynn won $8.8 million for his efforts, which came after more than 10 hours of heads-up play.

Heads-Up Play Sets Records

The final day of play in the WSOP Main Event started with three players. Michael Dyer was quickly eliminated, winning $3.75 million for his third-place finish.

That left Cynn and Miles to face off in what would become the longest heads-up confrontation in the history of the event. Miles started with the chip lead, but it would be traded back several times over the course of the marathon session. There were audacious bluffs and incredible calls, but neither player was able to come close to finishing off the other.

The final hand saw Cynn raise with Kc Jc. Miles reraised to 34 million with Qc 8h, which Cynn called. The flop came Kh Kd 5h, prompting a continuation bet from Miles which Cynn coolly called. When the 8d hit the turn, Miles moved all in. Cynn took his time to think about the hand before calling. Even with the river still to come, Cynn was guaranteed to have the best hand, earning him the bracelet and the title of World Champion.

In total, 199 hands were played heads-up, and 442 were played in total at the final table, both of which are Main Event records. After the final hand was dealt, both men reflected on the battle they had gone through – not only heads-up, but throughout the entire tournament.

“I’m pretty exhausted,” Cynn said after the win. “I think every day, somehow you get more exhausted but also a little bit sharper just because your adrenaline keeps you going.”

“The nerves and the angst that you feel at night, it’s almost impossible to get a good night’s rest,” Miles said. “Then you come in here and you have to battle for 12 hours heads-up. It was a war, and it was amazing. I’m sure it’ll go down and be chronicled in history as one of the best heads-up matches ever.”

Cynn No Stranger to Deep WSOP Runs

For Cynn, the victory comes just two years after another very deep run in the Main Event. The 33-year-old from Indianapolis had previously finished 11th in the tournament to win $650,000 in 2016. He had also cashed in many other WSOP events over the past six years, including a small cash in the Millionaire Maker event this summer.

“Last time when I got knocked out in 11th I was really happy,” Cynn told “Really, neither is supposed to happen, right?  To make 11th is insane on its own. And then to win, that’s literally something that you dream of, but just never expect to happen.”

The final hand caused some controversy in the moment, as Cynn took a long time to make the call with the likely winner, prompting even Miles to say something about a slow roll once the cards were revealed. But Miles later issued a statement via his Twitter account clarifying his feelings on how the tournament ended.

“We were playing for millions of dollars and John had every right to take his time and talk through his decision,” Miles wrote. “My immediate reaction of angst and frustration was unwarranted and I take full responsibility for what I said.”