The Wynn Millions poker tournament made its debut in 2021. The $10,000 buy-in event featured a massive $10 million guarantee, which was easily surpassed when 1,328 entries created a final prize pool of $12,483,200. The huge success of the inaugural running all but guaranteed that the event would be held again. In 2022, the tournament was back with another eight-figured guarantee. This time around, 1,075 entries saw the guarantee surpassed once again, although by a smaller margin this time around. The 2022 Wynn Millions main event ran from Mar. 3-11, and when the dust settled it was New York’s Tony Sinishtaj who walked with the title and the first-place prize of $1,655,952.
This was Sinishtaj’s first seven-figure tournament score, surpassing his previous top payday of $661,283 by nearly a million dollars. Sinishtaj earned that sum as the champion of the 2017 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $3,500 buy-in main event, topping a field of 1,207 entries on his way to the title.
This latest victory saw the 41-year-old increase his lifetime live tournament earnings to more than $3.5 million.
In addition to the title and the money, Sinishtaj also earned a massive bounty of rankings points for his most recent victory. He took home 2,400 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, the largest amount of points awarded in any event yet in 2022. This was Sinishtaj’s first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to see him surge up the standings and into first place in the 2022 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
He also secured 1,250 PokerGO Tour points, which was sufficient to move him into 1st place on that leaderboard.
The final day of this event began with nine players remaining and Vanessa Kade in the chip lead. Sinishtaj sat in fourth chip position to start. He got off to a solid start by earning the first knockout of the day, with his A-K winning a preflop race against short stack Neng Lee’s pocket tens. Sinishtaj flopped an ace and held from there to send Lee home with $171,280.
2021 breakout high-stakes star Sean Perry was the next to fall. He got the last of his chips in preflop with pocket nines and was at risk against the pocket kings of Isaac Kempton. The flop gave Kempton kings full to leave Perry all but drawing dead. With no help on the turn or river, Perry was eliminated in eighth place ($202,908). This was already his seventh POY-qualified final-table showing of 2022, with nearly $1.5 million in POY earnings so far this year. As a result, Perry now sits in fifth place in the POY race and third place in the PGT standings.
Roland Shen’s run came to an end in seventh place with his K-J ran into the pocket nines of Michael Stembera. A set of nines on the flop gave Stembera an even larger lead in the hand, which he maintained through the river. Shen took home $244,541 for his strong showing in this event.
Sinishtaj won a key showdown during six-handed play, doubling through Stembera thanks to a preflop cooler. His pocket aces held against Stembera’s pocket kings to send the crucial pot his way.
Two-time WPT main event champion Tony Tran got the lat of his chips in preflop with pocket sixes and found himself behind the pocket kings of a surging Sinishtaj. The larger pair held up and Tran was knocked out in sixth place, earning $304,161 for his third POY-qualified score of the year. He now sits in 10th place in the overall standings as a result.
Sinishtaj found yet another large pocket pair to score the next elimination at the final table. Stembera got all-in preflop with A-K suited and Sinishtaj called with pocket jacks. An ace-high flop saw Stembera take the lead, but a jack on the turn gave Sinishtaj a set. Stembera improved to trip aces on the river, but Sinishtaj’s jacks full were still best. Stembera earned $390,053 for his fifth-place showing.
Vanessa Kade was the next to be sent home by Sinishtaj. with a board of K32QQ, Sinishtaj moved all-in. Kade thoguht it over before making the call with AA, only to have Sinishtaj reveal the 65 for a flush. Kade earned $527,481 for the largest live cash of her career. Kade won $1,514,920 in an online tournament last year, taking down the 15th anniversary running of PokerStars’ Sunday Million by outlasting a field of 69,876 entries.
2019 World Series of Poker main event third-place finisher Alex Livingston ultimately finished third in this huge $10,000 buy-in event as well. His last chips went in preflop with K-J, only to have Sinishtaj pick up A-K suited. Livingston found no help from the board and was sent to the rail with $745,749. He now has more than $5.5 million in career earnings after this latest deep run.
Heads-up play began with Sinishtaj and Isaac Kempton sitting on essentially even stacks. Despite being quite deep, it took only a few hands for the champion to be decided. In the final hand, Kempton raised from the button with JJ and Sinishtaj three-bet to 2,300,000 with AA. Kempton four-bet to 5,600,000 and Sinishtaj called. The 776 flop saw Sinishtaj check-call a bet of 2,800,000. The 6 on the turn prompted another check-call, this time for 4,200,000. The K completed the board and Sinishtaj checked yet again. kempton moved all-in and Sinishtaj made the call with his pocket aces to secure the pot and the title. Kempton was awarded a career-best $1,093,314 payday as the runner-up.
Kempton, whose previous top score came when he won the 2020 WSOP Circuit Seminole Hard Rock Tampa main event for $290,974, now sits in fourth place in the POY standings thanks to the 2,000 points he secured for his second-place finish.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points||PGT Points|
Winner photo credit: PokerNews / Jamie Thompson.