The Wynn Winter Classic Main Event saw 672 players gather to battle it out for a first prize of $626,499.
672 players is nothing compared to the turnout for the $10 million guaranteed event that the Wynn ran earlier in the year. That $10,000 buy-in tourney gathered 1,328 entries, close to double the turnout of this event.
Still, 600+ players for a $5k just before Christmas is nothing to sneeze at. And the Wynn Winter Classic still smashed the $2 million guarantee by a wide margin with $3,306,240 in the pot.
The top spot ultimately went to Eli Berg, who got to win the event with his son watching from the rail.
“It’s unbelievable,” Berg said in his post-win interview. “It’s great. I am very fortunate to run well here with the big crowd and beautiful venue. I feel very lucky. You know, you only have so long to live in a tournament. Things are going to go up and down, and at some point, you’re going to try to run well and see what happens.”
Berg had to beat Mark Ioli heads up to take down the event, at a final tablet that included Joseph Cheong (4th – $196,391) and Shannon Shorr (3rd – $278,749). Other big name players who made the money included Katie Lindsay, Jared Jaffee, and Dominik Nitsche.
Berg’s victory came during the 150,000-300,000 blind level when he picked up A♣J♠. Ioli was down to 10 million in chips. Berg was thrilled to get his stack in while he dominated Ioli’s hold cards, the A♥T♣.
The first card off the deck was T♥ giving Ioli some hopes. However, the next card off the deck — the J♣ — turned the whole thing back around on him.
The rest of the board was a meaningless 8♦3♣6♠ giving Berg the win and the better part of $626,499.
“I was lucky to get it in good,” Berg said when the dust had settled. “You need that to win a tournament like this. That’s the way I bounced back. The cards bounced back for me. It’s most special. It couldn’t be any better. This is the pinnacle for me.”
The Wynn Poker Room’s twitter account congratulated Berg. “Congratulations Eli Berg on your victory in the 2021 Winter Classic NLH Championship!” the company’s Twitter team wrote. “Mr. Berg takes home the top prize of $626,499 after defeating the 672 player field!”
2021 Wynn Winter Classic Championship complete final table results
Featured image source: Twitter