Las Vegas poker boom: Wynn Spring Classic event smashes $1 million guarantee

Geoff Fisk
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Posted on: March 16, 2021 8:37 pm EDT

Big attendance for $3,500 Championship pushes prize pool to $1,985,676

The first major poker series offered at Wynn Las Vegas in more than a year drew big numbers, including a $3,500 Championship event that nearly doubled its guarantee.

The $3,500 Championship wrapped up in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and a heads-up chop between the final two players sent both home with upwards of $323k.

Sung Joo Hyun came away as the official winner, earning $323,409 for the win. Runner-up finisher Matthias Auer (2nd – $323,408) took a nearly identical payout, as the two-way agreement between Hyun and Auer left $1 for the eventual winner.

That determination came forth through a best-of-three flip, according to PokerNews live reporting from the event. Hyun won that battle to secure the extra $1, and more importantly the official title of tournament champion.

Wynn Spring Classic $3,500 Championship final table results*

PlacePlayer NameCountryPrize
1Sung Joo HyunSouth Korea$323,409*
2Matthias AuerAustria$323,408*
3Will FaillaUnited States$173,240
4Eric AfriatCanada$121,450
5Matthew WantmanUnited States$89,842
6Mihai ManoleRomania$69,588
7David Cabrera PolopMexico$55,291
8Chris MoormanUnited Kingdom$45,760
*Results courtesy of PokerNews; ** Reflects the terms of a heads-up deal

Big names, big turnout at the Wynn Spring Classic

The three-day $3,500 Championship drew 614 total entries. That attendance shattered the $1 million guaranteed prize pool, awarding $1,985,676 total.

The top four finishers all took away six-figure prizes. Will Failla (3rd – $173,240) and Eric Afrait (4th – $121,450) were among those top four runners, followed by Matthew Wantman (5th – $89,842).

Afrait, a three-time winner on the World Poker Tour, marked one of many notable names in the hunt for the $3,500 Championship. Longtime tournament fixture Chris Moorman (8th – $45,760) added another final table appearance to a resume that includes nearly $6 million in career live tournament earnings.

The top 12 finishers included four former WSOP bracelet winners. Among those names were Hyun, Moorman, Ankush Mandavia (10th – 32,815), and Kevin Song (12th – $28,095).

Other big names near the top of the payout ladder included Qing Liu (11th – $32,815). Liu’s results so far in 2021 make him an early contender for live tournament player of the year.

Liu took down the WPT Venetian $5,000 Main Event just six days ago, earning $752,880 just down the street at the Venetian poker room. Liu followed that up with a sixth-place showing in the long-postponed WPT Gardens Poker Championship for $111,795 just two days later, although that result technically counts among Liu’s 2020 poker results.

Other big names in the money for the Wynn Spring Classic $3,500 Championship included Chino Rheem (14th – $24,366), Scott Stewart (21st – $15,919), Zhen Cai (32nd – $12,021), Jeremy Ausmus (33rd – $12,021), and Barry Shulman (34th – $12,021).

Many of the names on the 63-player payout ladder read like a who’s who of poker, and the Wynn Spring Classic $3,500 Championship has to be considered a resounding success. Another $1 million guaranteed event still remains to be played in the series, as Event #15: $1,600 No-Limit Hold’em kicks off March 18.

Featured image source: Twitter