John Cynn is best known as the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. Cynn’s poker accomplishments, however, aren’t limited to just that run, in which he took home the Main Event bracelet.
The 34-year-old poker pro started racking up scores in poker tournaments as early as 2010, and his rise to the top in the 2018 Main Event wasn’t his first deep run in the WSOP’s biggest tournament.
Let’s take a look at life and poker accomplishments of John Cynn:
John Cynn’s Beginnings in Poker
John Cynn began to develop a passion for poker in high school, and the native of Northbrook, Illinois carried that interest in the game into his college days at Indiana University.
Cynn studied finance and supply chain management in college, but found himself looking for a new path in life after being laid off from his first post-college job. By this time, Cynn felt he had the skills to make a move into a full-time poker career, and made the decision to play full-time poker for a year and see how things turned out.
Cynn eventually re-joined the work force, but poker kept calling. He began to enjoy a degree of tournament poker success in the early 2010s, racking up a quartet of five-figure scores between 2012 and 2015.
Along with tournaments, Cynn also started taking a shot at the mid and high stakes private cash game scene in Los Angeles. By the summer of 2016, Cynn’s poker career hadn’t quite taken off yet, but that was about to change.
Cynn at the 2016 WSOP Main Event
By 2016, Cynn was well familiar with the World Series of Poker. His first WSOP cash came in 2012, and he came into the 2016 edition of the festival with four WSOP cashes under his belt.
The 2016 Main Event was a life-changing result for Cynn. After adding two more small cashes to his WSOP resume in earlier events that summer, Cynn made a deep run in the Main Event and scored what was at the time the biggest payday of his career, by far.
Cynn finished 11th in the 2016 Main Event, cashing for $650,000. Cynn bowed out just two spots short of the final table, eliminated by eventual runner-up Gordon Vayo. Qui Nguyen went on to win the tournament for an $8,005,310 prize.
For many players, an 11th-place showing in the WSOP Main Event could be the pinnacle of a poker career. Just two years later, however, Cynn was destined to go even bigger.
2018 Main Event Champion
The $650,000 take from the 2016 Main Event allowed Cynn to start playing more frequently in some higher buy-in events. He added five more five-figure scores to his resume over the next two years, with the best of those coming in a 10th-place finish at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event for $80,280.
Cynn cashed four times at the 2017 WSOP, but his best results at the World Series were yet to come.
At the 2018 WSOP Main Event, Cynn defied the odds and became one of the few players in the modern era to make a second deep run in the Main Event. He came to Las Vegas at the end of a lease in Los Angeles, and therefore told WSOP media that his official residence was “homeless” during his Main Event run.
In reality, Cynn was bunking in friends’ hotel rooms in Las Vegas during the WSOP, with plans to move into the guest house of another friend in Las Vegas following the series.
The 2018 WSOP couldn’t have concluded any better for Cynn. He bested his 2016 run by making the final table, in a lineup that included 2009 Main Event champ Joe Cada.
Both Cynn and Cada shared the rare distinction of making a second deep run in the Main Event in 2018. Cada eventually finished fifth.
The final two players came down to Cynn and Tony Miles, who battled in the longest heads-up match in the history of the Main Event. The two played 199 hands in a grueling 10-hour head-to-head battle, with Cynn eventually coming out on top.
Cynn’s victory came in a field of 7,874 players, the third-largest Main Event field in WSOP history. He took home an $8,800,000 payday for the victory.
John Cynn’s Life After the Championship
Cynn hasn’t been seen too much since his Main Event win. In various post-WSOP interviews, Cynn expressed a desire to travel the world and play in high stakes cash games.
He did appear on a couple of episodes of Poker After Dark shortly after his 2018 championship. Let’s take a look at this hand from the “Masters of the Main” series on Poker After Dark, in which he goes head-to-head in a battle against 2017 WSOP Main Event champ Scott Blumstein:
Cynn’s career tournament earnings currently sit at just below the $10 million mark. He added another six-figure cash, the third of his career, with a fourth-place finish in the $25k Super High Roller event at the 2019 partypoker Millions South America.
That finish marked the first time Cynn has taken home a six-figure payday in a tournament other than the WSOP Main Event. Cynn did appear in the 2019 Main Event, making it to Day 3 before a flush over trips hand sent him to the rail.
Cynn has a knack for big finishes in the Main Event, and the future could certainly hold another deep run in poker’s biggest tournament for the easygoing and occasionally “homeless” pro.