Eli Berg Wins Wynn Winter Classic Championship for $626K

Eli Berg ended 2021 in style by winning the $5,300 Wynn Winter Classic Championship in Las Vegas for a career-best $626,499.

Eli Berg all but doubled his lifetime winnings courtesy of winning the Wynn Winter Classic Championship. The Massachusetts grinder outlasted 671 opponents in the $5,300 buy-in tournament. His reward? An impressive $626,499.

Dozens of the world’s best poker players descended on the Wynn Las Vegas sharing the same goal of padding their bankroll with one last big score before 2021 concluded. Ema Zajmovic was one such star; she became the unfortunate soul who burst the money bubble.

A player opened to 13,000 when the blinds weighed in at 3,000/6,000/6,000a. Joseph Cheong three-bet to 37,000 on the button, and Zajmovic four-bet all-in for 41,000 in the big blind. The initial raiser folded, but Cheong called. Cheong turned over 6c-5c and was in a world of trouble against Zajmovic’s Ac-As. However, the 8h-7d-4c-6h-3c gave Cheong a straight and sent the players into the money.

Berg in Top 10 Going Into Day 3

Day 2 ended with only 24 players in contention for the title. Berg finished with 1,625,000 chips, which were enough for seventh-place. Established pros, including Tim Reilly, Daniel Rezaei, Pavel Plesuv, and Martins Adeniya busted early into Day 3 proceedings. Berg busted Chris Moorman’s wife, Katie Lindsay, when his Qh-Qc held against Lindsay’s Td-9d; Lindsay fell in 15th.

Adam Monaghan crashed out in tenth, which set the final table.

Berg was second in chips going into the final table, trailing only Cheong. Z Stein did not spend much time under the spotlight. He committed the last of his chips with Kx-7x on a 7h-6c-Qd-Qh board, and lost to Zachary McDiarmid’s Ah-Kh courtesy of a 9h river.

McDiarmid did not put Stein’s chips to good use because he was the next player eliminated. He min-raised to 240,000 with Ks-Kc, and Germany’s Chris Frank called in the big blind with Qc-2c. Frank check-called a 250,000 bet on the Tc-8d-3c flop, before checking the 4c turn. McDiarmid shoved on the turn, and Frank snap-called. The 2h river reduced the player count by one.

Max Lehmanski made his way to the cashier’s cage immediately after McDiarmid. Berg min-raised to 240,000 and called when Lehmanski three-bet all-in for 1,000,000. Lehmanski showed As-Qs and was against the dominating Ad-Kc. The Ks-Th-7s-6d-3c board busted Lehmanski.

Garrett Greer crashed out in two damaging hands. First, his 8s-8c lost to Mark Ioli’s 9d-9s. This left Greer with a mere 30,000. That went into the middle with Ah-2h, which lost to Ioli’s Ad-6h.

Race On For the $626,499 Top Prize

The final five players became four when Frank fell by the wayside. Frank open-shoved for 20 big blinds with Jd-Tc from the small blind. Such a bet tends to win the pot uncontested. However, Shannon Shorr woke up in the big blind with As-Ac and instantly called. The 3h-Qc-Jc-8d-2s board busted Frank.

Cheong was the short stack at this stage, and the next out of the door. He ripped it in for 11 big blinds with Ks-Qc, and Ioli called with Ah-Kh. Neither player improved on the 3h-4d-7c-2d-Tc board, and Cheong was gone.

Ioli won a massive pot from Berg in a cruel set-over-set scenario. Ilio held 19,800,000 chips with his two opponents holding 7,100,000 between them.

Shorr exited in back-to-back hands against Berg. The first saw Shorr’s Ah-8c lose to Kh-Ts. The second saw him push for two big blinds with 6d-5s and lose to the same opponent’s Td-6h.

Ioli held a massive chip lead going into heads-up, and extended his lead through several small pots. Berg doubled through Ioli and never looked back.

The final hand occurred during the 150,000/300,000/300,000a level. Berg opened to 700,000 and called when Iloi jammed for 10,000,000. It was Ah-Tc versus Ac-Js, and the five community cards fell Th-Jd-8c-3c-6s.

Wynn Winter Classic Championship Final Table Results

Place Player Prize
1 Eli Berg $626,499
2 Mark Ioli $410,599
3 Shannon Shorr $278,749
4 Joseph Cheong $196,391
5 Chris Frank $145,144
6 Garrett Greer $112,412
7 Max Lehmanski $90,274
8 Zachary McDiarmid $74,853
9 Z Stein $63,024

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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