Sung Joo Hyun has won the 2021 Wynn Spring Classic $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em championship event, to secure a $323,409 payday and his second title of the year. Hyun took down the WPT DeepStacks Venetian $1,600 buy-in event just six weeks prior to this victory for $208,335. The two scores are the largest of his career, and make up the majority of his $1,033,602 in total earnings.
Hyun has broken out on the tournament scene over the past year. The South Korean native won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet in 2020 by taking down a $500 buy-in event during the WSOP Online series held last summer for $161,898.
In addition to the title and the money, this latest victory for Hyun also earned him 1,260 Card Player Player of the Year points. When combined with the 912 points he earned for his win at Venetian in February, Hyun now sits in second place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker. He has 2,172 total points and $531,744 in year-to-date earnings, which puts him 899 points behind current leader Qing Liu, who finished 11th ($32,815) in this event for his ninth cash of the year.
This event attracted 614 entries across two starting flights and a lengthy registration period that extended into the early levels of day 2. The strong turnout created a prize pool of $1,985,676 to nearly double the tournament’s $1 million guarantee. The top 63 finishers made the money in this event, with a min-cash being worth $8,342.
The final day of the event began with 34 players remaining, including plenty of highly accomplished tournament regulars. Notables that survived to the final day but fell short of the final table include two-time WSOP bracelet winner and Card Player Publisher Barry Shulman (34th – $12,021), bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus (33rd – $12,021), high-roller regular Sean Winter (31st – $13,838), bracelet winner James Anderson (27th – $13,838), World Poker Tour champions Ben Palmer (25th – $13,838) and Aaron Van Blarcum (22nd – $15,919), five-time _WSOP Circuit- ring winner Scott Stewart (21st – $15,919), bracelet winner Erik Cajelais (20th – $18,300), WPT winner Jordan Cristos (17th – $21,122), three-time WPT champion Chino Rheem (14th – $24,366), Ray Qartomy (13th – $28,095), bracelet winner Kevin Song (12th – $28,095), the previously mentioned Qing Liu (11th – $32,815), and recent Card Player Poker Tour Venetian main event champion Ankush Mandavia (10th – $32,815).
With Adam Hendrix’s elimination in ninth place ($38,611), Matthias Auer took the lead into the official final table while Hyun sat in fourth chip position. WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner Chris Moorman was the first to fall. The online tournament legend three-bet all-in with K10 from the small blind and Auer, who had opened on the button, called with AK. Auer flopped an ace and held from there to send Moorman packing in eighth place ($45,760).
Hyun scored his first knockout of the day when he picked up pocket kings against the K8 of David Cabrera Polop, who three-bet shoved from the big blind over Hyun’s raise from the small blind. Hyun called and saw his hand hold up to bust Polop in seventh place ($55,291).
Mihai Manole’s run in this event came to an end when he got all-in with A7 facing the pocket jacks of Matthias Auer. The board improved neither player and Manole earned $69,588 for his sixth-place showing. Not long after that, Matthew Wantman three-bet all-in with K7 and received a call from Hyun’s AK. Hyun’s superior kicker ended up being the difference, and Wantman settled for $89,842 as the fifth-place finisher.
Three-time WPT champion Eric Afriat got all-in on a KJ43 turn with 43 for two pair. He was up against the 82 of Auer for a turned flush. Afriat didn’t improve to a full house on the river and was eliminated in fourth place, earning $121,450.
With that Auer took a massive lead into three-handed play. Hyun closed the gap somewhat by knocking out Will Failla in third place. Failla had managed a number of double-ups, but his comeback push ended when his pocket eights lost a race against the AQ of Hyun. An ace on the river secured the pot for Hyun, while Failla took home $173,240 for third place.
Heads-up play began with Auer holding 15,560,000 to Hyun’s 9,000,000. The final two eventually came to a deal that saw two two essentially chop the remaining prize money, with an extra $1 and the title going to the winner in a best of three series of flips. Hyun won the first two hands, coming from behind both times, to lock up the trophy. Auer earned $323,408 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|1||Sung Joo Hyun||$323,409||1,260|
|7||David Cabrera Polop||$55,291||315|
Hyun photo credit: WPT / Joe Giron.