Los Angeles poker pro Michael Rocco has won the inaugural Wynn Winter Classic $5,300 buy-in Championship Event and earned $540,800 in first-place prize money, the biggest amount of his career.
It was the biggest buy-in tournament the venue has organized in over five years with a hooping amount of $2,740,440 guaranteed prize pool. It was also a remarkable event for Rocco. He has crossed his previous best of $423,440 for securing third in the World Poker Tour 2014 LA Poker Classic. Rocco said-
"I’ve never won a big tournament. My three biggest scores prior to this were third place. So, I’ve always gotten down there but never been able to close it down. Now I feel like I’m in a pretty good place compared to where I’ve been before."
He mentioned his recent trip to Africa as a significant factor in honing his poker skills: “I’ve tried to relearn how to play poker better. I was studying every day for 8-10 hours, which I’d never done before. I was playing bad for a really long time and I just didn’t realize it. After spending the time learning new things I feel like I have a different approach to playing.” Rocco also wanted to see himself among the best players. He stated-
"There’s so much work to do if I want to be where the best players are. I still have so many leaks compared to them. If I want to play at the highest level I have to keep working every single day … Now, moving forward, I need to work way harder. If I want to play the high rollers, which I do, I just have to try as hard as I can."
Josh Bergman was the first to leave the table after running his pocket tens into Matt Yorra’s pocket aces. He was followed to the rail by Hendrix securing 8th place and Soderstrom was the next one to depart.
Matt Yorra ended his game in sixth place and Joe Kuether was the 5th player to leave the table. Yorra’s pocket nine leads him to the end and Kuether was defeated by Ben Farrell’s pocket sevens.
Farrell again gets superior cards than Louis Salter. As a result, Salter ended his run in 4th place. But in the next hand, Farrell failed to stand against Dyer’s suited ace.
Michael Dyer got crippled quickly, and he doubled up to gain some ground to secure the 1st place. But it all came to an end soon when he pinned them on an iffy river call in the following hand.
On the final hand, K♣ 6♥ went to Rocco and Dyer got A♦ Q♣ and opened. Then Rocco called to see the flop 6♠ 3♦ K♠. Both players checked through to see the turn card open 10♦. Rocco led out, and Dyer called to see the last card on the board and it was 2♥.
Rocco moved all-in as he matched two pairs, and Dyer called, showing mere ace high. Rocco won the title and walked away making his career best payday.
The Wynn is going to host their next series – Wynn Signature Series – from January 15 to February 2, 2020 with $1.3 million guaranteed prize pools.