This year’s Mega Millions XXI tournament was a huge success, with nine players walking away with a nice paycheck.
The tournament which ran for 13 days in late August at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Los Angeles, California, attracted a massive field of 5,750 players spread across a total of 30 starting flights.
For as low as $160, players were given the chance to enter into the tournament, with the potential to convert their small investment into a huge payout.
The massive turnout generated a prize pool of $1,647,125, well above the $1 million guarantee, with the final table of nine players eventually batting it out on August 27. One of the players that made it through to the final table was Phil Hellmuth.
The “Poker Brat” had chosen to buy directly into Day 2 of the event for $3,700. Based on live updates, Hellmuth advanced to Day 3 and then reached the final table, after going on his usual rant.
When the final table was down to five players, Hellmuth and his four opponents agreed to a deal, with each of them already guaranteed to receive more than $90,000 regardless of the outcome. The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner eventually busted in fifth place and took home $95,693.
Final Table Results
When the final day kicked off, Hellmuth was among the players who had smaller stacks. Play was dominated by Triet Nguyen who ended up winning the tournament and runner-up Jose Mendoza. There was little action when the final table started, until Alex Tran managed to heat things up with two knockouts. His first victim was Pogos Simityan and went on to eliminate Eric Wu. However, Tran’s knock-out power was short-lived as he eventually became the third player to leave the table in 7th place for $33,670.
Todd Kriesman followed Tran to the rail in 6th place for $42,745, leaving just five players to compete for the top prize. The survivors struck a deal, leaving $60,000 to play for, alongside the $5,000 WPT seat. After Hellmuth’s exit, Vuong Do busted in fourth, earning $92,825.
The three remaining players, which included Nguyen, Jose Mendoza, and Joo Park made a second deal, and ultimately it was Nguyen who secured the title for $167,549 along with a free entry into the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event. Park finished third for $138,985, while Mendoza walked away with $145,266 as runner up.