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Final Table Takedown: Tony Sinishtaj Tops Wynn Millions Main Event

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Jun 15, 2022


Tony Sinishtaj grew up in the Bronx and in Queens, New York. The 41-year-old fell in love with the game back in 2003 after watching Chris Moneymaker win the WSOP main event and has been playing professionally for the last 12 years.

In 2017, he became a World Poker Tour champion, taking down the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $661,283. The family man and father of three has been close to winning gold, finishing second in a WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City and runner-up in an online WSOP bracelet event last year.

Then last March, Sinishtaj secured the largest payday of his career, banking $1,655,952 for topping a field of 1,075 in the $10,000 buy-in Wynn Millions main event. He now has more than $3.6 million in lifetime earnings. Card Player caught up with Sinishtaj to break down a few key hands from his run to the title.

Event: 2022 Wynn Millions Main Event
Buy-In: $10,000
Entrants: 1,075
Prize Pool: $10,105,000
First-Place Prize: $1,655,952

Stacks: Tony Sinishtaj – 1,100,000 (55 BB) Joey Weissman – 1,500,000 (75 BB) BB Villain – 750,000 (36 BB)
Blinds: 10,000-20,000 with a 20,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 41

Craig Tapscott: It’s been about five years since we spoke about your last big win on the World Poker Tour in 2017. I’m curious. How often do you compete in tournaments? Are you pretty much on the circuit each month? And do you also supplement your play with cash games regularly?

Tony Sinishtaj: I make four trips to Florida per year to play the WPT series down there plus their $5,000 event every August. I also try to play as much of the WSOP events in Las Vegas and the Circuit as possible. This year I will be in Las Vegas for all six weeks, but it’s on average two weeks or so revolving around the main event. And apart from those stops, I try and make it to a tournament like the Wynn Millions or the Five Diamond event each year. I do play some local cash games, but it’s mostly recreational.

Action: Weissman raised to 45,000 from the lojack. Sinishtaj called from the cutoff holding 2Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit. BB Villain called.
Flop: 8Club Suit 6Club Suit 2Spade Suit (pot: 165,000)
BB Villain checked. Weissman bet 55,000.

CT: Pretty good flop for you. What’s the plan? Besides your heart beating a little faster on this board.

TS: My plan here is to play the hand the way I would most of my continuing range and just call his 55,000 bet. We also have the big blind in the hand who might see this flop as an opportunity to raise. However…

Sinishtaj called. BB Villain folded.
Turn: JSpade Suit (pot: 275,000)
Weissman bet 200,000.

CT: What’s you read on Weissman at this point? What range did you place him on? He is obviously showing a lot of strength here.

TS: I expect Joey to be betting pretty big on this turn card. And he did for 200,000 into a 275,000 pot. At this point I felt shoving was the best possible option.

Sinishtaj moved all-in. Weissman called and revealed AClub Suit JClub Suit.
River: 5Heart Suit (pot: 2,250,000)

CT: You definitely dodged some bullets there. Nice hand.

TS: Thanks. This pot was huge for me at this point in the tournament. With this double up, I set myself up to make a late push to the final table.

Stacks: Tony Sinishtaj – 1,800,000 (18 BB) Alex Livingston – 8,000,000 (80 BB) Michael Stembera – 6,100,000 (61 BB) Tony Tran – 5,000,000 (50 BB)
Blinds: 50,000-100,000 with a 100,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 6

CT: What was your plan once the table was down to the final six players? You’ve been in these situations many times in the past. What’s going through your head as the shortest stack at the table?

TS: I am definitely trying to stay aggressive at this point. That’s my plan with 18 big blinds and the shortest stack. I know that I have to continue to be aggressive. Mainly because it’s difficult for them to three-bet me light without committing themselves to my shove. I also have the least ICM (Independent Chip Model) pressure as the shortest stack by a decent margin. 

CT: This was clearly a very huge hand for you.

TS: Yes. It was one of the key hands that propelled me to the win.

Livingston raised to 225,000 from UTG. Stembera reraised to 600,000 from the cutoff. Tran raised to 2,100,000 from the button.

TS: I looked down at aces in the small blind. A dream scenario. So I…

Sinishtaj moved all-in holding AClub Suit ASpade Suit from the small blind. Livingston folded. Stembera shoved all-in. Tran folded Q-Q face up. Stembera turned over KDiamond Suit KClub Suit.

CT: Wow. Aces, kings, queens all dealt in the same hand.

Board: 3Club Suit 7Diamond Suit 10Diamond Suit JHeart Suit 2Spade Suit (pot: 6,125,000)

CT: A lucky cooler hand like that has to happen usually once during a tournament to cataplult a player to a deep finish. That was crazy.

TS: I know. I held for a massive triple up to go to over 6,000,000 chips. Obviously a hand that plays itself, but still it was very fortunate to have it happen at one of the biggest moments of my poker career. 

Stacks: Tony Sinishtaj – 22,000,000 (73 BB) Isaac Kempton – 21,500,000 (71 BB)
Blinds: 150,000-300,000 with a 300,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 2

TS: This was the third hand of our heads-up match.

Kempton raised from the button to 650,000.

CT: What is your read on Kempton after playing with him?

TS: Kempton seemed to me to be a very strong player. I felt he would lean towards aggression in close spots. Therefore, I decided to trap with my pocket aces in this dynamic.

Sinishtaj raised to 2,100,000 from the big blind holding AClub Suit ADiamond Suit. Kempton reraised to 5,400,000.

CT: A dream scenario for you.

TS: Yes. At this point I felt calling was the best option, so…

Sinishtaj called.
Flop: 6Diamond Suit 6Spade Suit 7Heart Suit (pot: 11,100,000)
Sinishtaj checked, and Kempton bet 2,400,000.

CT: What’s your plan to get all the chips?

TS: On the flop I felt that the stacks and pot was being set up to be all-in by the river. So, my plan was to check-call down.

Sinishtaj called.
Turn: 7Club Suit (pot: 15,900,000)
Sinishtaj checked. Kempton bet 4,300,000. Sinishtaj called.

TS: The pot is now bloated up too over 24 million and we each have about 10 million behind.

River: KSpade Suit (pot: 24,500,000)
Sinishtaj checked.

CT: He could definitely have pocket kings as one of the hands in his range. But for sure you’re not folding.

TS: Never. By the river he definitely could have had me beat some percentage of the time.

CT: So, what now?

TS: If he was bluffing, he would definitely shove trying to get me to fold hands like 9-9 and 10-10. After some thought he announced all-in. I’m never folding, so I didn’t waste any time and beat him into the pot.

Kempton moved all-in and Sinishtaj called. Kempton showed JDiamond Suit JHeart Suit but it was no good.

CT: The game has changed a lot in the past five years. Can you share how you keep up with the current strategy and evolution of tournament poker?

TS: In poker if you’re not improving your game, you will be left behind. That will hold true at whatever skill level you’re currently at. I’m constantly talking to friends about hands and studying, and in my 20 years of poker I feel I’ve improved on my game constantly. I don’t worry too much about getting better than anyone else, but my past self. As long as I’m better today than I was yesterday, I feel like I’ve done my job.  ♠