Tony Winner: New Wynn Millions Champion Sinishtaj Talks About Life on the Poker Felt

March 16, 2022
Tony Winner: New Wynn Millions Champion Sinishtaj Talks About Life on the Poker Felt

Poker has been good to Tony Sinishtaj over the last few years, whether battling it on the online tables or in live tournament fields. Over the weekend, the New Jersey poker pro took down what has become one of the most recognized live tournaments of the year.

Sinishtaj notched the biggest win of his career, scoring the title in the $10,000 Wynn Millions in Las Vegas for $1.7 million. It’s a massive win for a player who already has titles on some of the game’s biggest stages.

“It’s really still unbelievable,” he told USPoker this week. “I’ve been playing poker for nearly half my life, put so much time into it. It’s almost a relief more than anything.”

Huge win at the Wynn

The Wynn Millions was launched in 2021 after the World Series of Poker shifted to the fall. The tournament offered a bit of a replacement for the Main Event, a $10,000 buy-in with a $10 million guarantee.

That first event produced a field of 1,328 entries for a $12.8 million prize pool. Andrew Moreno came out on top last year for a $1.5 million score.

The event returned this year with the same  guarantee and Sinishtaj became the second Wynn millionaire. This year saw a dip in entries to 1,075 and a $10.1 million prize pool.

Despite that, Sinishtaj recognizes the event as a nice bullet point on the tournament schedule. It’s also a nice bullet point on his own live tournament record, which now totals more than $3.4 million.

“The event is amazing,” he says. “One way I described it to friends is you just don’t hear any complaints. The staff at the Wynn is very professional, and in my opinion, one of the best places to play tournament poker.”

Cricital fold at the final table

Taking the title meant playing nine days of poker, which included a satellite entry that saw him bust on Day 1A. He then bought in on Day 1B and found some traction, advancing to the final table where he initially sat fourth.

The final nine players brought quite a stacked field that included Vanessa Kade, winner of PokerStars’ 15th anniversary Sunday Million in 2021 for $1.5 million.

Others included Tony Tran (two-time World Poker Tour champion), 2019 WSOP Main Event final table qualifier Alex Livingston (third for $4 million), and talented high stakes regular Sean Perry.

Sinishtaj knew he had his work cut out for him and things didn’t begin well. With a plan in mind however, the Garden State grinder stuck to his strategy.

“I had a terrible seat to start the final table,” he says. “Kade was to my left with the chip lead and then Livingston and (eventual runner-up) Isaac Kempton to follow with huge stacks as well.

“I knew coming in that it wasn’t going to be easy. I needed to be patient and was able to stay within my game plan. Things definitely went my way when I really needed them to.”

As he saw some of his stack whittled away, a key hand developed that helped determine his fate. With pocket Aces, he and an opponent saw a board of Q-10-X. His bet on the flop, was called, and a King fell on the turn.

Facing a large bet, Sinishtaj ultimately sent his Aces to the muck and his opponent showed Ace-Jack for the Broadway straight. The fortuitous move kept him alive in the tournament. His big fold proved even more timely when another key hand developed.

“Not too long afterward, I woke up with Aces after an open, then three-bet, and cold four-bet ahead of me,” he says. “My Aces held this time around and gave me some life.”

A growing poker resumé

The rest is poker history and Sinishtaj now has yet another impressive poker accomplishment. Beyond the Wynn Millions, the poker pro has two WPT titles as well.

The first came in 2017 at the Seminole Rock Poker Showdown, where he scored $661,283 and added his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.

Sinishtaj, who lives in Englewood, New Jersey, is no stranger to success in the online poker realm either. In 2020, he added a second WPT title by winning the Borgata Online at partypoker US Network for $77,350.

Now with another win under his belt, more poker is on the horizon. He’ll be hitting the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in April before heading to Vegas for the entire WSOP.

Online poker remains a part of his schedule as well. In 2021, a WSOP online bracelet almost fell his way. He finished runner-up in the $888 Pot Limit Omaha for $58,756.

Some more WSOP online events may be in his future, although being a father of three doesn’t make that easy.

“It’s difficult for me to get in online events because I have three little kids at home, but I do my best,” says Sinishtaj, who also now sits atop the PokerGO Tour leaderboard after taking down the Wynn Millions. “I definitely will play a few, I just wish they would start a little earlier. 7 pm is a bit late for me to start a tournament.”

Prior to the victory at the Wynn, Sinishtaj had been doing some house hunting for hi family. The seven-figure score makes that a bit easier now.

And despite his string of nice scores, the new Wynn champion plans to keep getting better and staying humble.

“As far as my skills,” he notes, “I’m a work in progress.”

* Photo courtesy Wynn Poker/Jamie Thomson

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