Joe Cassidy Defeats Scotty Nguyen To Win First Bracelet
Joe Cassidy has been a consistent performer on the US poker circuit for many years now, but surely his finest hour to date came yesterday in Las Vegas as he won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in the $5,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Limit event, defeating five-time bracelet winner Scotty Nguyen in a heads-up battle that had been held over from Wednesday.
When the two resumed, Cassidy held nearly a 4:1 chip lead, and in early exchanges he extended that beyond 10:1. Just when it looked like Cassidy would have an easy ride to the bracelet, however, Nguyen staged a comeback. Twice he nearly managed to take the chip lead, but Cassidy was able to pull away each time. Cassidy picked up $294,777 for his win, while Nguyen had to be content with $182,213.
Brian Meinders finished as runner-up in $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event two years ago, but he went one better on Thursday in the $1,500 Limit Shootout to pick up his first WSOP bracelet as well as the $116,118 first prize.
Play at the final table began slowly, but once the eliminations began, they came steadily. Meinders enjoyed some early fortune when his pocket jacks spiked a third against the AA of Ian Johns, sending the latter to the rail in ninth. He also accounted for Sean Rice, Preston Derden, Brock Parker and Victor Ramdin on his way to the heads-up against Darin Thomas. Meinders began the heads-up at around a 3:1 chip advantage, and he was only once at a marginally worse advantage through the play. Thomas survived a couple of all-ins, but eventually succumbed when Meinders got his money in with straight and flush draws, with the river card completing both hands, either of which was sufficient to defeat Thomas’s pair.
Eighteen players made it through to the final day of the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament, including quite a few notable players such as Oleksii Kovalchuk, Dutch Boyd, John Racener and Erik Seidel. Seidel began very short-stacked and was the first out, while Racener battled for some time with his few remaining chips to earn thirteenth position. Kovalchuk had begun the day in third place but his stack ebbed away, and a twelfth place finish saw him miss the final table. Dutch Boyd did make that, but couldn’t do better than eighth.
The most important pot of the day came when play was four-handed with overnight leader Vadzim Kursevich getting his chips in against Austin Scott. When Scott won the hand, he took an enormous lead, and soon powered his way to the heads-up against Brett Richey. Scott held a huge lead going in and he never relinquished it on his way to the $361,797 first prize and the all-important bracelet.
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