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Joe Cassidy Wins WSOP $5,000 Omaha Eight-or-Better Championship

Tops Scotty Nguyen and Phil Ivey En Route To First Bracelet

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Joe CassidyAfter play was suspended late on Wednesday night, Joe Cassidy returned on Thursday afternoon and defeated Scotty Nguyen heads-up to capture his very first World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Cassidy had to overcome possibly the most decorated final table yet at the 2012 WSOP in event no. 24, the WSOP $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better championship, to capture the bracelet, the first place prize of $294,777 and 816 Card Player Player of the Year points.

“You saw who all was at the table, Mike Matusow, Phil Ivey and Scotty Nguyen. Obviously their resumes speak for themselves,” said Cassidy just after the win. “It’s great to play with players like that as well, you learn a lot watching them and seeing the little things they do in hands, things you might not think to do in tournaments. You know, it was just a great experience as a poker player.”

Cassidy is a well-respected cash game pro, who now has career tournament earnings in excess of $1.8 million, but had never before won a live tournament title. With years of experience playing some of the biggest cash games live and online, Cassidy is still pleased to get a marquee win like this under his belt.

“You know, its kind of one of those things where it means more to people outside of poker, inside of poker it means a lot too, obviously, but in terms of talking to your family or when you tell people what you do, they always want to know if you have a gold bracelet. So now it kind of validates me outside of poker, because I think that among my peers, people knew that I was a good player already and I didn’t need to prove that to anyone, but just to have that on the resume means something.”

Cassidy played late into the night on Thursday, battling three-handed with Nguyen and Ivey, both of whom are decorated Omaha players with tons of experience playing the game in a tournament format. Cassidy thought that despite their experience, he still felt most comfortable playing the game short-handed.

Scotty Nguyen“I have played a lot more Omaha eight-or-better two, three and four handed in bigger mixed games, $1,000-$2,000 and $1,500-$3,000 so playing short handed was a lot more comfortable for me than playing in the ring games we were in the other few days. I think that favored me for sure, when we got short.”

Ivey was going for his ninth WSOP bracelet, at his third final table of this series, while Nguyen was trying for his sixth bracelet. With these two players chasing the glory, Cassidy must have been aware of how much the win meant to his two opponents.

“I was thinking, as I was walking on the last break after Scotty doubled up for the fourth time, does this guy really need his sixth bracelet?” said Cassidy with a laugh. “I mean, obviously you think about that, how many times they’ve been there and how much more experience they have in those situations. Obviously they are both winners and both can get the job done, so it kind of forced me to elevate my play.”

Eventually Cassidy did come out on top, eliminating Ivey in third place for $136,046 and 544 POY points, which moved him into a tie for 12th place in the overall POY standings with Aubin Cazals. Nguyen came into heads-up with a 3-to-1 chip deficit, and despite a few small comebacks, was eventually sent to the rail in second with $182,213 and 680 POY points. After his victory was sealed, Cassidy was asked whether the win was made sweeter by having to defeat the caliber of opponents he faced.

“Of course that makes it sweeter. To look down and see those guys and know that you were able to beat them, on one day at least, that definitely means something.”

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Joe Cassidy $294,777 816
2 Scotty Nguyen $182,213 680
3 Phil Ivey $136,046 544
4 Meng La $102,260 408
5 Gregory Jamison $77,342 340
6 Elie Doft $58,873 272
7 Bart Hanson $45,084 204
8 Mike Matusow $34,748 136
9 Ryan Lenaghan $26,940 68