Cassidy Defeats Nguyen, Ivey to Win First WSOP Bracelet

Joe Cassidy
Joe Cassidy defeats the toughest WSOP final table in recent memory.

In one of the most-watched final tables so far this summer American high-stakes pro Joe Cassidy defeated Phil Ivey and Scotty Nguyen to win his first WSOP bracelet.

Cassidy, who is rated by his peers as one of the toughest live cash game players on the planet, outlasted an absolutely stacked final-table roster to win Event 24, $5k Omaha-8, in Las Vegas Thursday.

Bowing out in second was former world champion of poker Scotty Nguyen and finishing third was eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey, the man most consider to be the greatest poker player alive.

Also at the final table was Omaha-8 specialist and three-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow.

Cassidy pocketed $294,777 for the win, as well as the esteem that comes with defeating three living poker legends.

“To look down the results and see those names and to know that on one day at least you were able to beat them definitely means something,” Cassidy told the press moments after defeating Nguyen.

Originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming Cassidy was introduced to gambling at a young age. His uncle exposed the youngster to small dice games and underground poker games long before Cassidy began playing seriously in Atlantic City while attending George Washington University in DC.

Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey made his third final table of the 2012 WSOP.

Cassidy has gone on to play in some of the biggest cash games in the world, and was a regular in the biggest Omaha-8 games online, sometimes with stakes as high as $1,500/$3,000.

To put it simply, inside the poker world he was already regarded as one of the best.

Gold Bracelet Equals Validation for Cassidy

“Bracelets definitely mean a lot to people inside of poker but as far as talking to your friends and family outside of poker, the first thing they want to know is whether you have a gold bracelet,” explained Cassidy.

“So this win kind of validates me outside of poker. My peers already know I’m a good player and I didn’t need to prove that to anyone but having the bracelet on the résumé definitely means something,” he said.

This was Phil Ivey’s third final table of the 2012 WSOP, and his second in three days. Fueled by reported seven-figure bracelet bets Ivey has been on a massive heater so far this summer.

Scotty Nguyen already has two bracelets in Omaha Eight-or-Better, but was forced to settle for second-place and $182,213.

“I was thinking as I was walking back on the break after Scotty had doubled up for like the fourth time, ‘Does this guy really need a sixth bracelet?’” Cassidy joked.

After three-handed play ended with Ivey’s elimination at roughly 3am Thursday morning, play was halted and the two heads-up players returned at 2pm to play down to a winner.

And while Scotty Nguyen looked to be staging a comeback, Cassidy was able to contain the former world champ and close out the win in just a few levels.

“It’s great to play with people like that because you learn a lot. You see a lot of little things they do in hands that you would never think of so it was a great experience as a poker player,” said Cassidy of his time with Ivey and Nguyen.

Cassidy battling two poker legends.

Shorthanded O-8 Experience Pays Dividends

Joe Cassidy has a wealth of experience playing shorthanded high-stakes poker and is no stranger to Omaha Eight-or-Better.

“I’ve played a lot of Omaha Eight-or-Better two-, three- and four-handed on the internet,” said Cassidy.

“Usually those high-stakes games are three or four-handed so playing shorthanded was a lot more comfortable than playing full ring on all the other days. I do think it favored me when we got shorthanded,” he said.

“I guess it was unfortunate that I had to play against two other players who also have a lot of shorthanded O-8 experience but I felt comfortable at least,” added Cassidy.

Few players on earth can match the amount of experience that Ivey and Nguyen brought to the table, but, at least today, Cassidy was able to come out on top.

“You’re just thinking about how many times they’ve been there and how much experience they have in those situations, and obviously they’re winners and they can both get the job done so it really forced me to elevate my play,” said Cassidy.

For a full rundown of the final table and the heads-up match, click through to our Live Coverage of Event 24, $5k Omaha-8 at the 2012 WSOP.

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