WSOP TODAY: June 14; Cassidy KOs stellar field to win first bracelet

Highlights from day 19 of the 2012 WSOP (June 14)

Joe Cassidy (pictured left), a Las Vegas poker pro who initially cashed at the 2004 WSOP and has been grinding away since always came up short of poker’s ultimate prize. That was until he conquered one the brassiest of final tables played so far this year.

Cassidy kept his cool during an-extended 10.5 hours playing session spread out over two days that included the likes of Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen, Mike Matusow, Meng La, Greg Jamison, Elie Doft, Bart Hanson, and Ryan Lenaghan to win Event #24, the $$5000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split World Championship.

Phil Ivey’s third final table appearance within a six-day window was the talk of the WSOP when cards initially flew into the air. The final table area was filled to capacity and standing room only during much of the day and night, despite a playing session that dragged out until 3am. After Ivey bounced out in third place, Cassidy and Nguyen agreed to resume play on Thursday to decide the winner.

Cassidy ultimately defeated 1998 world champion Nguyen in heads-up play. He collected $294,777 in prizemoney, plus his first WSOP gold bracelet. Cassidy’s WSOP resume now includes 15 cashes, five final tables appearances, and one victory.

With this memorable debut victory, Cassidy’s WSOP earnings now total $678,190.  His overall tournament resume now includes more than 30 major cashes in both the US and Europe, amounting to nearly $2 million in live earnings.

• It was a case of mixed fortunes for event #26 winner Gabe Scott. The $3000 Pot Limit Omaha champion may have collected USD $361,797 for his win, but the news was not all good for the 23-year-old poker pro from Oklahoma City, OK, as his NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, went down to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA finals. Nonetheless, Scott will probably be able to live with the "split”!

Scott claimed a thrilling victory, overcoming a significant chip disadvantage during the latter stages of competition and managed to defeat a formidable final table line-up that included several outstanding international players – including Vadzim Kursevich, (Belarus), Huykeim Nguyen (Germany), and Thomas Pettersson (Sweden).

Also in the final table hunt were Brett Richey, Scott Stanko, Tom Chambers, Romik Vartzar, and two-time gold bracelet winner Russ "Dutch" Boyd. This was Scott’s second time to cash in a WSOP event. Proving this year’s victory was no fluke, he final tabled the same event in 2011, finishing in eighth place.

• Brian Meinders, a New Jersey teacher as well full-time poker player, pulled off poker’s equivalent of a triple play over the past three days, winning a steady progression of increasingly-more difficult matches en route to a World Series of Poker bracelet.

Meinders won the $1500 buy-in Limit Hold’em Shootout tournament (event #25). The central New Jersey-based poker player from the town of Jackson, enjoyed his highest profile victory ever, following two previous deep runs in previous WSOP events.

The top 63 finishers in this event collected prize money. The final table included at least two notable faces including two-time gold bracelet winner Brock Parker (fifth) as well as tournament journeyman Victor Ramdin (fourth). This was Ramdin’s 13th time in the money since the start of last year’s WSOP, which ties him with Shawn Buchanan for most cashes over the past last two years.

Coincidentally, Buchanan cashed in this event as well. The tournament began on Tuesday with 366 entrants. Among the gold bracelet winners who cashed were Matt Matros, Greg Mueller and Tex Barch.

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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