Michael Dyer may have been the star of the show on the first day of the WSOP Main Event final table, but he was arguably the dullest character.
Dyer, 32, bagged a massive chip lead after the deck hit him in the face repeatedly. But 2009 champion and fan favorite Joe Cada keeps hanging around.
(Cada, now 29, became the youngest player in history to become a World Series of Poker Main Event Champion when he won at age 21.)
America vs. the World
The three players eliminated on Thursday were Antoine Labat from France, Artem Metalidi from Ukraine, and Alex Lynskey from Australia — the three non-Americans to make the final table. Perhaps, that makes up for the USA’s failure to make the World Cup?
Labat, who came in as the short-stack after losing most of his chips to Nicolas Manion on the final table bubble in the memorable aces versus kings versus kings hand, busted in 9th place when, fittingly, his pocket kings lost to Metalidi’s set of queens.
Metalidi’s rungood didn’t last long, however, as he, and then Lynskey, got clipped by Aram Zobian in a race situation, both times on the river. With these three gone, when play resumes on Friday, it will be an All-American affair.
Thursday’s Eliminations (and Payouts)
7th place Alex Lynskey ($1.5 million)
8th place Artem Metalidi ($1.25 million)
9th place Antoine Labat ($1 million)
Poker fans watching on ESPN raved about the pace of play, which was much faster than final tables in recent years thanks to minimal tanking, and the lively crowd. But the player who dominated the table, Dyer, had virtually no rail.
When he scooped a pot, and he did that often, there were few, if any, cheers coming from the crowd. And Dyer didn’t have much to say throughout the session. He let his chips do the talking.
The other players were talkative and seemed to feed off the crowd. Tony Miles even got up and danced alongside his rail. The Floridian who was sporting a Seattle Seahawks jersey brought his own “12th Man” to the Amazon Room mother ship.
“Those are my buddies,” Miles said when asked by another player why he was dancing. “You’ve got to have some fun.”
Former Champ Still Grinding
Cada seemed loose and clearly exhibited signs of being experienced in pressure situations. It’s almost like he’s been in this spot. Oh, wait, he has, in 2009 when he won the whole thing.
Other than an ill-timed bluff against Dyer’s flopped set, a common theme on Thursday, Cada made few mistakes and played like you would expect from a former world champion.
Unfortunately for the University of Michigan alum, the cards didn’t cooperate. He whiffed on most flops and didn’t suck out in any hands, and with Dyer smashing the flop consistently, it was tough for Joe to build his stack.
Yet, despite his current stack (5th in chips), he’s only a few big hands away from the chip lead. Ever since Day 1, Cada has scooted by on a small stack. He just keeps doing what it takes to survive like a true professional who has been here, done that.
Final Table Chip Counts
1 Michael Dyer (156,500,000) USA
2 Nicolas Manion (72,250,000) USA
3 John Cynn (61,550,000) USA
4 Tony Miles (57,500,000) USA
5 Joe Cada (29,275,000) USA
6 Aram Zobian (16,700,000) USA
Each of the remaining six players is guaranteed at least $1.8 million with the winner receiving $8.8 million. Play will resume at 5:30 pm PT with coverage on ESPN beginning at 6. They’ll play down to the final three.