Vieira rides final-table rollercoaster to victory in six-handed tourney

4 July 2019 (Las Vegas) – 29-year-old Portuguese pro Joao Vieira has claimed his first \World Series of Poker gold bracelet by winning Event #70 of the 2019 WSOP, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed.

Vieira, a native of Funchal, Portugal who currently lives and plays poker from London, England, collected a $758,011 first-place payout by trumphing over this event's pro-heavy 815-player field. It's by far the largest WSOP cash of Vieira's WSOP career; prior to this, Vieira had earned $183,782 in 30 other WSOP cashes.

In winning this event, Vieira denied a fifth career WSOP bracelet to 2009 Main Event winner Joe Cada. Vieira began Day 3 with the lead, but had to come from behind against Cada during heads-up play. Cada, 31, from Shelby Township, Michigan, earned $468,488 as the Event #70 runner-up.

West Yorkshire, Ireland's Jamie O'Connor placed third in this short-handed event to collect $317,956. The final-table showing marked what was just O'Connor's second-ever WSOP cash.

The other final-table finishers were France's Pierre Calamusa (fourth, $219,468), along with American pros Olivier Busquet (fifth, $154,112) and Barry Hutter (sixth, $110,127).

Vieira enjoyed an early lead as Day 3 began, but saw that lead disappear through no fault of as own as collisions between other players dropped him down the board. When play reached heads-up, Vieira found himself staring across at Cada, who had him outchipped by nearly two to one. Vieira quickly doubled through Cada, then closed out his own first win.

Yet Vieira wasn't phased by Cada's prominent reputation. “In Portugal we say that the finals are meant to be won. As soon as you get heads-up, it doesn't matter if it's Joe Cada, John Doe... it doesn't matter. At that point I'm just trying to compete, trying to do the best I can. I made a big hand right away, and as soon as I took the lead, I tried to close the deal.”

“I'm very experienced,” he added, noting that while it was only his second WSOP final table, it was perhaps his 4,000th final considering all of his live and online efforts. “I knew how to keep myself composed, calm, and do the best I can.”

The conclusion came quickly, as it turned out, once Vieira double through. Vieira and Cada soon had their chips in the middle before the flop, and Vieira had the better of it with    to Cada's   . A     flop and   turn left Cada only the three remaining queens as outs, but the   river instead sealed Vieira's first WSOP title.

Competing at the highest levels both live and online has factored into Vieira's life in other ways as well. He's one of hundreds of professional players who have emigrated from Portugal and other “firewalled” western European players to countries where they can play on dot-com sites. Vieira lives in London, England these days, playing online when not traveling to major series such as the WSOP.

“I just moved there really recently,” he told the WSOP. “Four months ago. It's a good place in terms of the tax situation there, and it's a good place to live. I have a lot of friends and family.” Vieira described the United Kingdom as the “easiest nation” to which other western European players can locate, given its proximity to both their home nations and connections to the poker scene.

Having plenty of friends and family also translated into a large and loud rail, which Vieira had to block out to concentrate on his own play. Vieira's calm lasted until the last hand, when he admitted, “It all hit me on the turn. I looked at it, and wow, I was just one card away.” And then it was over, to one of the loudest celebrations of the Series to date.

Event #70's final day began with its official six-player final table already set. Portugal's Joao Vieira took a 7,635,000 chip stack into the final table, about 2.4 million ahead of his closest foes.

Florida's Barry Hutter exited on the day's second hand. Hutter came to the final with the shortest stack, and after O'Connor opened to 200,000 from the cutoff, Hutter called from the big blind. The flop was    , Hutter checked, O'Connor bet 100,000, and Hutter moved all in for just under one million. O'Connor called Hutter's shove and was ahead with    to Hutter's   . The   turn gave Hutter two pair and the lead, but a   river gave O'Connor a better two pair and sent Hutter to the cashier for a $110,127 sixth-place payout.

Nearly two hours elapsed before New York's Olivier Busquet busted in fifth ($154,112). Busquet was down to his last 850,000 when he moved all in from the small blind with   , only to have O'Connor call from the big blind with   . Busquet needed held but never found it as the board brought        , ending his run.

Vieira then sent France's Pierre Calamusa to the rail in fourth ($219,468). Calamusa moved all in on for about 2.5 million from the small blind but ran his    into Vieira's waiting   , and the board brought plenty of drama as it ran out        , giving Calamusa the lead on the flop but taking it away on the rivered king.

Vieira busted Ireland's O'Connor as well, again catching a needed card late on the board for the knockout. O'Connor three-bet all in for about three million after Vieira had opened for 250,000, and after asking for a count, Vieira called. O'Connor was at risk but ahead with    to Vieira's    and he stayed ahead on the     flop, but a   turn put Vieira on top and a   river completed the hand.

Despite the two knockouts, Vieira still trailed Cada, who doubled up twice early and then took down several other large pots. Yet in the end, Vieira overtook Cada to claim Portugal's second-ever bracelet win.

Event #70, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, drerw 815 entrants and offered a $3,789,750 prize pool. 123 players made the money and a min-cash was worth $7,402.

Among the many notables cashing in this event were Ankush Mandavia (eighth, $80,109), Chris Hunichen (12th, $44,771), Joey Couden (21st, $26,976), Nick Schulman (38th, $14,622), Dan Shak (41st, $14,622), Koray Aldemir (50th, $10,776), Brian Yoon (51st, $10,776), Dietrich Fast (63rd, $9,554), Jack Salter (64th, $9,564), Joe Kuether (68th, $8,659), and Dan Smith (71st, $8,659).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #70.

Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Joao Vieira, $758,011
2nd: Joe Cada, $468,488
3rd: Jamie O'Connor, $317,956
4th: Pierre Calamusa, $219,468
5th: Olivier Busquet, $154,112
6th: Barry Hutter, $110,127