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Joe Cada, Sylvain Loosli Hunt Main Event Final Table Repeat on Day 7

Sylvain Loosli and Joe Cada
  • With 26 players left in the WSOP Main Event, @cada99 and @SylvainLoosli are looking to pull off the incredible.

On Day 6 of the 2018 WSOP Main Event, all eyes were on the few players left who had already made it to the biggest final table stage in the game, looking for a repeat. Three former Main Event final tablists remained in contention at the start of the sixth day of play, one of them – Joe Cada – a former Main Event champion.

The other two hailed from France. Benjamin Pollak was attempting the rare feat of Main Event final tables in back-to-back years, while Sylvain Loosli’s final table run came five years back. A player still in contention who narrowly missed out on the Main Event final table is John Cynn, who busted in 11th place in 2016.

Late Day 6 Action

At dinner break on Day 6, Loosli was up to just over 15 million, sixth in chips of the remaining 44 players, while Pollak was slipping into the danger zone with 2.48 million for around 15 big blinds going to 80K/160K/20K ante.

Cada had bled down to just under four million for about 22 big blinds, and shortly after dinner, he moved it all in on the button after an early-position raise to 350,000 by Alexander Haro and a call by Xa Zhu in the cutoff. Only Haro called, and Cada’s pocket nines held up against Haro’s sevens to double to 7.9 million for around 49 big blinds.

While the 2009 Main Event champ survived his post-dinner all-in, Pollak would not be so fortunate. He defended his big blind with ace-nine against a Ryan Phan under-the-gun raise and hit top pair on six-ace-deuce.

Pollak check-called a continuation bet and check-called for the rest on the off-suit jack turn, only to be drawing dead against Phan’s ace-jack for top two pair. As a result, Pollak followed up his $3.5 million third-place finish from just one year ago, with an impressive 42nd this year for $189,165. That left just two Frenchman in the field: Loosli and Antoine Labat.

Benjamin Pollak
Benjamin Pollak fell short of back-to-back Main Event final tables.

Dreaming of a Final Table Return

With Pollak out, only Cada and Loosli hold out hopes of becoming second-time WSOP final tablists in 2018, with 26 players remaining as Day 7 approaches. Loosli sits in 17th place with 11,635,000 and Cada 19th in chips with a stack of 8,850,000, returning to blinds of 100K/200K/30K ante.

Joe Cada

For Cada, the tournament was pretty slow and steady for the first four days as he hovered mostly around a quarter of the average stack, before he spiked up the counts on Day 5.

When PokerNews caught up with him on Day 5, he said somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of his opponents in these big field tournaments don’t recognize him, which he understands as he doesn’t play that often and he’s maybe changed a bit over the nine intervening years since his big win.

“I didn’t really expect most people to know who I am.”

By Day 6, the jig was up, and Cada was pretty sure his cover was blown, though he didn’t plan to change up his approach.

“I didn’t really expect most people to know who I am.”

“I’m not going to play really much different so I guess it comes down to [the other players]; we’ll find out.”

As far as a plan as he continues this deep run, Cada is just focused on playing his game:

“Play well; don’t hate myself for playing something bad. I don’t know, it’s out of my control sometimes.”

As the final days of the Main Event unfold, onlookers will be watching to see if Cada will be the first player since the late Stu Ungar in 1997 to win the Main Event twice, a feat much more impressive in the modern WSOP Main Event era that draws thousands of runners each year.

Sylvain Loosli

Having made the Main Event final table in 2013 when he finished in fourth place for $2,792,533, Loosli told PokerNews during a break on Day 6 that he felt his previous experience in the event gives him an edge on the field.

“I’ve been there before, I know the swings, I know you can have big swings at this stage of the tournament. I’m very convinced I will manage my emotions better than my opponents, and I’m very confident in my strategy as well.”

Sylvain Loosli
Sylvain Loosli makes another Main Event Day 7.

Comparing his preparation for the run in 2013 versus now, Loosli explained that he is a completely different player. Prior to his deep run five years back, he had little experience with tournaments, let alone live ones. He primarily played short-handed online cash like six-max and heads-up.

A couple millions of dollars later, Loosli continued with live MTTs, becoming a regular in the professional tournament circuit and growing more accustomed to playing larger buy-in events. Since that first big score, Loosli has added more than $3.8 million to his live tournament earnings.

“I’m really grateful to be here again, to have another shot at maybe winning the Main Event."

“My game has improved a lot. I think I’ve improved a lot mentally, physically, so if the cards go my way, we can maybe do better than five years ago.”

That pretty much sums up the high hopes of Loosli, who is happy to be back in the Main Event making another deep run.

“I’m really grateful to be here again, to have another shot at maybe winning the Main Event, so I’m taking it hand by hand, day by day, and hopefully I can do better.”

He's also looking to keep the French momentum going.

“It’s a great day today.”

Not only did France win their World Cup semifinal game versus the red-hot Belgium team to make it to the finals, Loosli’s friend, compatriot and fellow Winamax pro Romain Lewis was at the final table of the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed event nearby, where he eventually finished runner-up.

“I’m going to try to represent France as much as I can,” said Loosli.

You can follow Cada and Loosli as they hunt for a repeat final table appearance in the World Series of Poker Main Event right here at PokerNews, so don’t miss out on the action.

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