2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Zhen Cai
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Brought to you by the WSOP-C Playground, hosted by Playground Poker Club and partypoker LIVE. Last year's long-awaited return to Canada of the WSOP Circuit smashed attendance records. The $1,100 Main Event with a huge $2,000,000 guaranteed prize pool and the $330 Colossus with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool of its own are two of the seven events on tap for this year's edition, which is expected to attract even larger fields than last year's record-breaking series.
Final Table Profile Zhen Cai
|Chip Count:||60,600,000 (3/9)|
|Hometown:||Lake Worth, Florida, United States|
Zhen Cai's Main Event Story
Born December 1, 1983, 35-year-old Zhen Cai is a professional poker player from Lake Worth, Florida. Primarily a pot-limit Omaha cash game player, Cai is following in the footsteps of his good friend Tony Miles, who last year made a deep run in the 2018 WSOP Main Event ultimately finishing in second place.
"Somehow I'm here. My best friend (Tony Miles) did it last year. And we're just back here again - it's just ironic."
“Good advice and just reassurance that everything is going to be fine,” Cai said of having his friend of eight years on the rail. “He’s someone else I can talk strategy with, not just basic strategy or poker strategy, but everything he had to go through last year.”
Miles has been on the rail for days sweating the action and plans to be there every step of the way.
“He’s a really good guy. One of my first coaches and mentors in poker,” said Miles. “It feels nice to be on the other side and share some wisdom, strength, and hope. Just be there supporting him the way he was for me last year.”
In asking Cai about how he feels having made the final table on poker's biggest stage, he responded: "Honestly, it's kind of funny. I just never expected to be here. We always talk about it - it's obviously everyone's dream. I dunno, I find it kind of funny now. Somehow I'm here. My best friend (Tony Miles) did it last year. And we're just back here again - it's just ironic."
In addition to Miles, Cai is supported by his wife, Jessica, who flew in late on Day 7, as well as his parents, sister, and other friends. And while he can’t be on the gaming floor, he’s also got the support of his 4-year-old son Chance, with whom he squared off against in a Father’s Day heads-up match.
Before his deep run in the Main Event, Cai had $101,151 in career WSOP cashes. In 2011, he won a $565 No-Limit Hold’em Event at the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans for $33,753 and a ring. Other career highlights include winning the 2018 Lucky Hearts Open $2,200 PLO for $46,900 and finishing 28th in the 2015 WPT Borgata Winter Open for $12,980.
“Players are definitely getting way tougher right now,” said Cai, who attended the University of Florida where he studied advertising and psychology. “There’s a lot of things you have to think about at this stage. For the most part, I’m just trying to play my best.”
How Zhen Cai Got to the Final Table
|Day||End-of-Day Chip Count||Rank|
Zhen Cai's Key Hands
Cai was responsible for the elimination of perhaps the most famous player in the 2019 WSOP Main Event – former NFL star Richard Seymour. It happened on Day 5 when, in Level 25 (30,000/60,000/60,000), Seymour jammed the button for 725,000 and Cai called from the small blind.
Anuj Agarwal was in the big and tanked for two minutes before three-betting all in for approximately 2 million, which Cai snap-called. Seymour had shoved with king-four offsuit, Agarwal came over the top with ace-three suited, and Cai had them both beat with two red queens.
Seymour actually took the lead on a king-high flop, but a queen on the turn locked it up for Cai, who more than doubled to 6.2 million.
Arguably the most significant hand for Zhen came on Day 6 in Level 29 (80,000/160,000/160,000) when Andy Hwang opened for 320,000 from the hijack and Cai shoved the button for 4.075 million. Thomas Parkes called from the big blind, Hwang got out of the way, and Cai found himself way behind with ace-five offsuit against pocket tens. Fortunately for Zhen, he received a reprieve when the flop delivered him two pair.
Cai has put those chips to good use, parlaying them into a final table appearance.
What to Watch For
Zhen is a force to be reckoned with at the poker table, especially given his PLO cash game experience. That’s a game full of variance and big swings. Anyone who can deal with those likely has a great deal of patience, resolve, and a proclivity to persevere.
Zhen has shown a willingness to go full steam ahead in likely coinflip situations – such as when he called Preben Stokkan’s three-bet shove with pocket tens, which held against Big Slick – and also knows how to shift gears and trap when necessary, like he did when he dispatched Duey Duong in nineteenth place.
As for the type of player Zhen is, perhaps Miles has the best read.
“He’s a very good live player,” he said. “He's a sound theoretical player. He’s going to be able to exploit players based on live reads, betting patterns, things that are not going to come naturally to everyone.”
2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Seating
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|2||Nick Marchington||United Kingdom||20,100,000||20|
|4||Kevin Maahs||United States||43,000,000||43|
|5||Timothy Su||United States||20,200,000||20|
|6||Zhen Cai||United States||60,600,000||61|
|7||Garry Gates||United States||99,300,000||99|
There is 1:31:35 remaining in Level 37 (500,000/1,000,000, with a 1,000,000-big blind ante).
2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Payout
2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Player Stats
|Player||First Cash||WSOP Cashes||Career Earnings||Biggst Cash||GPI Ranking|
The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event returns to action Sunday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. local time. A Main Event Day 7 recap can be found here. You can follow the action via the PokerNews Live Reporting Blog where we'll detail all the hands in our exclusive WSOP Main Event Live Updates.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.
In this Series
- 1 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Hossein Ensan
- 2 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Nick Marchington
- 3 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Dario Sammartino
- 4 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Kevin Maahs
- 5 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Timothy Su
- 6 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Zhen Cai
- 7 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Garry Gates
- 8 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Milos Skrbic
- 9 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Profile: Alex Livingston