Day 3 Completed
|Blinds||80,000 / 160,000|
Day 3 Completed
Thomas Cazayous' opponents called him "the silent assassin." In the end, he lived up to that moniker, picking off his final three opponents one by one to win Event #31: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed - a tournament that drew 754 runners - at the 2019 World Series of Poker for $414,766.
It's the first bracelet for the 24-year-old French pro, and orders of magnitude bigger than his previous biggest cash of $15,000.
An online cash player by trade, this was Cazayous' first time really focusing on tournaments during the summer. While he was playing for big money against experienced opponents like bracelet winners Upeshka De Silva and Angel Guillen at the final table, Cazayous didn't feel at all like a fish out of water.
"If I'm honest, there was good players but I felt very, very confident," he said. "I don't want to say I think I was the best...but I felt pretty sure what I had to do."
Official Final Table Results
|2||Nicholas Howard||United States||$256,314|
|3||Upeshka De Silva||United States||$172,658|
Cazayous held the chip lead for the majority of the final table. His ultra-calm demeanor and minimal way with words caused his opponents to chuckle and bestow the nickname on him, as they repeatedly watched him eye everyone in silence and fire in bets and raises.
According to the newly minted bracelet winner, he's not at all like that away from the felt. It's simply his intense focus.
Due to his online background, he's used to the easy mode of counting stacks, simply looking at numbers. Live, his mind is constantly spinning, calculating depth of stacks, pot-to-stack ratios, and filing away the hand histories that indicate his opponents' tendencies. All that work simply makes it impossible for him to engage in table talk.
"If I speak to a lot of people around, I won't be very focused and I will be oriented in value and I won't have enough bluffs to balance," he said. "I'm not focused and I'll just fold without thinking. If I'm not in the hand, I have to see what people are doing, the sizing they use, the way they're acting."
All of those mental machinations served Cazayous well as he came into the final table with the big stack and never dipped below second place.
His real run of dominance started with four players left, busting Wojtek Barzantny in a three-bet pot with an overpair, gutter and flush draw against an overpair.
Ten hands later, Cazayous flopped top pair after calling a three-bet from De Silva and bet-called it off against a check-shove. De Silva had just ace-king and bricked out.
Only Nicholas Howard remained and he was at a monster chip deficit. The French supporters, feeling victory was at hand, began singing and chanting in Cazayous' support. Little did they know, if it were up to him, they'd have been treating the Amazon Room like a library during finals week.
"I think in a perfect world for me, I'd prefer to have no noise," he said. "Zero songs, zero words."
Things began well enough as he hammered Howard down to seven big blinds. However, Howard was able to mount a large comeback, running 880,000 to almost 5 million at 80,000/160,000/160,000.
True to his cold-blooded exterior, Cazayous said the comeback didn't phase him. His only concern was playing well and he said he felt no pressure as the bleeding of chips was caused by "just cards."
In the end, Howard put a stop to the comeback himself when he bet-three-bet all in on a pure bluff after all the cards were out. Cazayous found the call button with two pair and it was time to don the French flag for the photos for the silent assassin, now $414,766 richer.
Hand #101: Thomas Cazayous raised to 350,000 on the button, and Nicholas Howard called in the big blind.
Howard checked the flop, and Cazayous bet 250,000. Howard called.
Both players checked the turn, and the fell on the river. Howard bet 425,000, and Cazayous raised to 1.6 million. Howard three-bet shoved for 3.335 million, which sent Cazayous deep into the tank. After about three minutes, he sighed, then plopped a stack of chips in to call.
"You're going to win the tournament with that call," Howard told Cazayous before turning over for a busted straight draw. Cazayous tabled his for two pair, and Cazayous is our champion!
Hand #100: Nicholas Howard raised to 400,000 from the button, and Thomas Cazayous called in the big blind.
Both players checked the flop, and Cazayous bet 750,000 on the turn. Howard folded.
Hand #95: Thomas Cazayous called and then folded to 400,000 from Nicholas Howard.
Hand #96: Cazayous got a walk.
Hand #97: Cazayous called and Howard checked. Cazayous bet 300,000 on the flop and Howard called. No sooner had the turn hit the felt than Howard put in 200,000. Cazayous made it 800,000 and Howard gave it up fairly quickly.
Hand #98: Howard completed and Cazayous checked. Cazayous check-folded on the flop to a min-bet.
Hand #99: Cazayous completed and Howard checked. Howard checked the and then called 300,000 from Cazayous. He led out again on the turn for 300,000. This time, Cazayous called. On the river, Howard bet 1 million and Cazayous folded.
Hand #90: Nicholas Howard limped in on the button, and Thomas Cazayous checked his option in the big blind.
Cazayous bet 120,000 on the flop.
"What is that, a donk bet?" Howard said, before raising to 425,000. Cazayous called. Cazayous check-called 600,000 on the turn, and both players checked the river. Cazayous turned up , but he was pipped by Howard's .
Hand #91: Howard got a walk.
Hand #92: Howard limped in from the button, and Cazayous checked. Cazayous check-folded to a bet of 125,000 on the flop.
Hand #93: Cazayous raised to 250,000 on the button, and Howard called in the big blind. Howard check-called a bet of 200,000 on the flop, and both players checked the turn. Howard led out for 675,000 on the river, and Cazayous folded.
Hand #94: Howard limped in from the button, and Cazayous checked. Cazayous overbet the pot on the flop with a 500,000 bet, and Howard called. The turn and river were checked down, and Howard said, "Just an ace." Cazayous turned up for a pair and the winner.
Hand #83: Thomas Cazayous shoved and Nicholas Howard folded.
Hand #84: Cazayous took a walk.
Hand #85: Cazayous jammed and won.
Hand #86: Howard shoved for 880,000 and Cazayous called with . Howard had but the flop brought nada.
"Nine," someone called out from Howard's rail.
Sure enough, the appeared. The was a brick on the river and Howard doubled.
Hand #87: Howard got a walk.
Hand #88: Howard shoved and won.
Hand #89: Cazayous completed and Howard checked. Both checked the , bringing a . Howard bet 140,000 and Cazayous called. On the river, Howard bet 320,000 and Cazayous called with a sigh.
"Queen," Howard said.
Cazayous indicated it was a winner and Howard showed .
Photos by Melissa Haereiti.
Hand #79: Thomas Cazayous jammed the button, and Nicholas Howard folded.
"It's going to be a hell of a come back," Howard told Cazayous.
Hand #80: Howard limped in from the button, and Cazayous checked.
Cazayous checked the flop, and Howard bet 125,000, leaving himself just 705,000 behind. Cazayous limp-jammed, and Howard called.
No four came on the turn or river, and Howard doubled.
"That's how it starts!" Howard said.
Hand #81: Cazayous limped in from the button, and Howard checked. Howard check-folded to a bet of 120,000 on the flop.
Hand #82: Howard limped in from the button, then folded when Cazayous jammed.