Wanted: A Poker Ambassador Pays $8 Million by Patricia Chavira

Cada-Josephy

The 47th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship played down to the November Nine on Monday, July 18. The players will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on October 30 to begin play to crown this year’s World Champion.

6,737 players from 79 countries entered this year’s Main Event. The November Nine come from five countries—the United States, Canada, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Spain. If past years are any indication, the nine final players are sure to bring family and friends to the Penn & Teller Theater creating an air of excitement unlike any other final table. It truly is the biggest poker stage in the world.

I was lucky enough to watch the November Nine in 2009 when Joe Cada went from the short stack to chipleader after catching miracle card after miracle card. I had never seen anything like it before or since.

Even with poker legend Phil Ivey at the final table, 21-year-old Cada seemed destined to win–which he did–surpassing Peter Eastgate as the youngest world champion ever.

Reigning World Champion Joe McKeehen has caused a bit of controversy this year with some of his antics, such as blaming the media for the earlier start times at the WSOP this year (if only we had that kind of power, Joe) and blocked a number of our Twitter accounts (myself included).

It is my hope the next poker champion will be a uniting force for the game. It may seem trite, but it is important to have an articulate, gracious champion to be an advocate for the game. Becoming poker champion means becoming a poker ambassador. There are worse things to be, like a washed-up poker champion looking for backing.

50-year-old Cliff Josephy, a New York poker pro, seems like he would make a great ambassador of the game. He is currently the chipleader going into the final table with 74.6 million chips. He is a grinder who was a number one ranked online pro at one time. He goes by the screen name “JohnnyBax.”

He has two gold bracelets to his name. Josephy won his first at the 2005 WSOP in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event for $192,150. At the 2013 WSOP he won his second bracelet in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout for $299,486.

He goes into the final table already a millionaire. If he wins it all, I believe we all win.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.