In honor of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, which kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas, here's a look back at the only Wyoming native to ever win a WSOP bracelet.

Joe Cassidy was born and raised in Cheyenne. He still comes home every year to visit friends and family.

As a child, Cassidy learned how to play during his uncle’s weekly card games. After graduating from Cheyenne Central High School, he left for Washington, D.C. and enrolled at George Washington University.

Eventually, he was spending more time in Atlantic City than attending his classes, so he dropped out of college, moved across the country and chased his dream of being a poker pro.

The odds were long, but Cassidy’s gamble paid off.

In 2012, he outlasted Phil Ivey and Scotty Nguyen at the final table of the WSOP Omaha Eight or Better Championship to claim his bracelet.

Cassidy then went on to make three more final tables at the World Series along with two final table appearances on the World Poker Tour. His 11th place finish at the 2015 WSOP Omaha Hi-Lo was his 40th tournament cash, pushing his career winnings total over $1.9 million.

His reputation among fellow poker professionals is well docmented. In 2005, Cassidy defeated Daniel Negreanu in a head-to-head $200,000 No Limit game. After the match, Negreanu said, “In my opinion, Joe is the best young poker player in the world.”

That’s high praise for a guy who started out playing family card games here in Wyoming.

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