After 6,494 people began the tournament just a few months ago, the 2009 World Series of Poker ended early Tuesday morning with a new champion. Twenty-one-year-old poker professional Joe Cada of Michigan lasted through it all and claimed the $8.55 million first-place prize, again making me wonder why I don’t drop out of school, fake my own death to get out of paying my student loans, and head to Vegas. Just kidding, lenders. I would never do that (I totally would in a second if I could get away with it). Oh, they can read the parenthetical phrases, too? Damnit. Nevermind, then.
But to me, the real story of the final table was 47-year old, ex-Bear Stearns executive Steven Begleiter. He worked there for 25 years and was the head of corporate strategy for the federally bailed-out financial giant, which received nearly $29 billion in taxpayer money. So its collapse was basically Begleiter’s fault. Yeah, I said it.
Begleiter started the final table third in chips but finished in sixth place. I guess he knows a lot about falling stock. Despite that, he still won $1.6 million for his efforts. Isn’t that nice? I kind of wanted him to do better so berating him would be even easier.
On his official Web site, stevenbegleiter.com, Steven promises to share 20 percent of his winnings with the rest of his hometown poker league. I think he can do a little better, and share the other 80 percent with the American public that funded his mistakes. Burn.