2009 WSOP champ Joe Cada lifts two $50K bundles of $100 bills from his $8.55M pile!
BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2009
Youth Prevails Again at Record-Setting World Series Finale
When the cheers finally subsided early Tuesday morning inside the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio, the poker world was left with an unmistakable message: Youth WILL be served on the game’s highest stage.
For the second straight year, the World Series main event produced its youngest champion ever when online poker pro Joe Cada of Shelby Township, Mich., completed a remarkable surge from near elimination to king of the felt. He turns 22 on Nov. 18.
To claim the crown and $8.5 million, Cada (pronounced KAY-duh) ultimately had to defeat amateur Darvin Moon, 46, who operates a small logging business in Oakland, Md. Moon, who won $5.2 million for second place, entered the final table of nine with a massive chip lead Saturday but had to stage a comeback of his own to go up against Cada, an online heads-up specialist.
The player Cada eclipsed by 340 days as the youngest champ ever — 2008 winner Peter Eastgate – had picked Cada to win. Before Eastgate, the record as youngest champ was held by pro Phil Hellmuth for 19 years.
“I don’t know what to think,” Cada told reporters, fighting back tears. “I have really put a lot into this. I have been playing poker for some time, and to come here and win it in my very first year – I feel very fortunate.”
With the 2009 championship in the books, let’s reflect on what the poker community learned from this tournament:
* Never give up.
Cada was on the verge of elimination several times at the final table. At one point Saturday, he fell to dead last with about 2.3 million chips compared to the chip leader’s 60 million.
Nine hours later he had secured his spot for Monday night’s heads-up battle against Moon holding more than a 2-1 starting chip advantage, 136 million to 59 million.
He lost that lead in just 12 hands with Moon, got it back five hands later and stayed on top for 38 hands before falling behind again. But Cada didn’t quit. Facing elimination, he made a courageous all-in call about 1 a.m. Vegas time holding J-9 on a board of 10-9-5-10 to double-up and re-take the lead for good.
Twenty minutes later Cada moved all-in pre-flop with pocket nines and was called by Moon who held a suited Q-J. Cada captured the title when the board cards came 8-2-7-K-7, touching off a wild celebration in the theater.
“For someone who does not play heads-up, he sure was a tough opponent,” Cada said.
* Poker is consistently unpredictable.
After a series of brutal bad beats Saturday which either crippled or KO’d Kevin Schaffel (8th place), Phil Ivey (7th), Steve Begleiter (6th) and Jeff Shulman (5th), perhaps the biggest turning point came with just three players left.
Antoine Saout, who had made a spectacular run from an eighth-place start to the chip lead, was thrilled to call Cada’s all-in bet. Cada held pocket deuces and faced elimination. Saout’s pocket queens were an 80 percent favorite to win and propel his chip stack past 100 million.
The ever-present twists of poker prevailed, however, when a deuce came on the flop, foretelling Saout’s demise a few minutes later to set up Monday’s Cada-Moon showdown.
* You don’t always get what you wish for.
Many people hoped poker superstar Phil Ivey would end a seven-year streak of unknowns winning the champion’s gold bracelet, even though he started the final table short-stacked in seventh place. The jam-packed theater cheered loudest for him, but it wasn’t to be.
“I was kind of waiting for something good to happen,” he said after busting out some 11 hours into the game. “I got it all in with ace-king and lost. There was not really much I could do.”
Except, of course, wait until next year.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2009 RUSS SCOTT
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