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Yang says Cada got lucky to win WSOP Main Event
Jerry Yang, who won the 2007 WSOP Main Event, is certainly one.
Yang watched it all go down on ESPN the very next night from his newly opened Pocket 8's Sushi & Grill restaurant in Merced, California and enjoyed every minute of it.
"It was very interesting," Yang told PokerListings from Harvey's Lake Tahoe, where he had come to play in the WSOP Circuit event this weekend. "Overall I think it was a great tournament. It was very exciting."
Yang has always admitted his path to the 2007 title and its $8.25 million prize was paved with a lot of luck.
What he saw on this year's ESPN broadcast appeared no different to him.
"I think all the guys played really well and obviously two of them got really lucky," he said.
"Joe Cada is a good player, but he got incredibly lucky. Especially with the pocket threes (all in pre-flop against Jeff Shulman's pocket jacks) and the pocket deuces (all in pre-flop against Antoine Saout's pocket queens). I'm happy it worked out for him.
"Moon had a good shot, but I think he made a couple of mistakes and I'm sure he's thinking about them right now."
Yang was criticized by some in the poker media for not playing as many major tournaments as they would have liked in the year following his win.
However, the father of six children, who escaped war-torn Laos as a child and spent four-and-a-half years in a Thai refugee camp before immigrating to the United States, makes no apologies for following a different path.
"Since winning I have personally helped raised more than $700,000 for charity, namely the Make-A-Wish foundation, the Ronald McDonald House and Feed the Children, so that took a lot of my time away," he said.
"I made a promise that I would donate a lot of my time and money to charity. That's what I'm passionate about; giving back to the community, especially underprivileged kids."
If he has any advice for the new World Champion, it's that he follow his heart as well.
"Just follow your passion," Yang said. "If poker is your passion, then hey, you know what, be a good ambassador. Do whatever you can to promote poker and carry the game to the next level.
"I know a lot of young players today look up to somebody like me or Joe Hachem, or whoever the champion is and they want to follow in our footsteps. So do whatever you can to really help that community."
Yang's victory came in the final year before the WSOP began delaying the final table four months, creating what is now known as the November Nine.
The 2007 World Champion says he loves the idea and the boxing-style hype that is created during the four-month break.
"I wish they had done it a couple of years before I won, although it may have changed my results," he laughed. "I think it will only help poker grow, survive and thrive even more."
These days, Yang spends the majority of his time at his restaurant, with his family, playing poker for charity and putting the finishing touches on his biography, All In: The Jerry Yang Story, expected to be published sometime in early 2010.
But a passion for the game still got him out of bed at 4 a.m. Sunday to make the drive to Lake Tahoe from his Fresno home to play a little poker on the World Series Circuit.
"The bottom line is I love poker," he said.