Michigan’s Joe Cada Wins the 2009 WSOP Main Event

In front of a crowd of thousands who filled the Las Vegas night with chants of his name, 21-year-old Joe Cada won the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event title Monday.

Defeating 46-year-old Maryland logger Darvin Moon to become the youngest Main Event winner in history appeared to be an overwhelming moment for Cada, as tears filled his eyes when the final river card fell.

"I don't know; it still hasn't hit me," Cada said moments after the win. "I don't know what to think."

"I put a lot of time into poker. Poker has been my life for some time now. Doing this the first year out (at the WSOP) is unbelievable. I got really lucky, I ran well and I am very fortunate."

Cada Over Moon for 2009 World Championship

Cada started the heads-up match late Monday night with a better than 2:1 chip lead after a more-than-14-hour first day at the final table on Saturday.

But beating Moon was no easy task for the college student turned online poker pro from Shelby Township, Michigan.

In fact, Moon started to climb back into the match in the very first hand heads-up, dragging a 45 million chip pot with queens over nines.

Over the next hour Moon would win most of the largest pots the two played to draw even and eventually take over, building up an almost 3:1 chip lead without showing down a hand as his many supporters in the crowd grew increasingly vocal.

"I knew Darvin wanted to play some bigger pots and I wanted them smaller," Cada said. "He applied a lot of pressure and did a great job. He put me in some tough spots. He's definitely a hard player to get a read or a line on. He did a great job."

Darvin Moon
'He did a great job.'

Cada finally took a stand when Moon three-bet him pre-flop and he four-bet shoved for 50 million, forcing a fold to gain back some ground.

Then he doubled through Moon to take the lead back, making a massive call with second pair on the turn and two tens on the board after Moon pushed all in.

Moon had an open-ended straight draw that failed to get there and Cada was suddenly in control again.

"By me checking the flop it's obvious I don't have top pair, so he knows that," Cada said. "I kind of bet smallish, like three million, to entice a raise and there was a lot of draws out there, jack-queens, seven-eight, clubs, and I don't think he's going to ship a ten, not the way he's been playing. He doesn't just ship a big hand like that.

"In the end I thought it was the right call and I had to make it."

Joey! Joey! Joey!

A few hands later, the two got into a pre-flop raising war that saw Cada push in with nines and Moon make the call for his tournament life with Q♦ J♦.

The flop came 8♣ 7♠ 2♣ as chants of "Joey" filled the Rio's Penn & Teller Theater.

The turn brought the K♥ and after the river came the 7♣, the 2009 WSOP Main Event title and $8.5 million first-place prize was Cada's.

Cada's supporters, the loudest group in the room right from the outset of the final nine, roared in approval as he had become the 2009 Main Event champion and Moon was forced to settle for the $5.1 million reserved for second.

Joseph Cada
The champ at work.

"They meant everything to me," Cada said of the crowd of friends and family there to cheer him on.

"They cheered me on when I had no chips. I had two million and they were standing out of their chairs. I got down to 40 million here and I heard them go crazy and that helped me get back in this.

"Momentum is a big thing in poker."

Cada, who said he was put in the tournament by famed online backers Cliff Josephy and Eric Haber in a fifty-fifty deal, said he has no remorse about having to share his winnings.

"I have no regrets," he said. "I knew what I could win when I came in to the tournament and I am very happy they put me in it."

Now comes a year under poker's brightest spotlight.

But the mature-beyond-his-years Cada appears more than prepared for it.

"I definitely plan on playing all the big tournaments, travelling and playing cash games on the side," he said. "I'll definitely embrace it. I want to see poker grow."

2011-10-20 15:39:10

great win for cada but was kinda hoping moon would get the win.

2009-11-26 00:34:00

Well done and congrats to the final 9, but ..

I cannot believe the amount of all in over bet shoves, normally with a dominated Ace or pair! Granted we didn’t see all the final table hands so you never know how the game has fully played out; but to get someone off a hand, like Buchman, re-raising 44 mill with AQ is ridiculous, especially with being in a good position to have a decent shot at it with some of those stacks. What are you going to get called with that isn’t beating you?

But then I haven’t got through a field of 6500, players so my opinion can’t count for much. No one seemed to want to see a flop and try and out play each other but just be overly aggressive.

Forget the suck outs thats gona happen all the time; but yeah, over playing those small pairs seemed to happen a tad too often!

Does anyone know how long the final table played out for, 14 hours before heads up right?

2009-11-15 15:11:00

Well, i was wrong! Mind you, Cada had to hit two sets to do it. I think it’s unfair to label him a luckbox, he played great poker to get to the final table, but maybe got a bit overwhelmed and didn’t play very well at the final table itself.

Saout deserved to win. His play reminded me of one of my tricks, if you are playing tight and suddenly switch to loose even the best players in the world will have trouble adjusting for a while. Saout got his big stack reasonably quickly and put himself in a great position to win, he just didn’t get the luck. I had to root for a non american, naturally!

I’m glad Moon didn’t win, great guy but made some horrific plays at the final table that belonged in play money games to be honest.

2009-11-15 12:36:00

I’m not defending Cada’s play at the final table, because he definitely lucked out.

However, he had to play pretty well to at least get to that point. You can’t go through 6,000 people over 8 days and not make some good plays.

curtis seeley
2009-11-15 05:08:00

lets be serious joe cada played pretty much terrbily at the final table. his money was in real bad twice and flopped sets. it was pretty much a joke. he made bad reads and tried to bully the tightest players at the table off raises which is a brutal strategy. he did not deserve to win at all.. he did make one nice lay down with 10 10 agaisnt phil who had kk.

2009-11-15 03:49:00

Hmmmm….all these posters…and not one of them made it to the final table. Sounds like a lot of jealous people.

2009-11-14 04:01:00

My god, Ivey mustve been thinkin “what does it take to see a flop that isnt all in.” These jokers need to be taught some restraint. The main event should be an exhibition of skill and a good advert for the game, but even the commentary lost faith by the end of it. It seems any talentless fool with 10k lying about in their cabin (Moon) can go all the way. What a joke…

2009-11-14 01:41:00

Being an experienced poker player, yes, this was the most painful WSOP FT to watch. The line up of players was very interesting and compelling. I think it was a great mix, but if anything was to blame, it was the cards. Almost every hand that was won was either a 2 or 3 outer. I am sure that is not the way Joe invisioned winning, but congrats.

Joe, when you win something like this, its not just those final hands that won you the bracelet, but the hours, days, weeks, months, and years that you have spent grinding away. That is what put you in that spot. I think you got there very early, considering that there are players that have played 20 or more WSOP’s and haven’t hit the final table, but you did it. Hats off to you.

Then again, there is another huge winner in this that has been underscored. When I read at the end of this article that Joe was backed by none other than Cliff Josephy, otherwise known as “johnnybax” online, it all made sense. For you that don’t know Cliff, he is the online equivelant to Doyle Brunson. He is a lethal combo of luck and skill. If you watch Bax play you can tell when he is going to take first even if there is still 100 players left. He runs that good. There is an online term when you take a wicked beat… you have been Baxed.

After reading this article and watching the FT of WSOP 2009, I would have to say you all have been Baxed!!

Congrats again to Joe, Cliff, and Eric

2009-11-13 00:50:00

Cada was 5 BB remaining. He tripled up, then double up on a race against Ivey, doubled up 44 against JJ, doubled up witt AA, doubled up 22 againt QQ.. Odds of surviving all these all-in are close to 200 againt 1… Plus he won a 100 million race against Saout and a 150 million race againt Moon. This is poker. Someone had to do it… Two nice guys. Especially Moon. Hope the best for both of them in their future.

2009-11-12 21:32:00

They should have a league where you have to qualify for the playoffs / finale.
And perhaps very few additional wild cards for winners of ONE satellite.
What the main event is now should become a satellite for the real main event.
The way it is now it’s way too commercialized because of the media hype that “ever1 can be a winner just start online and give us your cash”.
All the donkeys come out of their holes and pay 10k or play satellites to become “world champion”.
It’s ridiculous, I can’t think of any credible “world championchip” where every1 who has enuff cash can participate.
That method used to work before Moneymaker, before the hype and the online thing going on.
But now espn and pokerstars and all those brands just want to make money of the hype and do their share in destroying poker especially the wsop.
You hardly see a player who isn’t an advertisement on 2 legs.
And espn, wth did they edit?
Whole FT cut down to 2.25 hours?
Two hands before the last they showed both players about 50% of chips, next hand you see cada only has like 30% left…
and it was like this the whole time.
And why can’t those guys get more than 2 tables with hole cams?
Before the FT they kept showing situations where you didn’t even know what the hands were bc there was no showdown…
Wsop has become like the Oscars, just rush rush rush, so you have more time to show a lot of commercials.
And trying to get some no-name to the public to win, so every1 thinks “i just have to play poker online and i can live the American dream and become rich and famous”.
And yes, besides all that, the FT was just disgusting.
Poker may be a mix of skill and luck.
But the more aggro donkey players you get, the less skill and the more luck is involved: Because one in the mass of newbs will eventually just suck out on the few good players, who make great moves, great calls, gread reads.
Players like Shulman, Ivey, Hellmuth, Matusow, Negreanu AND Saout…
Cada is the personification of that donkey, say what you want, the way he played his pairs was just plain stupid, he had no reads whatsoever, he was just generally playing aggressively and hoping to have a lot of fold equity or to get lucky in case he’d get a call.
That’s what ABC Poker is today.
Once the majority plays like that the hype will be over.
To me Saout was the best player at the FT.
Saout played very solid, was aggressive when the situation was adequate, had good reads, and his opponents never knew what they were up against when they were in a hand with him.
Who at the FT with such a big pot would make the lie down he made with Q10=top pair on the flop, when Buchman moved all in with his perfectly hidden AA.
Cada would’ve instantly called.
IMHO time will show Cada is not a notably player.
I could apparently be wrong, and now that he has a huge bankroll, he can make a lotta attempts.
But still I dont think we will ever see him close to the main event FT ever.
By the footage we saw he won many coin flips, way-behind situations…it would be a mathematical miracle if he ever could repeat that.
And that’s the crucial point, he didn’t get lucky once, it’s understood you cant win the main event without ever getting lucky.
But he got lucky time after time after time especially since the hand vs Ivey.
And it wasn’t like he had to make hard decisions on the flop, it was always a stupid move by him pf, and he sucked out, or at least didn’t lose the coin flip.
If whenever he was all in he would have thrown a coin instead of playing his hand he would have had a greater chance to win the main event!
That’s not even a joke, it’s true!

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