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."

2009-11-12 10:30:00

Cada and Moon both got lucky but Cada just sucked out so many times, sure luck is a factor but all the hands he went all in with its just ridiculous. Cada made the wrong move at the right time over and over. Granted at the end of any tourney things are going to get a bit crazy but it just seemed like uneventfull donkey action watching as the under dog sucks out over and over. Time will be the ultimate test and i don’t think these players will be around too much in the future. I think it should have been either Sauot, Ivey, Moon, or Begleigter heads up. I want a rematch with the same nine players and see what happens i would bet my left testicle that Cada would go down.

stu fan
2009-11-12 06:59:00

Cada is not “The Kid” Stu Unguar was and always will have the nickname “The Kid”.

2009-11-12 05:50:00

I have never seen so many suckouts by someone (other then J Gold) Cada is a luckbucket. The crap he went allin with was a joke.

2009-11-12 03:46:00

PS didnt know Chris Fergison got it all in with 66 against Jeff Shulmans 77 and hit a 2 outer to cripple jeff. How come these haters dont call him a lucky donkey?Keep flipping burgers whiners.

2009-11-12 03:42:00

Awsome final table.Super entertaining. All the haters can get bent. If you have never gotten it all in with kings against aces and cracked them, then you do not play poker. It is a mistake to fold KK pre flop against 1 player.So he got lucky,doesnt make him a donkey. You haters have probably never made a final table in a 60 dollar touney never mind playing for 8.5 million. Gotta be more pressure than anyone knows. Congrats to all at the final table,and Joe Cada for winning.

2009-11-12 03:17:00

@sheila: Darwin Moon plays poker the way it should be played?!? Tongue in cheek? You wish everyone played like that so they would give you their chips? Not serious right?

2009-11-11 22:28:00

Congrats Joe! Congrats Darwin! I was actually rooting for Schullman & Moon to go heads up, but –too many suck outs changed all of that.
Darwin Moon plays poker the way poker should be played–and I’m sure when he returns to Maryland $5 million wealthier, and even if he never returns to Vegas, he will invest wisely and still have many millions in the bank ten years from now!
Quite an entertaining final table, but still would have preferred to see my two picks heads up–they know how to play poker!

2009-11-11 19:29:00

WTH, the final table sucked! Cut the crap, everyone knows the game is mixture of luck and skill, but here it was almost only luck! Just look at how many times the one with huge advantage lost the hand… I don’t respect the first two, they were one of the worst players in final 9, but they got unbelievably lucky, especially the champion. Let’s see where he’ll get in future…
It was crazy final table, f**k probability and odds… :))

2009-11-11 18:43:00

i wonder how many times cada shoved pre with small pairs through the tourney? he was chipped up from day one.

Saout was definatley the dark horse and his play was great on FT and should be credited! until his QQ got cracked maybe tilted afterwards putting in 40bb pre with 88 against cadas AK

gota win flips to win tourneys and cada won the flips that counted

ok definately was painfull watching cada 2outing schulman and saout being 4-1 dog thats very lucky

moon played terribly getting his chips in behind alot and doubling people up. His beat he dished to ivey was brutal and uncannily identical to chinos exit lastyear.

if the best hand always won this final table result would have been VERY different i cant help but think ‘what if’..

what if begleigters QQ held against darvins AQ preflop ship

what if schulmans or saouts overpairs held against cada

what if akenheads KK didnt run into AA after he tripled up with kq (same but different)

What if schaefers AA didnt get cracked by quads

and most importanly WHAT IF IVEYS AK HELD!!!!!

2009-11-11 17:36:00

analysis of the FT has been done, i’m not going to comment.

let me just remind people that these were the final 9 of 6,000+ – some very solid poker was played by each one of them to ever get to this point.

as well, certain players realized their skill disadvantage and adjusted their play accordingly. unfortunately, that leads to many adjustments and some ugly play. don’t cry about it though – when you’re dealing with a game that is a mix of skill and luck, it’s ridiculous to expect anything else.

i will say this – i am not dismayed by where poker is going for this simple fact: POKER IS A GAME OF EVOLUTION. whatever are the common tendencies, the winning players are the ones who adjust accordingly. seriously, with EVERYONE with a slight interest in poker hearing AGGRESSION IS KEY, where else did you think the game was going to end up?

if anything, i’m excited to see where the game goes from here. and don’t forget, NLHE is not the only form of poker invented. maybe it’s time some other forms to once again surface.

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