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."

2009-11-11 15:15:00

irst let me say congrats to joe for winning, at the end of the day i don’t want to be a hater.

however i have to say this final table makes me sick of poker. the state of it is an absolute donk fest. people at the main event final table just shoving deep stacks preflop – where is the skill in that? you want to make a case for poker being a skill game but everyone these days just wants to gamble.

ivey played average – should have shoved with jacks and since he didnt needs to fold the A8 against joe. he does that and he doesnt have to open shove AK, although darvin would have probably put him all in preflop with AQ because he is a donkey.

at the end of the day tournament poker is in a state of dismay and cash games aren’t far behind them anymore either. no one wants to see flops they want to flip and see what happens. it won’t be long before it will profitable to only play aces and kings like they did in the old days. can you say full circle?

D. Uouchbagge
2009-11-11 15:09:00

Stop hating on Cada – Poker is a skill game, but luck is a factor. He played skilfully and got lucky in spots – He’s the champ – Y’all better get used to it!

2009-11-11 14:41:00

I think I heard the kid say NO LUCK on the final card. You have got to be kidding me!! If not for that, I wouldn’t really pull against him. I don’t care that it is the heat of the moment or that he is only 21.

The hands they showed at the final table , Darvin only won when he got it in bad and won once (to Ivey), and that was an AQ call against Phil’s AK.

His suited KJ against Beglighter was not a good call, but still wasn’t a real underdog.

All the others where he got it in bad, he lost.

He pushed with K9 against Cada’s AA and was obviously in bad, but not as bad as Cada with 22 and 33 to overpairs. The K9 lost, the underpairs won. May the luckiest man win!

Lastly, no 21 year old should be so falsely sure of themself. Get out of your room kid and smell the fresh air. You have little man syndrome, and while they anoint Phil Ivey at every turn, you were the only one that they showed getting B-Slapped by him.

One hit wonder, how about Joe Cada. He is no Dean Hamrick.

Very unsatisfying final table.

Ray in Pxh
2009-11-11 14:39:00

Great…another hack poker player wins the main event. It was like watching an accident…couldn’t believe how often poor play was rewarded.

The Main Event final table has become a joke. Suck out kings like Cada, Yang, Gold, Moneymaker, have killed this event.

abdr ttw
2009-11-11 11:18:00


Mike Hunt
2009-11-11 10:24:00

Yes – Cada got lucky in the final nine to come from a few chips and a chair to win the title
Yes – Darvin Moon played well heads-up
But – Cada played well also, making a solid call with the nines and two tens on board to double up
And – He will be ten times the ambassador for the game that the hick from Oakland, Maryland could ever be!

edgar morrero
2009-11-11 06:11:00

For the record, Varkonyi was 117th in the 2007 main event (winning over $50,000). A better example of a one-hit wonder would be Jerry Yang.

2009-11-11 03:55:00

Cada won so now Moon can chop-chop doubt he will return next year.

2009-11-11 03:31:00

p.s. moon ran ridiculously well and lucky like ive only seen jerry yang do before during the whole main event. he knows hes not much of a talented poker player and i would put my money in that he will stay a one hit wonder simuliar to robert varkonyi

Bob Clements
2009-11-11 00:05:00

great job joe ,hope to play with you at Foxwoods,CT.A great day for poker and you.

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