About Joe Cada
At the age of 21, Joe Cada overcame all odds to win the biggest poker tournament in the world.
The Michigan native outlasted 6,493 players to win the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event for over $8.5 million and become the youngest winner in the esteemed tournament’s history.
At a final table headlined by Phil Ivey, Jeff Shulman and working class hero Darvin Moon, Cada seemed to be stuck in the shadows leading up to the final table.
It was another story when the final table actually played out as Cada’s aggressive play earned him a seat heads-up against Darvin Moon, despite being down to just four big blinds at one point.
Thanks to a combination of skill and luck Cada took 135 million chips into heads-up. Eventually Cada secured his place in history by landing the knockout blow against Moon with pocket nines against the logger’s Q-J.
Michigan Kid, Card-Playing Family
Cada was born in Shelby Charter Township, Michigan, in 1987 and has shown is support for Michigan athletics over the years – even opening a sports bar and grill in his hometown of Sterling Heights.
Cada also opened a charity poker room but due to changes in regulations for charity poker in Michigan eventually had to shut it down
Cada grew up in a card-playing family and his mother was a blackjack dealer at a local casino. He showed a knack for card games as a kid and started playing online poker at just 16 years old.
By the time the 2009 WSOP rolled around he had already played millions of hands online and was making a living via poker only. The 21-year-old won approximately $400,000 playing online under the alias jcada99 before the 2009 WSOP.
Post World Series of Poker Career
A strong advocate of poker player’s rights, Cada spoke on numerous occasions about his support for the legalization and regulation of online poker.
After winning the 2009 WSOP Main Event did interviews with a number of mainstream media outlets including The Late Show with David Letterman and Time magazine.
Cada secured a deal with the #1 online poker room in the world, PokerStars, just prior to starting the WSOP final table and signed a $1m deal for the next year. The deal paid for his travel and buy-ins as he traveled the poker circuit and Cada was always seen sporting the ubiquitous PokerStars patched in tournaments.
The deal ultimately lasted until 2014 when the two parted ways and Cada signed to represent Norwegian Cruise Lines - a deal which continues to this day.
As for his poker results Cada continued to play online until Black Friday in April of 2011 when he, along with thousands of other Americans, was shut out of the major poker sites (PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet) that were indicted in the scandal.
He continued to travel and play on the live circuit where he’s racked up an additional $2 million in tournament earnings.
After not cashing at all in the World Series of Poker in 2010 and with just two cashes in 2011 Cada broke through again in 2012 when he finished 2nd in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event for $412,424.
Having faced some criticism for his lack of results following his WSOP win it was a welcome relief for Cada. Putting all naysayers to bed he won his second WSOP bracelet in 2014 when he took down Event #32, the $10,000 buy-in 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event, for $670,041.
Cada Backed By Josephy, Haber for 2009 WSOP Win
Despite his $8.5 million payday ($8,547,004 to be exact) for winning the 2009 Main Event, Cada’s take home pay was substantially smaller. As is often the case in poker Cada was “backed” in the event, meaning his buy-in was paid for by a third party and he subsequently had to share his profits.
In Cada’s case, as he explained in an interview with The Detroit News’ Tim Twentyman, a $150,000 downswing online prior to the Main Event led him to secure backing from two of the most prominent backers in poker at the time.
"Two well-known backers in the poker community are Eric Haber and (Cliff) Josephy. They back tons of players and that's what they do for a living. They are investors in poker," Cada said.
"My friend was backed by them and another friend was backed by them and they put in a good word for me. They look up your results and your stats online and ask you to send them hand histories of you playing online in tournaments. So they go over how you play and make a judgment. They put up all the money and take 50 percent.”
In Cada’s case that ended up being over $4.2 million before taxes – a dramatic difference in his take home pay. Still, as he says, it was a substantial influx of income for a 21 year old.
In an interesting twist Josephy himself wen ton to make the final table of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event where he finished third for $3,453,035.
Cada Continues to Ply Trade at WSOP
While Cada has cut down on his international travel since the end of his PokerStars contract he’s still an annual visitor at the event that made him famous, the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He’s played every year snce his win in 2009 and has a number of good results including those mentioned above.
Cada had 7 total cashes at both the 2016 WSOP and 2017 WSOP with an 11th place in a $5k No-Limit Holdem event in 2016 his best result of late.
Unlike other big poker winners Cada also took a relatively conservative approach with his winnings and never tried to play in the highest-stakes games or in the biggest tournaments. As he told PokerNews in an interview at the 2017 World Series of Poker:
“Even after the Main Event, I wasn't one of those players who take shots at big games. This year was my first time playing a $100,000 tournament. That was eight years after I won the Main. I'd never want to put myself in a position where my back is completely against the wall and I need to win. It's something I always want to have fun with, be comfortable and have success."
|45||$8,656.00||WSOP 2016 - Event 56 - $1500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|118||$4,980.00||WSOP 2016 - Event 52 - $3000 No-Limit Hold'em|
|11||$27,804.00||WSOP 2016 - Event 48 - $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em|
|267||$2,248.00||WSOP 2016 - Event 29 - $1500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|29||$10,676.00||WSOP 2016 - Event 25 - $2500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|79||$6,537.00||WSOP 2015 - Event 47 - $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|32||$4,830.00||WSOP 2015 - Event 8 - $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em|
|23||$6,180.00||WSOP 2015 - Event 4 - $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout|
|1||$670,041.00||WSOP 2014 - Event 32 - $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Max|
|211||$2,912.00||WSOP 2013 - Event 28 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|4||$161,652.00||WSOP 2013 - Event 17 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|4||$83,558.00||WSOP 2013 - Event 4 - $1,500 6-Max No-Limit Hold'em|
|112||$2,920.00||WSOP 2012 - Event 44 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em|
|2||$412,424.00||WSOP 2012 - Event 31 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|60||$5,295.00||WSOP 2012 - Event 14 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout|
|26||$29,228.00||WSOP 2011 - Event 46 - $10,000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em Championship|
|144||$3,779.00||WSOP 2011 - Event 43 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|11||$51,540.00||EPT Season 6 - PCA High Rollers|