Darvin Moon is from Oakland, Maryland and was the chip leader of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event November Nine with an astonishing 58.9 million in chips, just under a third of the chips in play. He ultimately finished as the runner-up to Joe Cada for $5.2 million. Moon had held the lead of the 2009 WSOP Main Event since Day Six. The 45-year-old logger from western Maryland is a longtime poker player who learned the game at the feet of his grandfather.
Moon started in poker by playing Seven Card Stud with his grandfather and never picked up Texas Hold’em until 2006. He played in tournaments around the Maryland area that were fundraisers for local fire departments and other charitable organizations. Little did Moon know that poker would lead him to the 2009 WSOP Main Event, let alone the final table or the chip lead.
Moon played in a $130 buy in tournament at the Wheeling Island Casino in Wheeling, West Virginia and won the event. The grand prize was either $10,000 or the buy-in to the 2009 WSOP Main Event. After a great deal of deliberation, Moon chose to take his shot at the WSOP and steamrolled anyone who got in his path. In his eight days of play at the Rio in July, he never once had all of his chips in the center and was been able to defeat some of the toughest players in poker on the way to the November Nine. Darvin Moon once said during play, “I had pocket kings one time and the other guy pushed all-in over the top of me. I just mucked my hand pre-flop. I mean, he has to have aces. What else can he have?”
He commented during the play at the 2009 WSOP, “I got my goals set. It’s not first. But it’s not ninth, either. I’ll be happy. I don’t care if I go out on the first hand tomorrow. I’ve had fun. It’s been worth every minute of it. I just like to play, and it’s unreal. It’s something I can’t even dream of doing, and here I am.”
2009 WSOP Main Event Final Table
Moon entered final table play at the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas with a commanding chip lead after knocking out Ultimate Bet pro Billy “Patrolman35” Kopp in a flush over flush situation as play wrapped up in July. At the final table, he made several questionable plays, including folding on a board of 2-3-4 while getting nearly 7:1 on his money. Moon was level-headed throughout, showing little emotion. He entered heads-up play against Cada as a 3:1 chip underdog before taking a 3:1 lead of his own after 50 hands. On whether he’d have reason to panic being an underdog with millions of dollars on the line, he told us, “Is a tree falling on me? Am I getting shot at? Why would I panic?”
At the final table, Moon played valiantly against Cada, an online heads-up specialist. Read more about heads-up play in the 2009 WSOP Main Event.
Moon failed to ink a logo deal leading up to the final table, telling Poker News Daily, “They weren’t aggressive. They wanted to get me to sign a deal and I wasn’t interested. It would be bad for them and bad for me both if I would sign because I wouldn’t do what they wanted me to one day and we’d have trouble.” Moon sought a one-off logo deal and was reportedly seeking $350,000 for a one-day agreement. However, none came and he donned a New Orleans Saints cap and Wheeling Island Casino shirt.
The buzz surrounding Moon was that he could become the next Chris Moneymaker as an everyday logger from Maryland who won the Main Event. Moon owned no e-mail or credit card and commented that being interviewed by the media was like being “a deer in the headlights.”