As the newest ambassador of the game, 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion Joe Cada met with more than 10 Congressmen on Capitol Hill on Monday in a visit sponsored by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).
Cada could be found speaking with Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Representative Allen Boyd (D-FL), Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), Representative Candice Miller (R-MI), Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), Representative Dean Heller (R-NV), Representative Gary Peters (D-MI), Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV), and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). Cada hails from Michigan and met with his two Senators and local Representative throughout the whirlwind one-day affair.
PPA Executive Director John Pappas told Poker News Daily, “There were a number of really good visits with lawmakers like Joe Barton and Linda Sanchez, who are avid poker players, so they got to talk a little poker and a little policy. Throughout the day, he probably met another half-dozen members of Congress.” Congressman Heller brought Cada onto the floor of the House of Representatives during a vote, giving the youngster a unique opportunity to witness the democratic process first-hand.
On Capitol Hill, Cada and his entourage bumped into Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and had a five-minute long conversation. Ensign serves as the counterpart to Harry Reid (D-NV), the current Senate Majority Leader. On Cada’s parade around Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Pappas commented, “He doesn’t have the recognition that other pros we bring do, but he’s just becoming a face on the scene. He was great from our perspective. He wasn’t here to do the hard sell on public policy; he was here to give a good face to poker and tell his story.”
Cada became the youngest WSOP Main Event winner ever at age 21 in November, eclipsing Peter Eastgate’s standing record by one year. Cada and Eastgate are both card-carrying members of Team PokerStars Pro, which also includes other World Champions like Chris Moneymaker (2003), Greg Raymer (2004), and Australian Joe Hachem (2005). A bevy of news outlets met with Cada during the day, including Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call, popular Capitol Hill publications.
On the future of Cada’s relationship with the PPA, Pappas told Poker News Daily, “When we do fly-ins and other events, we want to be able to work with him and have him be a face for us in Washington, D.C. We’d love for him to continue to promote the PPA to the poker playing community, particularly to the younger online players who look up to Joe. He recognizes the importance of what we’re doing.” Cada’s post-WSOP Main Event media appearances have included the “Late Show with David Letterman” and ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” He’s also featured on the current cover of Bluff Magazine.
Next up for Cada is a trip to Las Vegas, where he will donate a two-hour training session to the prize pool of the All In For CP charity poker tournament, which will be held at the Hard Rock. Cada told Poker News Daily, “The PPA really treated me like a champion and made my stay very enjoyable. It was awesome meeting various politicians, especially the ones from Michigan. I placed third in John Pappas’ home game, which was a huge cash for me of $110. I’m looking forward to supporting the PPA in the fight. Next stop: Bellagio.”
Next up for the PPA is a push to pass legislation to legalize and regulate online poker in the United States. Pappas revealed, “We’ve built a lot of momentum at the end of the year and anticipate a Committee vote on HR 2267 in late January or early February. Right now, we’re focusing on the targets we need to get this legislation through.” HR 2267, proposed by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), provides a framework for online gaming companies to solicit U.S. customers. It boasts 63 co-sponsors.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest headlines from Capitol Hill.