Like many young aspiring poker pros, Joe Cada realized that college wasn’t for him. The Shelby Township, MI native took the leap toward becoming a professional poker player shortly after beginning classes at Macomb Community College. And while most dropouts find the transition difficult, Cada’s decision to leave school turned out to be the most lucrative of his young life: a short time later he became a member of the 2009 World Series of Poker November Nine.
On July 15, Joe Cada earned a spot at the final table of the WSOP Main Event, which resumed on November 7, as he outlasted a field of 6,494 players to guarantee himself a payday of at least $1,263,602. He had his eyes set on the first-place prize of $8,546,435 and a gold bracelet when the tournament wrapped up on Monday, November 10th.
Although he spends most of his time on the felts playing cash games, Cada took a stab at his first ever World Series of Poker in 2009 after turning 21 last year. He cashed twice before the Main Event, taking 64th in Event #13 ($2,500 No Limit Hold’em) for $6,681, and then 17th in Event #34 ($1,500 No Limit Hold’em) for $21,533. Once among the chip leaders of Event #34, Joe Cada was eliminated by PokerStars Team Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier when Grospellier hit a two-outer on the river against him.
2009 WSOP Main Event
Cada didn’t soon forget about what could have been in his big hand against ElkY. After finishing Day 1C of the Main Event as the overall chip leader, Cada told friend and fellow pro Justin “looshle” Pechie, “I’m finally getting my run-good after that ElkY hand.” He knew he could go above and beyond what even the great Grospellier has accomplished by winning the Main Event.
Cada entered the final table fifth in chips with 13,215,000. He made a big move on Day 8, doubling his stack despite having his pocket aces cracked by the pocket tens of Jamie Robbins after all of the chips went in preflop. That 3.5 million chip pot would have given Joe more ammunition to fire at his tablemates, but it certainly didn’t prevent him from attacking any more. Joe Cada was the most active player at his table and even played back at Phil Ivey several times as the final table approached.
He came armed to the final table at the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio armed with a throng of yellow-shirted supporters and was railed by Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy, who met Cada in June during the 2009 WSOP.
Cada knocked out Frenchman Antoine Saout in third place after a 17 and a half hour marathon final table to set up heads-up play against Darvin Moon. Cada crippled Saout by drawing out with pocket deuces against pocket queens after spiking a two on the flop before sending Saout home in third. In Saout’s final hand, Cada rivered a king holding A-K, trumping the France icon’s pocket eights.
Cada entered heads-up play against Moon leading with 135 million chips to 58 million. After an 88 hand battle, Cada took down Darvin Moon to become the youngest main event champion in WSOP history besting Peter Eastgate’s mark set only one year ago.