Recently, World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine member Joe Cada inked an agreement to be sponsored by PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site. The signing marked the end of a grueling process for Cada and his agent, Dan Frank.

A verbal agreement between Cada and PokerStars was reached, although the process of finalizing a contract took several days. While holding out for PokerStars, Cada passed up what Frank called “really good” offers from PokerHost (a USA-friendly Cake Poker Network site) and Ultimate Bet, which makes its home on the popular CEREUS Network. Ultimate Bet and PokerHost offered their contracts to Cada around the same time and gave the youngster 24 hours to come to a decision. In the end, he decided to pass up both and wait for an offer from PokerStars.

Frank believed PokerStars was gunning to sign WSOP November Nine members Antoine Saout and Darvin Moon. One online poker site can only sponsor three players at the final table of the Main Event this year, making the process of signing players competitive. Saout inked an agreement with Everest Poker, which is the official on-felt sponsor of the WSOP, and Moon has yet to sign with an online poker site. On why Cada was intent on signing with PokerStars, Frank commented, “He loves that brand more than the others. That’s where he plays most of his online poker.”

When Cada could not commit to Ultimate Bet, the site gave him extra time to contemplate his next move. Meanwhile, Cada was a guest on ESPN’s “Poker Edge” radio show, where he told host Phil Gordon that he wanted to sign an agreement with PokerStars. Frank quickly contacted the online poker site and a contract soon followed. Frank told Poker News Daily, “It was very unnerving because I thought I had all of the possible deals on the table for him. I thought the Ultimate Bet and PokerHost deals were the best he was going to see and the fact that he wouldn’t let me discuss them was frustrating. We’re grateful that PokerStars came to the table. To have both Eric and Joe sign with PokerStars – I’m grateful for that.”

“Eric” refers to fellow WSOP November Nine member Eric Buchman, who signed with PokerStars in July. Cada commented in a press release distributed by Top Set Management, “I’m proud to have been chosen to represent PokerStars. Their reputation and prestige are second to none. I look forward to bringing even more accolades to their already decorated team.” In a July interview with Poker News Daily, Cada revealed that he had signed a one-day agreement with Ultimate Bet during the Main Event, but had not yet negotiated with any rooms for exposure at the final table.

Cada will hold the fifth largest chip stack when play resumes at the Rio in Las Vegas, while Buchman sits second in chips to Moon. Here’s a look at how the field will come armed to November’s final table:

1. Darvin Moon – 58,930,000
2. Eric Buchman – 34,800,000
3. Steven Begleiter – 29,885,000
4. Jeff Shulman – 19,580,000
5. Joe Cada – 13,215,000
6. Kevin Schaffel – 12,390,000
7. Phil Ivey – 9,765,000
8. Antoine Saout – 9,500,000
9. James Akenhead – 6,800,000

Cada and Buchman join a roster of PokerStars pros that already includes former WSOP Main Event Champions Peter Eastgate (2008), Joe Hachem (2005), Greg Raymer (2004), Chris Moneymaker (2003), and Tom McEvoy (1983). 2008 WSOP November Nine members Dennis Phillips and Ylon Schwartz are PokerStars-sponsored pros, while Canadian accountant Darus Suharto is also associated with the site.

PokerStars players and gearing up for the annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), which will kick off on Thursday and culminate in a $5,200 buy-in Main Event with at least $10 million up for grabs. A total of 45 events will play out across a wide range of poker genres and tournament structures.

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