Las Vegas, NV
The result of the heads up match between Joe Cada and Darvin Moon ended up as expected with Cada emerging victorious and he became the youngest Main Event champion in the process. The 21-year old from Michigan broke the record set by Peter Eastgate from last year's November Nine (and that means Hellmuth's original record was broken in consecutive years). Cada is nine days shy of his 22nd birthday. He's gonna have one helluva celebration considering that he's a working class kid (his mom is a blackjack dealer at a Michigan casino and his father was a laid-off auto worker).
Although mostly everyone inside the Penn & Teller Theatre in the Rio Casino expected the backwards-PokerStars-hat-wearing Cada to beat the Nola Saints-hat clad Darvin Moon, no one predicted a lengthy heads up battle that would last 88 hands.
"For someone who does not play heads-up, he sure was a tough opponent," Cada remarked about Moon.
After the first hour of play, it was evident that Moon was not going to be a push over and the Luddite Logger from Maryland put up a heck of a fight against the kid who was more than half his age. Shit, Moon had scars, grudges, and police records older than Cada. Yet, by sheer aggression, Moon seized the lead a couple of times and even opened up a significant margin to silence Cada's stunned and drunken fans. However, Moon failed to deliver the proverbial knock out blow and take advantage of a rattled Cada. Instead, Moon Gumped-off his chips on a straight draw when Cada made a hero call with just a pair of Jacks (with J-9), which held up when he faded Moon's draw.
"I was not worried," explained Cada. "You can't stress out when that happens. You just have to continue to play your best poker."
On Hand #88, Cada awaited for Moon to make another crucial mistake. They got it all in on a coinflip. Cada had the best of it with pocket nines. Moon was racing with Qd-Jd but the poker gods could not give Moon any more assistance. He used up all of his "run good" karma and had no more one-time chips. Moon whiffed on his overs and Cada won the pot...
and the tournament...
and the bracelet.
In an ironic twist, Darvin Moon actually collected more money for second place ($5,182,928) than Joe Cada ($8,547,042) since Cada was obligated to split 50% of his winnings with his backers: Johnny Bax and Eric "Sheets" Haber.
Moon and Paul Wasicka have something in common -- they won more money for second place than the player who beat them heads up. For Wasicka, it's was the Jamie Gold debacle in 2006 where Gold had to share an undisclosed amount of money with Crispin Lesyer after the two entered a verbal agreement where Gold would fork over half of his winnings.
Cada the Kid won. His crew of soused Yellow Submariners from Michigan went apeshit and they finally had a reason to celebrate -- their hero won the most prestigious tournament in all of poker.
Congrats to Joe Cada for an amazing run and comeback.
Oh, and a hearty congrats to Darvin Moon. No one gave the Luddite Logger a chance tonight, let alone at the November Nine. Heck, even the security guards has zero respect for him according to Nolan Dalla, "(Moon) wore no logos and generally blended in with the crowd wherever he went. Prior to entering the arena to play for the championship, Moon was stopped by security officers and was not allowed to enter since he did not have tickets or any credentials. Moon politely protested and announced he was one of the Main Event finalists. After a few awkward moments, the situation was straightened out and Moon was permitted entry. Moon stated that he was stopped at the door a number of times over the past three days."
Losing to Cada did not seem to bother Moon.
"It's only money," Moon said. "The more you win, the more you pay to the government (in taxes). I play for the game."
The 2009 WSOP is finally... over. Thanks to everyone for your support and following the Tao of Poker's coverage of this year's WSOP. Thanks for the links and for plugging the Tao of Poker especially via Twitter.
It's been a wild ride this year. I'm drained and exhausted and I could not have done it without all of you -- the readers.
I also have to thank the Tao of Poker All Stars for their contributions in WSOP coverage over the summer. You guys rock. And I hope to have all of you back next year.
Signing off from Las Vegas...
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