Poker Tournament Trail -- Joe Cada
The World Champion Chats about his Reign as the WSOP Main Event Champion
How much would your life change if you won the World Series of Poker main event and over $8.5 million (before taxes and backers)?
The past three months have probably felt like a bit of a dream for Joe Cada, who became the youngest main-event champion in history after he defeated Darvin Moon heads up last November.
Cada was signed as a member of Team PokerStars Pro, and he took part in a media tour that culminated with an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. He will be playing in many events leading into the WSOP this summer, including the upcoming North America Poker Tour event at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship at Caesars Palace.
Card Player’s tournament manager Ryan Lucchesi caught up with the young champ to ask him how his life has changed.
Ryan Lucchesi: What has it been like for you during the first couple of months as world champion?
Joe Cada: I’m still trying to get used to everything. It is a lot different for me. There has been a lot of media stuff that I have been traveling for. I had a few weeks off back at home for Christmas and New Years, and it was nice to be home. I don’t feel like I’m playing my best poker, though.
RL: Now that the initial wave of attention is receding, are you glad to have a chance to dive back into playing?
JC: I’m very confident in my game, but I always want to do my best when I play. It has been a little harder to grind online now, as well. I’m trying to get the rust out and get back to playing my best poker.
RL: What adjustments will you make this year as you turn your attention more to live poker tournaments from online play?
JC: I played in a few live tournaments last year in Costa Rica and the Bahamas, but now I will be playing in even more events, like the EPTs. Hopefully I can have some success and win one of these tournaments this year.
RL: What does it mean to you personally to be an ambassador for poker?
JC: It means a lot. I love playing poker. It has been my life for a lot of years now. I hope I can help poker out a lot in the current position that I’m in, I’m not going to back down and say it’s all too much. This is my duty as the winner, and I also want to help.
RL: How much fun are you having with the whole process?
JC: It’s been a lot of fun. I love having fun and I have been trying to enjoy everything when it happens.
RL: What was your experience like appearing on David Letterman?
JC: I think it was my worst interview, actually. I wish I hadn’t said some of the things I said on there, because I was on the spot. I wasn’t used to that.
RL: What events are you going to play at prior to the WSOP this summer?
JC: I will be playing at the NAPT event at the Venetian. I will be at all of the NAPT events, and probably one of the LAPT events here and there. I’m going to try to play in the L.A. Poker Classic, but we’ll see — I’m pretty busy.
JC: What has been the major shift you have noticed in your perceived table image since you won the main event?
RL: You don’t really get too much credit. I have maybe tightened up a little bit and changed my style because people think I’m an aggressive player. In a lot of hands, you open up a little bit smaller because a lot of people are playing back at you.
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