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This Week's Big Winner: Hand History Rewind: Joe Cada Wins 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Aug 26, 2020

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Joe CadaThe 2020 World Series of Poker was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas this summer, marking the 15th year that the main event has crowned a champion at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. (The 2005 main event was finished at Binion’s Horseshoe.)

That streak is now in jeopardy because of the pandemic that has put a pause on major live poker tournaments all over the globe, but officials hope that the series, or at least a main event, can be played out in the fall.

With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to look back at the first main events held at the Rio. We first revisited Jamie Gold’s dominating run in 2006, Jerry Yang’s win in 2007, and then Peter Eastgate’s victory in 2008. This issue, we’ll look back at Joe Cada, who banked $8,547,044 in 2009.

Eastgate was a month shy of his 23rd birthday at the time of his win in 2008, surpassing then 24-year-old Phil Hellmuth as the youngest champion in poker history. Cada, however, was just eight days shy of his 22nd birthday when he took down poker’s biggest prize, a record he still holds to this day.

The Michigan native was already a successful cash game grinder when he earned the spotlight for his tournament success, and in the years since, he has proven that he was no one-hit wonder. In 2012, he won a side event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and then finished runner-up in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event at the WSOP. After another final table in 2013, Cada picked up his second bracelet and $670,041 in the $10,000 six-max event in 2014.

His 2018 campaign was even better, scoring two more bracelet wins, including the $3,000 shootout for $226,218, and another $1,500 no-limit event for $612,886. He also managed to make the final table of the main event yet again, this time settling for fifth place and another $2,150,000. Last summer, he nearly picked up his fifth bracelet in the $5,000 six-max, earning $468,488 for second place. In total, Cada has racked up more than $14.1 million in lifetime live tournament cashes.

Here are five key hands from the final table.

Tournament – 2009 WSOP Main Event
Buy-In: $10,000
Prize Pool: $61,043,600
No. of Entries: 6,494
First Place Prize: $8,547,044

The Action

Shulman raised to 1,750,000 from under-the-gun and Cada moved all-in for 10,800,000 from the blinds. Shulman called with pocket jacks, and was a big favorite to eliminate Cada with his pocket treys. The board fell 8Heart Suit 4Heart Suit 3Diamond Suit 7Spade Suit QHeart Suit, however, and Cada made a set to double up and stay in contention. Shulman was eliminated a short while later in fifth place, earning $1,953,452.

The Action

Cada raised to 2,550,000 from the small blind and Saout responded with a three-bet to 7,300,000 from the big blind. Cada then moved all-in, and Saout snap called him with pocket queens. Cada only had pocket deuces, but the flop of 9Spade Suit 7Spade Suit 2Diamond Suit vaulted him into the lead. The 3Heart Suit and 6Spade Suit completed the board, and Cada doubled up to the chip lead three-handed, while Saout saw half of his stack shipped across the table.

The Action

Cada raised to 2,500,000 on the button and Saout three-bet all-in from the small blind. Moon folded his big blind, and Cada quickly called with ADiamond Suit KSpade Suit. Saout was in a race situation with pocket eights, and he remained ahead as the dealer brought out a flop of 5Heart Suit 5Club Suit 4Spade Suit. The 10Diamond Suit on the turn was also a safe card, but the KClub Suit on the river paired Cada and sent the Frenchman home in third place, good enough for $3,479,669. Saout would return to the final table again in 2017, this time picking up $2,000,000 for fifth place.

The Action

After being grinded down heads-up, Cada raised to 3,000,000 on the button and Moon defended his big blind. The flop came down 10Club Suit 9Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit, and both players checked. The turn was the 10Diamond Suit, and Cada bet 3,000,000. Moon wasted no time and announced that he was all in. Cada went into the tank for a while, and ultimately decided to call with JHeart Suit 9Diamond Suit. He was happy to see Moon show 8Spade Suit 7Spade Suit for a open-ended straight draw, and when the 3Heart Suit hit the river, he had doubled into the chip lead.

The Action

Cada raised to 3,000,000 on the button and Moon reraised to 8,000,000. Cada then moved all-in, and Moon instantly made the call with QDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit, surprising most of the crowd watching along. Cada could only show down pocket nines, however, making it essentially a coinflip situation. The flop of 8Club Suit 7Spade Suit 2Club Suit kept Cada in the lead, and the KHeart Suit on the was safe as well. Moon needed one of his six remaining outs to double up to the chip lead, but instead the river was the 7Club Suit, and he was eliminated in second place. Moon took nearly $5.2 million with him back to Maryland, while Cada became the youngest WSOP main event winner in history.

Final Table Results

1. Joe Cada — $8,547,044
2. Darvin Moon — $5,182,927
3. Antoine Saout — $3,479,669
4. Eric Buchman — $2,502,890
5. Jeff Shulman — $1,953,452
6. Steve Begleiter — $1,587,160
7. Phil Ivey — $1,404,014
8. Kevin Schaffel — $1,300,231
9. James Akenhead — $1,263,602