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Joe Cada Faces Darvin Moon For WSOP Main-Event Title

Heads-Up Match Takes Place Monday Night

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Main Event Final TableThe festivities began at noon Saturday. 17 hours and 50 minutes later, and we still don’t know who will be this year’s World Series of Poker main-event champion. The November Nine has been whittled to the “Monday Night Two,” but oh what a grind it was getting to that point.

In 2008, it took just 169 hands to determine the final two players. By the 169th hand on Saturday, there were still seven competitors going strong in the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio hotel and casino.

Before we get into the grueling details, here’s a look at how they began their adventure.

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

James AkenheadEveryone was expecting early fireworks due to the three short-stacks at the table, but play was cautious and methodical to start, and it took more than four hours before the first players hit the rail.

Despite an exciting double up with K-Q against Eric Buchman’s A-K, the UK’s James Akenhead lost it all back when his pocket kings ran into Schaffel’s pocket aces. Sitting with a crippled stack, Akenhead pushed pocket treys only to run into Schaffel’s pocket nines. His ninth-place finish was worth $1,263,602.

Eric BuchmanSchaffel’s aces had been kind to him, but how quickly things can turn. When his pocket aces found action against Buchman’s pocket kings, the board brought both remaining kings, giving Buchman more than enough to scoop the pot with quads and send Schaffel out in eighth place, good for $1,300,228.

The next few hours saw plenty of action, but no eliminations, as Joseph Cada saw his stack get crippled and quickly recover. Meanwhile, Darvin Moon went from chip leader to middle of the pack thanks to some questionable plays that may only be explained during the televised ESPN broadcast.

Phil Ivey and Kevin SchaffelA two-hour dinner break came and went before the madness resumed. On one of the first hands back, Phil Ivey got the rest of his stack in with A-K and found a willing caller in Moon holding A-Q. Ivey has had a bad history with A-Q at other final tables, and Saturday was no different as the board brought Moon a queen. Ivey picked up $1,404,002 for his seventh-place finish, and the packed theater audience struggled to recover.

Jeff ShulmanThe deflated crowd stirred back to life to watch Moon once again come from behind against sixth-place finisher Steven Begleiter. Begleiter opened for a small raise, and Moon inexplicably set him all in with A-Q. Begleiter called with pocket queens and was looking strong to double up, but an ace on the river ended his night. The former Bear Stearns executive banked $1,587,133 for his troubles.

Joseph CadaCard Player President and COO Jeff Shulman held steady for quite some time at his original starting stack when he found himself in good shape to take out Cada. Instead, Cada’s pocket treys cracked Shulman’s pocket jacks to take the wind out of his sails. Shulman never rebounded from the loss and was eliminated an hour later in a race situation. He picked up $1,953,395 for his run, more than 13 times what he earned for his seventh-place finish in 2000.

Antoine SaoutThe final four players spent the next two hours jockeying for position before the biggest pot of the final table up to that point went down. Antoine Saout and Eric Buchman got into a raising war, and Saout’s A-K held against Buchman’s A-Q to give Saout a huge chip lead and cripple Buchman. About 20 minutes later, Buchman finally succumbed to Moon, pocketing $2,502,787 for fourth place.

With Cada on the short stack, he was caught making a move at the wrong time with pocket deuces, only to run into Saout’s pocket queens. Blessed all final table, Cada’s contingent exploded when the flop brought a deuce. The set held, and Saout was left short. About an hour later, Saout’s pocket eights were taken out by Cada’s A-K with a king on the river to end the evening and the Frenchman’s tournament in third place. He’ll take home $3,479,485 as a consolation prize.

Here’s a look at the chip counts going into Monday’s finale.

Joseph Cada — 136,925,000
Darvin Moon — 58,875,000

The action resumes at 10 p.m. PST on Monday night as the players begin their heads-up battle to determine the 2009 WSOP main-event champion.

Darvin MoonFor more in-depth tournament details, visit the live updates page from the Card Player tournament team.

Card Player writer Stephen A. Murphy chronicled each player’s elimination as the day progressed. Read their stories in the links below.

James Akenhead
Kevin Schaffel
Phil Ivey
Steven Begleiter
Jeff Shulman
Eric Buchman

 
 
 
 

Comments

Humbreto
almost 12 years ago

While it is true that skill helps in poker, Moon and Cada evidenced through there hoard of suck outs that there is no substitute for sheer luck. This has gone from the most anticipated final table to an absolute joke in 24 hours. It will be truly sad to call either of these two world champion.

 
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crackerjack
almost 12 years ago

May the luckiest man win

 
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crewzin
almost 12 years ago

Thats what the world series has become a suck out match nothing you can do about it

 
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bigtoke
almost 12 years ago

I have been playing poker for roughly 5o years and consider myself an elite poker player. That being said, luck trumps skill always, as evidenced from this final twosome.

I listened to the whole sordid mess...let me say that I KNEW Ivey was going down when his AK went down to Moon's AQ. When Phil exited, the notion that a skilled player would finally prevail in this tournament left through an open window.

As to who wins, Cada is a lucky punk and Moon is a lucky average Joe, I guess I'll root for the older of the two and hope I run into them sometime in a ring game. Neither even remotely impresses me.

 
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dc_
almost 12 years ago

What a mockery of a final table this year. The sheer luck over and over again was sickening. Cada's epic comeback from 2m chips was interesting, but in light of all the other suckouts it was just plain unwelcome in my opinion.

 
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clarkman99
almost 12 years ago

Thank God Jeff Shulman didnt win. His commet about throwing away the bracelet was dispicable! If he played great and got 2nd that would be OK but give the bracelet to someone who cherishes it, and the moment.

 
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drhoff
almost 12 years ago

I think you all need to gain a bit of perspective here. No one makes it through a field of 6500 players on sheer luck. Regardless of the lucky breaks these players have caught at the final table, you have to give credit where credit is due for making it as far as they did. You have to remember that in addition to the big hands that were televised, these guys played solid poker for thousands of hands over the course of 9 days.

 
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Prieure
almost 12 years ago

If that donkey Moon wins it will be a tragedy and Hal Fowler will lose his title of worst champion ever. As for Cada, I wanted Eastgate to keep his record, so I hope they find a way to disqualify both and give the bracelet to the French guy.
Here's hoping this is the death of the Nov 9, a ridiculous idea, the WSOP Main Event continues to be unfit to be called the World Championship, the gap in quality between the WSOPE Main Event and this continues to grow and grow each year. They have to raise the buy in before they have no viewers at all.

A laughing stock, that's what it is now.

 
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Humbreto
almost 12 years ago

Dr. Hoff, Yes it does take PATIENCE to get through 6,000 people and 9 days of poker. However, you could survive primarily on luck for those days. You don't have to take this main event in a vacuum to realize this. Look at Jaimie Gold and Jerry Yang. A complete idiot could do what Moon and Cada have done with the breaks/cards they are getting. I am not going to give these two credit for playing "solid" poker. Anyone can do that!

 
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seamarfan269
almost 12 years ago

Pretty sure if you check with the pro's they will tell you RESPECT is what you win for being the Main Event winner. At least it used to be. If you want RESPECT from the pro's now you have to win the $50k H.O.R.S.E. If you win the Main Event now, you are a Media Star and millionaire (just like winning the POWERBALL); nothing more. You are chum for the sharks to eat at a later date. See Jamie Gold. Nuff Said.

 
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AndyMalMan
almost 12 years ago

Honestly, if you think for one second that it doesn't take a bit of luck (or even a lot of luck) to win a tournament, then you are sadly mistaken. How many games have you all played where AK v AQ or 99 vs AJ for all the chips in a tournament, especially late, and especially against a player who CAN AFFORD to make the call. Mike Sexton on MANY WPT broadcasts talks about making a call to eliminate a player. WSOPME champion is only a diminished title to those who thinks of it as being a diminished title. 6500 people still showed up for the event (and how many were turned away?) All I am saying here is, these two guys were lucky enough to wade through the thick of competition and make it to heads up play. Calm down everyone who thinks this is a travesty, because it's not.

 
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kenag
almost 12 years ago

Well i guess after 6 hours of outplaying the donks Ivey was so far ahead that a call with a/8 was a champion call! He had alot of time to outplay the fools and finished 7th where he started. So give all credit for doing as well as they did and see you next year if your better. Good luck with managing the Fame and money as that is what all the bashing is really about!

 
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Humbreto
almost 12 years ago

Kenag, How did Ivey go out. That is right at the hands of a Darvin Moon suck out. You are an idiot!

 
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Dave112
almost 12 years ago

New poker term for getting sucked out on is "getting mooned."

 
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pikachucards
almost 12 years ago

Wow, the combined intelligence of the people who posted here isn't higher than many people individually. Do you all play poker in a cave somewhere? Bad beats and suckouts are a regular occurrence in poker. Stupid fanboys.

 
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Dave112
almost 12 years ago

Yes, Mr. Almighty Pikachu Genius, we know suckouts occur, they just don't occur 7 days in a row, unless your last name is Moon. Mr. Pikachu Genius you will see Moon suckout tomorrow, then you will worship my words as holy script...

 
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Mexican poca
almost 12 years ago

Why bother tearing down these guy's games. they got there, they are getting paid big time, and you would all love to be in their position.
Gotta love the WSOP for letting average joes have the time of their lives.

 
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Mrivleague
almost 12 years ago

Most of you guys don't play poker on a regular basis or even online to know who Joe Cada is or"jcada99".. http://www.pokerprolabs.com/jcada99/fulltiltpoker.aspx

Go to this site an you will see he's no fluke! He was never all in and called anytime during the tournament except the final table where yes he did make some poor decisions , but got lucky which is a big part of the tournament game, that's why there's 5 cards delt out!
Cada will be a great ambassador for the game and I can't wait to see "The Golden Boy" win!

 
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TheVirus
almost 12 years ago

So all of you sitting at home on watching this are apparently jealous that someone new gets a chance to win the tourney?

That is the only thing I can think of with all of the negative comments.

Just keep practicing and playing and wading through the other competitors and maybe some day luck will shine down upon you and you will have your seat at the November 9.

Personally, I don't care who wins, I am just enjoying the show!

 
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JackOfPoker
almost 12 years ago

You guys are all sore losers, who cant see anyone win!!

 
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clunker
almost 12 years ago

WOW lot of sour grapes here. And since when dose a person who puts up their money and makes it where these 2 gentlemen are owe poker anything. I think Mr Moon has shown alot of integraty by not selling his soul to some poker site. Would lead me to beleive he has a life outside of poker.

 
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MoosPlayer
almost 12 years ago

Congratulations to Moon and Cada. *#** all the jealous haters.

 
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permanentilt
almost 12 years ago

I am personally hoping for Moon to take it down with a series of crazy badbeats on Cada!

Don't y'all remember what happened the last time a lucky bad player won? Poker became an international industry, the donks flocked in with reckless abandon to give their money away at the tables, the golden age of poker began. Moon winning will just be more evidence to the donks that anyone can win. Another "Moneymaker effect" would be AWESOME for poker.

Honestly I also like the way Moon didn't accept any sponsorship deals, and is sticking with his lucky Saints cap (8-0 GO SAINTS!). It shows he is an honest guy who isn't willing to support something he isn't a part of, never having played online poker.

Also, I am a big fan of finishing college, and I would rather college students not use the Eastgate/Cada excuse to drop out and pick up poker full time. Think about it, what would you rather? A bunch of donks with "real jobs" realizing that anyone can win and playing more poker or a bunch of college dropouts studying the game vigorously and grinding it out at the tables? Would you rather play against weak opponents to whom poker is a hobby or tough opponents who are trying like hell to make poker their livelyhood? I can tell you from vast experience, recreational players are more pleasant at the tables, and happily lose a lot more money!

GO MOON!!!!!

 
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hoagiepete
almost 12 years ago

When pros suck out...it's a great play or when they are in with the worst of it...just an ill-timed "misread." Seems their play is always justified somehow. When amateurs do the same...they're automatically termed a donk.

While it is a game of skill, luck is a much bigger part of the game of poker than most are willing to admit.

I suppose if I would be playing for the bracelet, it wouldn't matter much what bunch of folks on internet has to say about it.

Congrats to all that did well this year.

 
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maxima191
almost 12 years ago

Darvin Moon is not a world class poker representative, never mind a representative for the poker lifestyle. The guy is a typical hermit who wants to be left alone after the WSOP is over to chop lots of wood. He keeps claiming he doesn't know this and he doesn't know that....that he is a good ol country boy....please....if it wasn't for luck, the idiot would been back chopping wood on day 1 on his 2nd plane ride of a lifetime. Guys who share the Gold mentality and all the other flash in the pan borderline trainable twits make poker a sport of luck, not skill. That's why it will never be legal online. These guys prove poker is luck and not a skill of the mind

 
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the_original_quads
almost 12 years ago

It is sad to see what has happened to the Main Event at the WSOP. You have to give Phil Ivey credit for wading through the field of donkeys this year and again back in 2003 when the original world class sucker Chris Moneymaker knocked Phil out in 10th place raising with AQoff into Phil's pocket nines like the donkey had AA.

In fact Chris Moneymaker was such a donkey he played his hand against Phil pre-flop and flop like he had AA SUITED :)

That brings us to this year's two WSOP ME donkeys. What else can I say that has not already been said. Neither of these two deserve the bracelet and neither is a world champion.

They should rename the event to the Suck Out Series of Poker SOSOP.

A final word to Phil. You and I have played many times back in AC in the old days. You my friend are a true champion with or without a WSOP ME bracelet. A champion by the nature of your game and your professionalism.

A previous comment was made that the real WSOP Champion is the winner of the $50K HORSE event, that event truly tests your skill as an all around poker player. The main event is now just a donkey race.

Long live the donkeys!

 
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boston_jeff
almost 12 years ago

Lucky bad players have won 2 of the last 3 MEs. Gold and Yang are donks that got lucky and hit amazing runs of cards. Moon winning will not create another Moneymaker effect. That ship sailed a long time ago.

 
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duhmojo
almost 12 years ago

While the numerous comments regarding the exceptional luck that Moon and Cada may have had to reach their current position are understandable, what I find difficult to understand is the anger that some posters are directing at these gentlemen--calling them donks, etc. What would justify this anger? As far as I can determine, both have conducted themselves with dignity and respect for other players, something that cannot be said of a few "world class" players who have often been on center stage in the past. Moon strikes me as a truly sincere, "I know who I am" person with whom I would enjoy playing poker. I admire his refusal to "cash in" on his current celebrity status. Don't know that much about Cada, but nothing I have seen or heard would suggest that he would be a bad ambassador for poker.

If they have been the beneficiary of exception luck to reach the final two, good for them. Yes, it does weaken our argument that poker is a game of skill, which is unfortunate, but that isn't their fault, and I would rather see either of these two win rather than some others that are clearly stronger players but weaker human beings.

 
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scrubbyz
almost 12 years ago

i need cada to win. i took him saout and akenhead all to win cause the odds were way to good 13:1 for cada. he is a talented online player and it wasnt fluke he got there. Anyway cada for the win and 13:1 for me

 
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scrubbyz
almost 12 years ago

saout shlda won i woulda got 17:1 on that :)

 
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pikachucards
almost 12 years ago

I maintain my earlier statement about the lack of intelligence from most of the posters in these comments.

A guy like Moon winning the WSOP ME because of luck doesn't weaken the "argument" that poker is a game of skill that has an element of luck to it. Any argument presented before Congress or a court will deal with variance. One, or five, WSOP tournaments being won by amateurs doesn't undermine the skill argument. If Ivey were able to play in 6,454 main events (or how ever many entrants there were), Ivey would win probably 10 of them. Darvin Moon would win 1, maybe 2. Or 0. It's called variance. If you're going to be a fanboy of a game, at least learn about the game before you whine about it. You guys are like chicks that say they like football because their boyfriends do, but they can't explain why a challenge flag can't be thrown in the last 2 minutes, or what an illegal formation is.

 
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2cardjunkie
almost 12 years ago

Boys, say what you want about these two, but there isn't one of us who wouldn't be willing to take this abuse in order to be called world champion. Give me 8.5 million and see who's laughing at who!

 
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daveinphilly
almost 12 years ago

What is clear with these derogatory posts is that there is snobbery and elitism in professional poker circles. I can't think of any other sport where an amateur has a decent chance to beat the seasoned pro. And the professionals hate that annoying fact because it diminishes all their efforts to get proficient at their game.

And it also eats away at their ego. They can't take the reality of it and it is shown by the rants you see on this thread. In addition, I think that the vast majority of poker players would prefer to have the personality of a Darvin Moon at their table rather than an abrasive Phil Hellmuth.

 
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MDaBoy14
almost 12 years ago

Cada is a professional. He's had 6 figure pay-days, he plays online heads up for tens of thousands daily. The only reason he's unknown is because he's 21 and this is his first WSOP. He cashed 3 times and your all telling me he's a bad player?

I mean when I hear of a kid who's 19 and pays for a 3 story house in full solely off of poker winnings I think "wow he must be really good" I hear of a guy who was chip leader after day 1 and went all tournament b4 the final table without putting all his chips in. I think "wow he must be really good" But heaven forbid he get lucky a few times at the final table. I forgot that because if your odds to win the hand are under 50 you automatically lose.

You all are pathetic idiots

 
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AdamY
almost 12 years ago

The_original_quad

- the hand you refer to with Moneymaker and Ivey with Ivey being eliminated from the 2003 ME, The only mistake Chris made in the hand was possibly not betting more on the flop, he flopped Q6Q with his AQ and was way ahead and was looking for some action and Ivey called and hit a 3-outer on turn, Chris bet 200,000 and Ivey shoved, Chris called and rivered an ace. It was a total cooler, and i doubt many pros would have played it much different. Moneymaker may not be world class, but he's waaaaaaay better than Gold, Yang, or Moon. Give the guy some credit, he may have made some mistakes when he won but he also made some damn ballsy moves as well. Everybody gets Lucky and unlucky in tournaments - he din't have to get NEAR as lucky to win in 2003 as Cada did this year...

 
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AdamY
almost 12 years ago

2 outer excuse me

 
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