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Joseph Cada Wins 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event

Cada Earns $8,546,435, Moon Takes Home $5,182,601


Joseph CadaDarvin Moon was seven outs from the World Series of Poker main event Championship, but it wasn’t meant to be for the 46-year-old everyman from Maryland.

Instead, the title belongs to 21-year-old online professional Joseph Cada, who eclipsed Peter Eastgate’s record for youngest main-event winner in poker history.

The win was anything but easy for the Michigan native, who at times seemed resigned to his fate of finishing runner-up to the more inexperienced Moon.

But experience ultimately prevailed, and it was Cada’s calm under pressure that allowed him to keep a level head and, eventually, take it down.

Ironically, while it was pocket nines that got Cada into trouble on the first hand of heads-up play, just 87 hands later it was pocket nines that secured him the title.

Here were the chip counts entering the final battle:

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

Darvin MoonMoon drew first blood with a huge pot right out of the gate. He limped on the button, and Cada raised to 3.5 million from the big blind. Moon didn’t hesitate to call. The flop came out KSpade Suit 3Spade Suit 2Diamond Suit, and Cada continued with a bet of 3.5 million. Moon raised to 10 million, and, after some thought, Cada called.

The turn was the ADiamond Suit, and Moon fired in the same bet of 10 million. Cada called, and the river paired the board with the KClub Suit. Both players checked, and Moon’s pocket queens topped Cada’s pocket nines.

All of a sudden, Cada’s lead didn’t appear so insurmountable for the logger from Maryland. With the gap closed, Moon took the lead just 15 minutes later.

Joseph CadaCada had the button and raised to 2.5 million. Moon called, and the flop came down JClub Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit. Moon checked, Cada bet 3.5 million, and Moon check-raised to 8.5 million. Cada called, and both players checked the QDiamond Suit on the turn.

The river was the 2Heart Suit, and Moon bet 7.25 million. Cada called and mucked when Moon showed QHeart Suit 8Spade Suit for top pair. With that pot, Moon took the lead with 101 million to Cada’s 93 million.

The two jostled back and forth for a bit before Cada really put the pressure on. Moon raised to 3 million, and Cada called. The flop came down JClub Suit 4Heart Suit 2Diamond Suit, and Cada checked to Moon, who bet 4 million.

Cada called, and the turn was the QHeart Suit. Cada checked once again, and Moon bet 6 million. Cada check-raised to 16.75 million, and Moon called relatively quickly.

Darvin MoonThe river was the 5Club Suit, and Cada announced a bet of 35 million. Moon leaned back in his chair and let out a big sigh before pitching in his cards. The cards were unknown to everyone but ESPN, which will surely show the hand on Tuesday. With that pot, Cada retook the lead with 120 million to 72 million.

After picking off a river bluff attempt by Moon, Cada was back in the driver seat, but Moon adapted and began to make big bets, including an all-in bet to freeze the young gun out. Pretty soon, they were dead even in chips with 97 million apiece.

The two remained virtually even through the break, but a rejuvenated Moon quickly took the upper hand with two hefty pots, allowing his chip advantage to grow to 122 million to 73 million.

Joseph CadaThe damage just kept coming from Moon, who seemed to figure out the puzzle that was Cada. Cada raised to 3 million on the button, and Moon called. The flop came out AClub Suit 5Diamond Suit 3Heart Suit, and Moon led out for 5 million.

Cada paused and then raised to 13 million. Darvin wasted no time cutting out a stack of five, then ten million. But he drew gasps from the crowd as he continued to cut out more and more chips, eventually settling on a raise to 30 million. Cada immediately folded, and the pro-Moon crowd went berserk.

Now sitting with a 3-1 chip lead, Moon slipped up. Cada raised to 3 million on the button, and Moon called. The flop came 10Club Suit 9Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit, and both players checked.

The turn was the 10Diamond Suit, and Moon checked once again. Cada bet 3 million, and Moon announced all in. Cada took some time before making the call for his last 50 million or so with JHeart Suit 9Diamond Suit.

Darvin MoonMoon showed 8Spade Suit 7Spade Suit for the open-ended straight draw, but missed when the river came in the form of the 3Heart Suit. Now, Cada was back on top with 108 million to Moon’s 87 million.

The hand left Moon shaken and perhaps a bit too trigger happy, eager to double-up or go home. Just a few hands later, Cada raised to 3 million on the button, and Moon reraised to 8 million. Cada moved all in, and and Moon called for his last 67 million instantly with QDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit!

Cada showed 9Club Suit 9Diamond Suit, and they were off to the races. The flop came down 8Club Suit 7Spade Suit 2Club Suit, and Cada’s camp went wild.

Cada stood away from the table, burying his face in Cliff Josephy’s chest, unable to watch.

The turn was the KHeart Suit, making both sides of the auditorium flinch. With just six outs separating him from elimination, Moon watched as the 7Club Suit hit the river, and a deafening roar moved throughout the theater.

Joseph CadaWith a safe river card firmly on the felt, Joseph Cada leaped into the air in celebration but quickly separated himself from his throng of supporters to shake Darvin Moon’s hand.

The crowd continued to chant “Joey! Joey! Joey!” as Jeffrey Pollack introduced the new, youngest-ever main-event champion in poker history to the crowd.

Cada took the mic and shook off a tear or two before thanking his legion of friends, family, and fans in the audience. With that, he hoisted the bracelet over his head, much to the delight of everyone in the theater.

Moon exited the Penn and Teller Theater with $5,182,601, but Cada took home the lion’s share with $8,546,435.