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World Series of Poker -- The Title Defense Begins for Joe Cada

Recent Main Event Champs Have Taken Different Approaches After Title


Joe CadaJust like last year, Joe Cada is in the field on Day 1c of the main event. Just like last year, he hopes to exceed everyone’s expectations.

Cada’s title defense officially begins today as he sits down for the 2010 main event. It’s been a tough summer for the young champion, as he has struggled to get anything going. According to the entrants lists that the WSOP provides, Cada played 17 WSOP events in 2010 with zero in-the-money finishes.

Cada sat down with Card Player TV recently to talk about this summer, how it compares to last summer, and his hopes for the main event.

In the 2009 World Series, Cada’s first since he had just turned 21, he cashed in two events before his main-event run.

“It’s tough. You can only play your best,” said Cada, talking about his struggles this year. “You never know what’s going to happen. You can run hot and go deep in like five tournaments in a row, or you can go 0-for-30. That’s the tough thing. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself.”

According to Card Player’s results, Cada has booked just one live cash so far in 2010 despite playing a number of major events as a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

Cada says he is looking to play more online in the next few months.

“I want to get back to playing good poker again and playing at the right times,” said Cada. “I want to get back to grinding online. I took a lot of time off [online], and that’s where I put in most of all my time, where I got all my experience, and where I stayed sharp and got good results.”

On The Other Side of the Spectrum

Cada’s dedication to playing World Series events this year is a sharp contrast to his main event champion predecessor, Peter Eastgate.

Eastgate didn’t play in a single preliminary event in the World Series this year, saying in a PokerStars blog that he’d rather watch World Cup games than play in WSOP events.

“I don’t have the motivation to play all the small events at the WSOP,” Eastgate said at the time. “That would be a waste of money. To me it’s not that important to win bracelet number two.”

Peter EastgateWhile Eastgate declined to play in the preliminaries this year, practically everyone expected him to be back in Las Vegas main event, which made this week’s announcement all the more stunning.

“In the 20 months following my WSOP win, I feel that I have lost my motivation for playing high level poker along the way and I have decided that now is the time to find out what I want to do with the rest of my life. What this will be, I do not yet know. I have decided to take a break from live tournament poker, and try to focus on Peter Eastgate, the person,” Eastgate said in a statement released by PokerStars.

Once upon a time, Eastgate seemed determined to prove that he could have continued success at the World Series. He told Card Player in March 2009 (just months before his return to the World Series to defend his title) that his goal was to become the first main-event champion since Carlos Mortensen to win a second WSOP bracelet.

Just like Cada, however, Eastgate failed to record a single cash in any preliminary event in his return trip to the Rio in 2009 until he made a deep run in the main event, before eventually busting in 78th.

Eastgate has had notable poker success away from the Rio since his main-event win though. He won a 2009 PCA event for $343,000, then finished in second place in the 2009 EPT London main event for $844,285.

Some Former Main Event Champs Step Away, Others Return

Eastgate wasn’t the only recent champ who skipped most of the 2010 WSOP.

Jamie GoldJamie Gold, the 2006 winner, played only one preliminary event this year. He cashed in it, and told Card Player he has no regrets about taking time away from the game now to focus on his other endeavors, many of which include charitable projects.

“I believe that later in life, that will be what I want to do,” Gold said about playing a full WSOP schedule. “But I don’t see the World Series of Poker going anywhere anytime soon. And I have so many other things that I do in my life [right now]…I feel like while I’m relatively young, and I have a lot of energy, and people still care about me, I have the ability to raise a lot of money for things that I care about. Poker will always be here.”

While Gold returned to Las Vegas just for a short stay, 2007 champ Jerry Yang has surprisingly been here almost all summer.

Coming into the 2010 WSOP, Yang had the unfortunate distinction of being the only main-event champion in the last three decades (since Hal Fowler in 1979) to have just one WSOP cash to his name, which of course was his main-event cash. However, Yang’s spot in that undesirable category was mostly due to the fact that he didn’t play too many WSOP events, even after his big win.

Jerry YangIn 2010, however, Yang has played in 13 no-limit hold’em events with buy-ins ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 at the World Series, cashing in three of them.

Cada, Eastgate, Yang, and Gold have all taken different approaches in the years following their main-event wins. The most recent two have immersed themselves in the poker community, with Eastgate deciding enough was enough and that he needed to step away, while the latter two have distanced themselves from the day-to-day grind, with Yang just recently rejoining the party this summer.

This year’s main event champion will ultimately face that very same choice — does he (or she) want to devote the next few years of his life to around-the-world traveling and high-stakes poker tournaments, or does he want to bow out, collect his winnings, and go back to his normal life as best he can?

Author’s Note: This article originally mistakenly said that Chris Ferguson was the last main-event winner to win another WSOP bracelet after his title. That distinction actually belongs to Carlos Mortensen. Thanks to readers for InshaAllah_123 and WatsUp for giving us the heads-up on the correction.



over 11 years ago

"the first main-event champion since Chris Ferguson to win a second WSOP bracelet." Didn't Carlos Mortensen (2001 main event champ) win a second bracelet in 2003?


over 11 years ago

Yes he did, he did it in may 27 i think for 1/4 o/m limit tourney,here it is Buy-In: $5,000
Prize Pool: $664,950
Entrants: 143
Limit Hold'em
May 17, '03

Event Info

Event Results
Place Player Winnings POY Points

1 Carlos Mortensen $251,680
2 Mark Gregorich $126,340
3 David Chiu $63,530
4 Lee Salem $39,900
5 Meng La $26,600
6 Lonnie Heimowitz $23,280
6 Bruce Erickson $16,620
7 Larry Beilfuss $19,940
9 Steven Rosen $13,300