November 11, 2009 - 07:51:12 PM EST  | 

Weeks before entering final table play, Joe Cada affirmed that as a World Series of Poker Main Event champion, he would be a strong ambassador for the poker community.

“I would absolutely love nothing more then being the youngest to win it and embrace the role, even though I am very shy when it comes to cameras and such,” Cada expressed to

Now, days after making history by becoming the youngest World Series of Poker Main Event champion at 21 years-old, Cada has hit the ground running, demonstrating that he is ready to fulfill the role of representative for the poker community.

Cada has received much more than the standard attention expected from the poker media.

Wednesday, the Michigan native made a live appearance on CBS’s The Early Show from The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, perched behind his newly-won $8.5 million mound of cash. His claim of having an aversion to cameras appeared unwarranted. 

“I was really excited to play.  It’s really a long shot because there are 6,500 people in the tournament,” replied Cada to surprisingly poker-savvy Early Show co-anchor, Harry Smith when asked about his expectations upon entering poker’s biggest tournament 

“But I was really looking forward to playing in it.”

While Cada seemed to enjoy fielding the light-hearted questions of the Early Show cast, an interview with Time Magazine gave a clearer indication of how he would serve as a champion for some of the many issues facing poker.

“I support the right to play poker online. Poker isn't gambling. It's a hobby, an activity, a game,” said Cada to Time’s Matt Villano, asking about the legality of online poker in the U.S.

Cada, having been referred to as “kid” countless times, certainly sounds mature and wise beyond his years.

“It's not about luck — it's about logic, decision-making, math. We all should be able to play poker on the Web if we want to, and I believe that making it illegal strips us of our rights. This is an important issue, and hopefully we will see it resolved soon.”

While understandably so, many remain unclear about what it means to be an ambassador to poker. Cada, however seems to have a firm grasp of the role. His mild-mannered demeanor and intelligence will serve him well in the next year as he lends himself in diffusing poker’s detractors, who insist that the game has no place in U.S. cyberspace and even on many parts of American soil.

Kudos Mr. Cada.  Congratulations on your remarkable achievement, and we look forward to watching you carry the mantle as the reigning champion of poker.  Well deserved.

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