Joe Cada, 21 has defeated Darvin Moon to become the youngest World Series of Poker Main Event champion in the tournament’s 40-year history. He takes home $8,547,042 and the World Series of Poker Main Event world championship bracelet.
Joe Cada came into the final table with a decisive advantage over his opponent, however about an hour into the heads-up match, Moon’s aggressive play remedied his chip deficiency, even putting him in a commanding lead at one point with 149 million in chips to Cada’s 49 million.
“Well you got to take the man’s game away from him,” said Moon of his aggressive strategy. “Use the man’s game and see where he goes.”
However all was not lost for the young poker pro from Shelby Township, MI. A bit of light shone for Cada after a river gave him a straight and a hefty 20 million in chips.
The hand of the match developed a little more than two and a half hours after play began. With the board showing , Joe Cada fired out 3 million in chips.
Moon responded with an all-in re-raise. After some consideration, Cada made the call, tabling while Moon turned over . For the championship bracelet, Moon needed a 6 or Jack on the river, but was denied both when a 3 was turned over.
“That’s the hand I messed up,” reflected Moon. “I should have raised on the flop where he had middle pair.”
Cada, back in the driver’s seat, never looked back. The final hand saw the two remaining players all-in pre-flop with Cada’s pocket nines versus Moon’s Q-J suited. The flop came 8c-2c-7s improving neither players' hand, while a king on the turn and another 7 on the river ended Moon’s spectacular run and catapulted Joe Cada into poker superstardom.
While a lot has been said about Moon’s humility and indifference to the fame and fortune that comes with poker celebrity, he was adamant about his intentions on winning it all.
“Oh hell yeah, $3 million dollars, what do you mean what’s the difference?” replied Moon when asked if there was a big difference to him between first and second. “Am I sad about it? Am I depressed? Hell no.” For his second place finish, Moon earned $5,182,928.
A tearful Cada gave a nod to his opponent and addressed the crowd after WSOP commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack presented him with poker’s most coveted prize.
“I want to thank my friends and family for taking time away from work and school to be here,” he said as his cheering section erupted in mayhem.
Just over a week before his 22nd birthday, the young poker pro acknowledged the fantastic achievement he had just accomplished.
“I’ve dreamed of winning this tournament, and to do it the first year out of the gate is unbelievable,” said Cada. “This is just amazing.”