When Joe Cada claimed the victory in the WSOP Main Event of 2009, many voiced their opinion that his win was likely a one-time deal. Not many were convinced that his triumph was a product of solid poker skills and were more inclined to ascribe it to a good run, short term luck, or anything other than his abilities as a poker player.
After last night, those voices will be silenced to a great degree. In one of the toughest fields of the series, Cada outlasted 263 players in the $10K 6-max championship to earn his second gold bracelet and the first place prize of $670,000.
To claim the victory, Cada had to go through the likes of JC Tran, Max Silver, Erick Lindgren (all three made the final table), George Danzer, Igor Kurganov, Ashton Griffin, and many others. The list of notables in the field itself would take up an entire article. Those who didn’t play didn’t do it only because they were in other events and couldn’t make it. It was the one event everybody wanted to win.
Cada started the final day with the third largest stack of the remaining thirteen players. However, by the time the final six players gathered for the official final table, Cada was the chip leader with Silver hot on his heels.
First to leave the stacked final table was Dario Sammaration, who started as one of the shorter stacks, when he ran his pocket Jacks into the pocket Queens of Jeremy Ausmus. That cooler sent him to the cage to claim his prize of $91,670. Then Erick Lindgren fell in a blind vs. blind confrontation against Silver when Lindgren’s #10d#9h couldn’t outrun Silver’s #kh#4d.
The play continued four-handed without casualties for some time, and then two quick eliminations ensued. Leaving in 4th place was Tran ($185,971), as his #ac#qh failed to improve in a flip against Ausmus’ pocket Jacks. Only three hands later, Silver shipped the remainder of his stack to Cada. Silver held #10c#6h from the small blind and Cada made the call with #ad#8s to send Silver packing in 3rd place with $273,646 for his efforts.
With Silver taking his leave, Ausmus and Cada were left to play it out for the bracelet. Back in 2012, Cada was in a similar spot heads-up against Carter Phillips in a $1,500 event but fell short. Last night, he started behind in chips but was determined to go for the win.
Cada grinded his opponent down patiently to even the stacks during a span of more than two hours before the key hand of the heads-up match took place. Chips went into the pot preflop and Cada was flipping for his tournament life with #8s#8c against the #ad#jd of Ausmus. As the board ran #10s#7c#2h, Cada was looking good to win the monster pot. The turn brought obligatory sweat in the form of #qd, bringing many additional outs for Ausmus. But the river landed as #5s, leaving Ausmus with only 550,000 in chips. He managed to get one double up, but was then eliminated after his pocket Jacks lost to Cada’s Ladies.
Jeremy Ausmus pocketed $414,000 for his second place finish, but it was Joe Cada with the biggest smile on his face. He claimed his second bracelet together with $670,000. Cada explained in an interview with WSOP.com that although the victory was sweet, he doesn’t really feel it validates him as a poker player and that people questioning his abilities are largely those who don’t understand how tournament poker works and how much variance is involved.
Even so, this victory meant a lot, especially after his abilities had been questioned by many within the poker community. On to the next tourney now!