Nicknamed “The Kid,” Joseph Cada is a poker player from Shelby Charter Township, Michigan, best known as the champion of the Main Event at the 2009 World Series of Poker. Joe Cada started playing online poker at about the age of 16.

Occurring just a week before his 22nd birthday, the November 2009 win caused Cada to replace Peter Eastgate, who won at age 22, as the youngest World Series of Poker Main Event champion.

Youngest Player Ever to Win WSOP Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament

Cada took home the title after going into head-to-head play with Darvin Moon. His parents Ann and Jerry were there to cheer him on. In an interview with Poker News Daily his mother said, “I’m elated. I’m dumbfounded. It’s just a dream. We wanted him to get his education first but when he started doing well, we wanted him to follow his dream.” Joe Cada, college dropout, is still making his parents proud as the WSOP winner.

The $8.5 million first place award that was carefully piled on the table belonged to Cada after 88 hands and almost 3½ hours of heads-up play in Las Vegas. Next morning, after a short night’s sleep, Cada tried to explain to The Detroit News how it feels to be the new WSOP winner. “It’s all been pretty surreal,” he said. “I suspect it will be pretty crazy and I’ll be pretty busy for the next year.”

Winner by a Pair of Nines

Cada won the final hold ‘em poker tournament at 4:20 am on November 10, using a pair of nines to topple Maryland logger Darvin Moon, who had a Queen and a Jack. The tournament began in July with almost 6500 entrants, and this figure was whittled down to the “November Nine,” who did battle over the previous weekend. Cada was down to about 2 million chips over that fateful weekend; scant few by World Series standards.

Moon earned $5.1 million for his second place finish. The tree lopper avoided the limelight and had never been on a jet until he gained entry to the World Series by winning a contest at a local casino that cost him $130 to enter. Moon and Cada both survived a 17-hour marathon session that ended on Sunday morning, November 9, when they knocked out Frenchman Antoine Saout for third place at $3.5 million.

Cada plays in about 40 online tournaments a day and has earned about $200,000 in winnings. With a little over 13 million, he went to the final table 5th in chips, compared to Moon, who had almost 59 million. Seven-time WSOP champion Phil Ivey was favored to win, but he placed seventh. Also at the table were poker pro Jeff Shulman and well-known British player James Akenhead. The rest of the November Nine were relatively unknown players.