In 2008, PokerStars Team Pro (USA) Joe Cada become the youngest player to ever win the World Series of Poker Main Event. He defeated Darvin Moon heads up, earning him $8,546,435, the most illustrious WSOP bracelet of them all, and, more importantly, eternal glory in the poker world.
Being the World Champion matters. All but two Main Event winners have their banner hanging inside the Amazon Poker Room (Jonathan Duhamel's is hanging outside of the rotunda, and Russ Hamilton's has been removed because of the unforgivable deeds he did to the poker community). We look up to these players and we expect them to represent the game well, but recently the poker world hasn't received the ambassador it deserves. Duhamel is doing a fine job as champ, but Jamie Gold (2006), Jerry Yang (2007), and Peter Eastgate (2008) are all somewhat recreational players. Eastgate even sold his Main Event bracelet.
Cada did not move on from the game, but since winning the Main Event he's struggled mightily at the Series. Last year he completely bricked, failing to cash in a single event, and this year he went 42 events without a cash, finally booking one in Event #43: $1,500, where he finished 144th for $3,779.
With today's cash he's guaranteed $19,159, and while it's no $8.5 million, it's a step in the right direction. Whether it was nerves or variance, 2010 was not a good year for the champ, but with a deep run here, Cada could make a triumphant return to the forefront of the poker world.
Even despite the lack of performance he's been able to show on the WSOP-branded felt, Cada has done his best to be a great ambassador for the game. He's traveled the world and represented the game of poker to the fullest, but sometimes tournament poker can be a cruel, cruel animal. Be sure to stay right here to PokerNews in order to follow along with Cada as he hopes to find himself back in the winner's circle of the WSOP.
Our own Lynn Gilmartin got a chance to talk with Cada during the last break. You can check out the video below.