Ever since the poker boom began, the Main Event has consistently drawn larger fields than any other event in live poker. This gives it a reputation as a complete minefield, and indeed the odds are against it being won by an established professional in any given year. Inevitably, then, whoever wins ends up subjected to the ire of opinionated poker fans the world around. It hasn’t helped matters that none of the last 12 Main Event winners has managed to follow up on their success with a second bracelet in subsequent years – the last one to do so was Carlos Mortensen, who won back in 2001 when the field was much smaller, only 613 players.
Cada has changed that with his win, simultaneously proving that he is a serious pro and that the Main Event isn’t simply the giant lottery some people make it out to be. Although Chris Moneymaker is the go-to guy for Main Event hate, Cada has been a close second; by 2009, television viewership of the Main Event was very high, and Cada had several high-profile strokes of luck on his way to winning it, leading some to declare him the worst player ever to do so.
What’s more, Cada could scarcely have picked a better event to win, or a better group of opponents to beat, in order to establish his credentials once and for all. His adversaries held a combined $27.5 million in cashes, and included names like JC Tran and Erick Lindgren, each with two bracelets of their own.
Poker is the game it is, however, and appropriately enough, the deciding moment for Cada turned out to be a classic coinflip. Cada and his final opponent, Jeremy Ausmus, had nearly identical stacks when they found themselves colliding, Cada needing his eights to hold up against Ausmus’s Ace-Jack suited. They did, and Ausmus was left crippled. A few hands later he was out, taking home $414,104, while Cada received $670,041 and this historic bracelet.
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