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Joe Cada

The November Nine: Joe Cada
By Loki Luchs of

Of the players at the final table, one of the most interesting to speculate about is Joe Cada. This internet phenomena has the potential to be the youngest winner of the Main Event in History. At just 21 years old, he could break Peter Eastgate's title as the youngest Main Event Champion at the age of 22 (formerly held by Phil Helmuth at the age of 24).

He enters the table dead center of the field at fifth place, but he is a foot and a leg behind the competition with just over 13 million in chips.

Even though he's only been legally allowed in card rooms for a few months, Joe has been playing online for several years. Even though Cada wasn't well known before his main event run, he has collected a number of sizable online wins playing under the name "jcada99".

He won Full Tilt's $750,000 guarantee in January 2008 for $147,488, and also hit a pay day on Sunday Mulligan for $49,590 in October 2008. The main event will be his eighth tournament cash over 10K. Cada had already declared that college was on hold while he pursued his poker career, which will likely be a permanent hold after November.

According to his player profile on Full Tilt, he is primarily a heads-up cash game player, opting for $500 freeze-outs. This typically involves a super-aggressive strategy.

While cash game strategies usually aren't the same as a tournament strategy, his experience playing heads-up will be a huge advantage if he makes it to the final two players. This will be doubly true if he remains with an inexperienced player like Darvin Moon, Kevin Schaffel, or Stephen Begleiter.

Cada strikes me as a typical online player; he's overly aggressive, perhaps to the point of being reckless. This could easily be an advantage, but I think his fearlessness will be his undoing. Much of the poker community consider his experience to be on the good end of a rush. Still, this could be a general lack of understanding about a talented youth's abilities. Although he doesn't necessarily have the experience as some of the other players, he's not the least experienced either. He'll be more aggressive than the other short stacks, especially if he gets a good seat with the smaller stacks behind him.

Cada, like many young guns, is going to smell victory or defeat. The money is life-changing regardless, but he'll want the crown more than many of the others will. To be a champion at that age would be more important than the money, because he will be riding that reputation as the "youngest champion in history" for his entire life. That kind of desire might be an advantage, but it could also be his downfall.

I think that what will most likely happen is that he will either scrape his way up to 25 million early or go broke trying. I would avoid putting money on him unless the odds were highly favorable.

Yes, you can actually bet on who will win the 2009 WSOP. Check it out under "other sports" at Bovada Poker.

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Tips and Advice

Introduction to Tournament Poker - Loki covers everything from the buy in to prize payouts!

Cash Games vs. Tournaments - Hank Cashman talks about the difference between the two and notes that just because you're good at one doesn't mean that you'll win at the other.