Congratulations go out to the youngest champion of all-time, Joe Cada. At 21 years old, he played aggressively at the final table, at times perhaps recklessly. He put his chips in the middle and ended up with the lesser hand several times, and yet once the river came he was the victor every single time. He dealt bad beats to several players, especially Frenchman Antoine Saout when they were three-handed, and just saw everything go his way. He won coinflips, he came back from the brink of defeat when there were nine players remaining, when there were six players remaining, and then when logger Darvin Moon (yes, a logger) almost overwhelmed him heads up.
Cada’s win proves several things. It proves his own self-worth. It proves that sometimes luck conquers all…and it proves that nice guys can get rewarded. Rewarded with 8.55 million dollars, that is. While Phil Ivey may get a ton of the coverage tonight, Cada will get the cash.
Ivey, for his efforts, played very well under the circumstances. If an allin with Cada which turned out to be a coinflip went his way instead of Cada’s, he’s have had almost 25 million in chips nine-handed and Cada would’ve been gone. This is tournament poker, where luck tends to decide what happens after skill exits the door. Instead, Ivey lost that flip and became short-stacked, forced to slowly grind his way back up gathering one blind after another orbit after orbit. He accomplished that and then lost AK allin against Moon’s AQ. Such is poker, where the best player often doesn’t win. No worries for Ivey though, as he almost instantly jumped into the high-stakes on Full Tilt Poker. Poker fans may not get their Ivey victory, but they’ll enjoy it while he lasts. The man can console himself with the two other bracelets he won this year and the millions and millions of dollars already in his bank accounts.
Watch tonight on ESPN.