World Series of Poker: Player preview

Let’s preview one of the lesser-known players to make it to the final table of the 2009 World Series of Poker. Joe Cada, a relative baby at 21 when put up against some of his final-table company, has a quiet calm about him. A down-to-earth, hidden confidence not obscured by arrogance or flashiness.

When you see him speak in interviews, you’d think he was a timid, lost person bumbling through his game getting lucky at every turn. But then watch him play and see if you feel the same way. Try to find some highlight footage on the Internet to catch a glimpse of this guy. He’s so calculating, and so quick about it, you wonder how much of him is actually machine.

Anyway, a little background on one of the guys also known as “that group of players who’ll start with more chips than Phil Ivey in November.” Cada is a college dropout who’s been playing professionally for just four years (you can do the legal math there yourself). His experience is mostly made up of cash games, which he says he plays most of the time, with tournaments occupying only his Sundays. Will that breakdown hurt him? It certainly hasn’t thus far, and it can be argued in the later days of the tournament, the competition was just as stiff as it’s going to be at the finale.

Cada, who represents EverestPoker will enter the final table fifth in chips with just more than $13M worth. He dropped low a few times throughout the tournament, so it’s a bit of an eye-opener that we’re even talking about him. But that’s also a testament to how even-keeled he remains as a player. Calculating the odds and watching the betting patterns without fail.

Cada isn’t big on staring people down or working them down mentally. As he says it, his poker calculator game is more about betting patterns. That’s a perfect way to shoot to the top of an online game, and there’s no doubt he’s leapfrogged some respected names on his way to the final table, but what about when he’s staring eye to eye with Phil, who WILL be reading him. How much of a disadvantage will Cada be at if he doesn’t have that weapon in his arsenal…or at the very least, it’s not as loaded as the other players’ ones are?

One thing Cada has going for him is that he’ll be staying fresh with practice in the interim. He’s going to play other tournaments before November, including the PKR World Series of Europe. So keep an eye on this guy. He may not take the prize or even finish in the top 5 this year, but at his young age, he’s certainly a face you can expect to see popping up for quite some time.

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