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 College dropout wins $8.5 million poker jackpot

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Join date : 2009-10-04
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PostSubject: College dropout wins $8.5 million poker jackpot   Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:16 am

College dropout wins $8.5 million poker jackpot

LAS VEGAS (AFP) – A 21-year-old college dropout won the World Series of Poker early Tuesday, completing the biggest comeback in the tournament's history to earn a 8.5 million dollar jackpot.
Joe Cada, the youngest champion in the 40-year history of the game's richest and most prestigious event, won with a pair of nines after about 90 hands head-to-head against second-place finisher Darvin Moon.
Moon had a queen and jack, and none of the other cards drawn in the Texas Hold ?Em hand improved it.
"I'd like to thank all my fans and my friends," an emotional Cada told a raucous theater full of supporters in bright-yellow T-shirts bearing his name. Later he told reporters: "It's really surreal right now."
Cada squandered a huge lead at the start of play late Monday against 46-year-old Moon before barreling back in a finale of constant betting in which he moved strongly ahead for a time.
It was played before an audience of more than 1,500 people at the Rio Hotel-Casino at a table stacked with bricks of cash. A diamond-encrusted championship bracelet gleamed on the side of the table.
Cada's triumph was particularly stunning because he was down to just two million chips out of 194.8 million on Saturday but came back to finish as the chip leader.
"He's another bright young voice, he's very good and he'll be a new light on the scene for some time," said Dennis Phillips, a poker professional who finished third in the 2008 World Series. "He'll be a great ambassador for the game."
Moon earned 5.1 million dollars for his second-place finish. The lumberjack eschewed the spotlight and had never been on a jet until he won entry to the World Series by winning a tournament at a local casino that cost him 130 dollars to enter.
The top two outlasted a field of 6,494 who played down to nine finalists in July and then survived a 17-hour marathon session that ended Sunday morning when they knocked out Frenchman Antoine Saout for third place at 3.5 million dollars.
Cada is from recession-hit Detroit, Michigan, the son of an out-of-work auto parts design engineer.
His mother, Ann, is a blackjack dealer at a Detroit casino who tried to dissuade her son from gambling when he left college to focus on his online play.
"When he started doing so well, I said go live your dream," she said. "He can always go back to school if he wants but how many people do what they love?"

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