Sunday, April 18, 2010

Joe Cada: 2009 WSOP Champion - Lucky or Skilled?

Joe Cada described it as destiny. He saw what was going on just as well as anyone else did. He didn't have odds. In fact, at the WSOP final table, as part of the November 9, he almost never had odds. Still, he would win again and again. The flop would come down in his favor repeatedly. But did he play well? Was luck supplementing his skill? Or did he just manage to become the richest poker donkey in the world?

The first time this happens is when Cada goes all in with pocket threes, and this is the one that people remember the most. Jeff Shulman had jacks, and that means that Shulman had four to one odds against Cada. The flop came down with a three, meaning that Cada doubled up by making a set. He had only a 20 percent chance of winning this hand, and he did it. He wasn't playing poorly. He had a pocket pair with the low stack at the table, and he knew that Shulman had folded a re-raise. It was a risky play but not a bad one. He may have won by luck, but there was skill involved too.

On the second hand, the final three at the table included Cada, and Cada was the low stack again. Joe Cada, sitting as one of the last three WSOP main event players, found pocket deuces in his hand. He raised. Antoine Saout, who's holding ladies, has four to one odds and made a re-raise. Cada went all in. He won again. In this case, his pocket ducks were actually a stronger hand, but based on how his opponents were playing, the professional opinion dictated that he should have folded.

It's difficult to say for sure, but it looks like skill and luck were both involved. Or maybe it was just destiny manifesting itself at the WSOP.

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