Shelby Township's Joseph Cada, shown here in 2009, says he's 'above par' after the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event. (Laura Rauch / Associated Press)
Joe Cada never has been knocked out of the World Series of Poker Main Event on the first day.
But that streak was in serious jeopardy Monday.
“I was pretty unlucky for the most part,” Cada, the Shelby Township poker star, said Tuesday on the phone from Las Vegas. “That’s how tournaments are.”
Cada, like the other 6,000-plus participants, started play with 30,000 chips but quickly found himself with almost half that.
He was the victim of a streak of bad beats.
That’s when his luck turned.
Well into the day’s action, Cada, 26, was dealt pocket queens and led out for a sizeable bet, getting a couple callers in the poker world’s biggest No-Limit Texas Hold ’Em tournament.
And from there, Cada played like a true pro — calling bets after a flop of jack-ten-seven and a turn card of seven. The river, or final community card, came a king.
Cada’s lone opponent, an aggressive player, checked there — the only time he didn’t bet. Cada, finding this suspicious, put out a small value bet of 2,000 into a pot near 9,000. His opponent stunned him when he raised to 7,000.
After some serious thinking — it was a big decision, because a loss would’ve basically put Cada’s hopes of another championship on life support — and remembering how his aggressive foe had played previous hands, Cada called. He sniffed out the bluff, and took down the pot.
That win got Cada up around his original stack, and he finished play Monday well beyond that, with 66,000 chips. That’s almost one-and-a-half times the average chip stacks of the players remaining.
“I’m above par,” said Cada, who in years past ended Day 1 with around 40,000 chips or so — including in 2009, when he went on to win the Main Event and the $8.5 million top prize.
Cada was off Tuesday, and he enjoyed a day away from cards. He spent time by the pool, got some grub and planned to watch the Tigers-Dodgers game.
He will return to action at the Rio in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Clarkston’s Ryan Riess, the Michigan State alum who won last year’s Main Event and a cool $8.3 million, was back in action Tuesday afternoon.
The winner of this year’s tournament is guaranteed $10 million.