These are strange times for Joseph Cada. In most observers’ eyes at EPT Barcelona, he is just another player, just another guy, vying for a shot at the final table and a payout of something like €1m. He doesn’t have any prior form on the EPT. He’s 21 and is visiting Europe for the first time. The people on his table probably don’t recognise him. He’s currently sitting chewing the fat with Casey Kastle, just playing his game.
But in his mind, and in the mind of the keener poker watchers, the man from Shelby Township, Michigan, is far from a regular Joe. This summer in Las Vegas, he was one of 6,494 players who turned up for the World Series Main Event and when 6,485 had been sent packing, Cada was still sitting behind a huge stack of chips.
He is through to the World Series Main Event final table, in other words; Cada is one of the fabled November Nine going back to the Rio in a couple of months to play for something like $9m.
“I didn’t really realise how big it was back then,” Cada said. “But now it’s starting to hit me a lot more.”
This strange limbo period, between the main chunk of the World Series and the final table, allows for this kind of rumination. He’s been taking it easy, including this trip to Barcelona, playing a lot online and also making an appearance at the Legends of Poker event in Los Angeles last month. But the television shows of the World Series haven’t yet featured Cada, so he’s still relatively unknown. “I’ve done a couple of radio interviews, some newspaper stuff,” he said. “A couple of people have recognised me, but that’s it.”
Ask someone like Peter Eastgate or Ylon Schwartz, however, and they’ll tell you that this isn’t going to last long. Once ESPN begin broadcasting his face to the millions, he won’t be able to walk into any casino without people wanting an autograph or a chat or to tell him their bad beat stories. For the time being, he is able to pass his break chatting with friends also in the tournament, and maybe chatting to the occasional blogger who wants a quote.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Joe.