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Moon chopped down by Cada, finishes second

darvincadaThe champ is here. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters)

LAS VEGAS -- Darvin Moon's storybook run at the World Series of Poker Main Event did not have a happy ending for the lumberjack from Oakland, Md.

The self-effacing, self-taught amateur who repeatedly said he didn't really know how to play the game finished second at poker's marquee event, losing a see-saw heads-up battle to Joe Cada, a wunderkind from Shelby Township, Mich., who, at 21, became the youngest champion in the 40-year history of the World Series.

Moon, who'd won his $10,000 World Series seat at a $130 buy-in tournament at West Virginia's Wheeling Island Casino, received $5,182,928.

But the consolation prize was a disappointment given that Moon held a three-to-one chip advantage over Cada as the Monday-night match stretched into Tuesday morning.

Moon got picked off running a semi-bluff on the night's 79th 80th hand, which gave the chip lead back to Cada. Not long thereafter, Moon gambled by calling off all of his chips with a drawing hand -- the queen and jack of diamonds -- against Cada's nines. Moon did not improve his hand and lost the tournament that had turned him into something of a folk hero.

Cada's prize: $8,547,042 and a place in poker history.

"It don't bother me one bit," Moon said. "It's only money. But don't get me wrong -- the money's nice. ...

"Am I sad about it? Am I depressed? Hell no."

ESPN will air an edited version of the Main Event finale tonight at 9. The broadcast will mostly center on the grueling nine-way session that began Saturday afternoon and stretched into a sleepy Sunday morning before there were just two players remaining. But the ESPN program will also include at least several hands from Monday's heads-up showdown, for which Moon earned raves from poker pros and analysts.

"I'm proud of you, Darvin," poker star Phil Hellmuth told Moon immediately after the match.

ESPN's Bernard Lee told Moon that he played Cada "like a pro."

"I had a really good feel for the game this evening; I still feel good," Moon said.

Moon will return to Oakland later this week and get right back to reality: He said he plans to work on Friday then blow off a little steam by playing in the bi-weekly tournament at Elks Lodge #2841. Entry is $30 and first place will pay something like $600. Not storybook, but it's something.

By J. Freedom du Lac  |  November 10, 2009; 2:31 AM ET
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A "Spoiler Alert" would have been nice.
It will be real exciting to watch now.

Posted by: buckdharma | November 10, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, a spoiler alert would have been nice. I'm pretty angry that this was on the front page where I caught it while reading through headlines. I would have prefered to watch it without fore-knowledge of the result.

Posted by: egradcli | November 10, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Seriously---Front page with a headline saying who loses with two remaining players involved??? Nice reporting genius. At least now i wont have to actually enjoy the match when it's on tv tonight.

Posted by: ekdjs1 | November 10, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Don't read news websites if you don't want to know news. It's not the responsibility of WaPo to protect ESPN's TV programs.

Posted by: steinmike | November 10, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I can't believe they just stuck this on the front page of the website. Really annoying.

Posted by: Turtle77 | November 10, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, look, it's Yahoo's main story, too, complete with picture of the champ hugging his money! Can't believe they reported news.

Posted by: steinmike | November 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Still not sure why poker is on TV, but it's news, so the Post reports it. It's your job to avoid the news, not the Post's to wait for tape delayed TV.

Posted by: billbasey2 | November 10, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

5 Million, I don't feel too bad for Moon, runner up is good and pays well. A 21 year old wonder kid beat him, that is a good story also. Congrats anyway moon.

Posted by: DrWho2 | November 10, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed to see the result here, too, before it's been on TV. But I guess with Twitter, Facebook, etc. - all the "real-time" news already out there, perhaps ESPN just needs to show the event live.

Posted by: Taratara | November 10, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Moon turns his $130 into $5M+ and it is not considered a "happy ending"? I wish I had this guy's kind of bad luck.

Posted by: mlantry | November 10, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Stop whining! How is this any different from WaPo reporting on the results at the Beijing Olympics before NBC televised the events 12-18 hours later?

While it would have been cool to see Moon win it will be a lot easier now for him to head back into the woods with $5M and have a more or less normal life and I hope that he is able to stay as unaffected as he seems.

Posted by: skipper7 | November 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@Taratara: You want to see heads-up poker live? I like poker, I play poker, but my tolerance is only a couple of hours even when I am playing a good game in Vegas.

Posted by: skipper7 | November 10, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, the whining is ridiculous. also has the story on its front page.

Posted by: johnnyrtw | November 10, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

So the Post reported who won. They also report when the Skins lose on Sunday. What's the difference?

Posted by: JeffRandom | November 10, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Way to blow the ending for us, WPO!

And I'm not "whining," johnnyrtw. Yahoo, ESPN, WPO, etc., could have put the results in the article. Make the headline a tease, "WSOP Winner Determined—Click for Details". I realize that's "burying the lead. But pissing off readers (and they must have known it would) when readers are dumping their subscriptions left and right is a stupid business decision. A little common sense would be appreciated WPO.

Posted by: paul6554 | November 10, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

!!! Way to go, Moon man !!! That's better than winning the Lottery. At least there's some skill involved.

Dan Snyder should get him to call some plays this weekend.

Posted by: Fredneck2 | November 10, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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