WSOP 2012: A new reality for Cada

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Along the hallways of the Rio, Soul II Soul were singing their late eighties anthem "Back to life, back to reality..." It was fitting as players after player left their seat, busted, and began the long walk back to life, back to reality; the day job, the mortgage, the car payments, and away from Las Vegas's protective bubble that suspends all things real.

For them the World Series is over for another year, but they can take comfort from the fact that the odds were always against them. Even the good players leave frustrated and beaten and only one of them will know what it's like to win the greatest title in poker.

One such player is Team PokerStars Pro Joe Cada, who is no two years removed from his famous win. What followed was a year spent as poker's version of Miss World; the game's poster boy promoting a love of poker, fluffy animals and world peace. Now, Cada is back in reality, one of the several hundred still competing on Day 2C, taking it one level at a time.

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Joe Cada

"Day two has had a rough start," said Cada at the first break. "But I'm not far away from my starting stack. It's a tougher table draw compared to most."

While those around him look on in awe, Cada faces the same challenges of those around him; variance, unpredictable opponents as well as a more basic obstacle.

"No, I just want to play well and try to make deep runs. The deep run I made this year it feels good to run deep and gives you that confidence boosts. Confidence is huge, so you're not down on yourself and your players. Every tournament so far I've gathered pretty good stacks besides one or two so I fel good going into the main.

It seems even World Champions feel a little shaky sometimes.

"The year I won I remember the tournament right before I thought was my only shot to win a bracelet," said Cada. "I was third in chips with 17 left. I ended up taking 17th.

"Going into the main I didn't really have much expectation, it was just another huge tournament that wasn't going to go that great because of the variance. I started off with the chip lead through A, B and C and after that it was pretty smooth sailing for eight days. Then towards the end it started getting rough."

The post script to that build up is well documented, Cada, at 21, went on to become the youngest ever Main Event champion, an ambassador to the game, and an icon of modern poker. Now though, it's about starting all over again.

"I'm off to a good start and I have a lot of chips," said Cada, "200 big blinds, which is a ton. So hopefully it will go smoothly again."

****

CURIOUS EXERCISE OF THE HOUR

Guy doing about 50 push-ups in the hallway of the Rio during the break.

UNSOLICITED COACHING OF THE HOUR

"Keep your back flat! Keep that spine aligned!" -- Guy standing over the guy doing push-ups

OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"So I tried to pull my foot out but everything was gone..."

QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"There are only two types of drunks - happy drunks and mean drunks. There's no in between."