“With the cards I’m getting it’s easy. The first hand I sat down I had pocket kings and rivered trips. Three hands later I had pocket aces and flopped trips. How hard is it?”
Yes, poker’s an E-Z game if you are Darvin Moon right now.
The game’s newest celebrity has risen to prominence, literally, out of nowhere. Well, from the woods to be precise, as the 2009 November Nine chip leader is a self-employed logger from Maryland who had never even set foot in Vegas, let alone played in the World Series, before the Main Event. Now he will return in November with a mighty stack of 58,930,000 – over 24 million more than anyone else – and a guaranteed pay-day of a life-changing $1,263,102. Though given the way he is running, Moon will surely have his eyes on a much bigger prize than that.
The 45 year-old earned his seat by qualifying in a West Virginia casino and having only played poker recreationally for 3 years, he was just another face when he sat down with 6,494 other hopefuls on Day 1. He has no previous live or online cashes yet proceeded to rip through the field at an incredible rate, picking up hands in a manner that mere mortals can only dream of. Nothing sums up his tournament better than the truly sick hand he played with Jordan Smith to set up the final nine. Poker Listings describes the action:
“It was always likely that it would take a couple of big hands clashing heads for the bubbler to be decided and we just witnessed those big hands clash.
Eric Buchman opened the action to 650k, only for Darvin Moon to make the call from the button.
Cue Jordan Smith popping it up to 2.6 million in what looked like a possible squeeze.
Buchman mucked his hand, but Moon made the call and the pair went heads-up to an 8 4 2 board.
Smith checked, Moon led out for 4 million and Smith now check-raised all-in.
Snap-call from Moon!
Smith tabled pocket aces, but must have felt sick inside as Moon showed up with snowmen in the hole for top set!
Clutching at straws, Smith prayed for an ace-ball to rescue him from his predicament, but when the turn and river blanked in the form of the 5 and T, his prayers had gone unheeded and he was out in 10th spot!”
This catapulted Moon into a dominating chip position and the bookmakers have responded by making the 45 year-old favourite to capture the 2009 Main Event.
Don’t expect him to be bragging about his accomplishments, though. In a telling interview after the final table was decided, he gracefully commented that: “I told them as soon as I go card dead you guys will eat me alive. I’m humble. I know where I stand among the class of people I’m against. I’m outclassed by so far.” In fact, he said all he wants to do with the money is improve the quality of life for his parents and take a 2-month break to Alaska. He even said he would be back in the woods the very next week.
Should he go on and win the ME, however, then surely a life-time PokerStars deal and over $8million in prize money would persuade him to take a well-deserved early retirement.