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Poker News | World Poker News

2009 WSOP Champ Cada Visits Capitol Hill to Lobby for Legislation

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When 21-year old Joe Cada won the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event and was showered with attention from friends, family, and media, not to mention more than $8.5 million, it was assumed by the masses that he would disappear from public sight for awhile to relish in his accomplishment and newfound wealth. But a heavy rotation in the media continued for longer than expected, and he capped it off with a visit to Washington, D.C. to accompany the Poker Players Alliance in the lobbying effort to legalize and regulate the online poker industry in the United States. Cada’s embrace of his status as a poker ambassador has been an eye-opener for the poker community.

Immediately after Cada’s victory at the Rio in Las Vegas, he embarked on a blitz of media interviews around the country that included radio stations in his hometown, CNN, CNBC, CBS News, ESPN Sports Center, and the Late Show with David Letterman. From local Michigan newspapers to international publications, Cada’s story of winning the WSOP Main Event was given much attention, and Cada refused none of those opportunities. And through it all, he continued to sport PokerStars gear to show his allegiance to his primary WSOP final table sponsor.

But at the final table, many noted that he wore a Poker Players Alliance (PPA) patch, signifying his support of one of the organizations that has been lobbying Congress for pro-online gaming legislation and representing poker players in local, state, and federal poker-related cases around the United States. The mere fact that the patch received international attention from its place on Cada’s shirt during ESPN-filmed action was important for the PPA, which relies on member support and political contributions for its sustenance.

However, Cada took his endorsement of the PPA a step further by traveling to Washington, D.C. and collaborating with PPA Executive Director John Pappas and Player Relations Manager Bryan Spadaro to visit with numerous members of Congress on December 8. The PPA was excited to have the already-well-known world champion on Capitol Hill, prepared to attend meetings with Senators and Representatives with the message that poker is a game of skill and online poker is a potentially lucrative business if acknowledged by the U.S. government.

Cada met with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan as a resident of that state, as well as John Ensign of Nevada where the WSOP takes place each year. He also met with Representatives Linda Sanchez of California, Allen Boyd and Kendrick Meek of Florida, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Candice Miller and Gary Peters of Michigan, Joe Barton of Texas, and Shelley Berkley, and Dean Heller of Nevada.

The members of Congress welcomed the conversation with Cada, and many of them posed for photos with Cada, some even holding the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet that accompanied Cada to the meetings. And the visit to Capitol Hill was even written up in the Washington Scene section of “The Hill” publication, noting that Cada’s message to Congress backed up his statement in a recent Time Magazine interview: “I support the right to play poker online. Poker isn’t gambling. It’s a hobby, an activity, a game. It’s not about luck - it’s about logic, decision-making, math.”

Cada personally documented some of his meetings via his Twitter messages throughout the day. “Man, there is so much politicking in politics…,” he noted in one tweet. And in another: “In DC working with the PPA. Stuffy politics = more PokerStars for everyone.”

The 21-year old poker champion is showing himself to be more than an ambassador of the game but also a friend to and willing spokesperson of the poker industry.

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