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September 18, 2019

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november nine:

$5.1 million later, life goes on for Darvin Moon

2009 World Series of Poker

Justin M. Bowen

Darvin Moon thinks about his next move during the final round of the 2009 World Series of Poker early Tuesday at the Rio. Moon lost to 21-year-old Joe Cada for the $8.5 million prize.

World Series of Poker

Joe Cada, a 21-year-old poker professional from Michigan, holds bundles of cash after winning $8.5 million in prize money at the World Series of Poker tournament at the Rio Tuesday Nov. 10, 2009. Darvin Moon, a 45-year-old logger from Maryland, came in second. Launch slideshow »

Darvin Moon’s immediate plans after finishing second in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event involved kicking back in his hotel room at the Rio.

It won’t be long, however, until the self-employed logger and new millionaire is back in the woods of western Maryland.

“I’ve got to be back to work Friday,” Moon said. “I’ve got a piece of timber I’ve got to buy.”

As Moon has said all along, he will not change his lifestyle now that he has won $5.1 million. In fact, he’s not even going to make any purchases.

He said the money would immediately go into the bank. And that’s where it will stay.

“My wife just lost her lawnmower, so that’s what she’s hoping for,” Moon said. “We had a deal, first place, she gets a lawnmower. Otherwise, it doesn’t fit in the budget.”

Moon was not joking. As much as he enjoyed his run through the Main Event and learning about life outside of Oakland, Md., he said all of the attention has made him “uncomfortable as hell.”

The attention was certainly surrounding him into the early Tuesday morning hours at the Rio as he fell heads-up to Joe Cada for the championship. But Moon didn’t go down without a fight.

He held the chip lead for a large portion of the night. Cada said he was surprised by how well Moon, an inexperienced player who had only played heads-up once before, performed.

“Darvin played really well,” Cada said. “He mixed it up really well and put me in some tough spots.”

The toughest spot Moon put Cada in was when he pushed all in with a big chip lead. After Cada called, Moon showed only seven, eight — he needed the last card on the board to be a jack or six to make a straight. Cada had a pair of nines.

Cada’s lead held up after the river card.

“You can’t play 100 hands perfect,” Moon said, “so there it is.”

Shortly after, Cada put Moon all in. Moon’s suited queen-jack fell to Cada’s pocket nine to give Cada the bracelet.

“I knew where I was at,” Moon said. “That was my shot to take a tremendous chip lead and I didn’t get it.”

Still, it’s been an incredible journey for Moon. He won his spot into the Main Event by winning a satellite at a casino in Wheeling, W.Va.

The World Series of Poker was the first time Moon had traveled to Las Vegas. It was also his first time on an airplane.

Heading into the final table, he was the leader with more than 30 percent of the chips in play. On the final table, he knocked out the greatest player in the world, Phil Ivey.

But Moon is ready for things to get back to normal Friday. That means a day spent logging and a night playing poker in a local tournament — one with a $30 buy-in instead of a $10,000 buy-in like the Main Event.

Right now, the local tournament sounds better than a lawnmower.

“I can afford that,” Moon said.

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