The word “impossible” gets thrown around in poker all the time, but unless you don’t have any outs, you’re in there with a chance. Right now, 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada is very much in there with a chance, while the idea of someone winning the biggest tournament in the game twice in ten years still sounds impossible.

At the dinner break on Day 6, just 43 players stand between Cada and an unprecedented second Main Event win, but the Michigan native still doesn’t think it’s actually possible and he elects to focus on sticking to his game plan.

“You don’t really think about ever coming back to that Main Event final table, I just play to play but you don’t think it can really happen.”

Looking back on 2009, Cada says it feels like a distant memory, but he does remember how different the actual run in the event compared to how hard he has to fight for it this year.

“The year I won it was a much different experience. It was smooth sailing all the way, always having more than double the averages stack. I was never at risk or involved in crazy hands or big sweats, which was weird. It all seemed so easy the first time.”

How Did The Main Event Champs Fare When They Didn’t Win?
  Name Total Main Event Cashes Non-Win Main Event Earnings Highest Finish
2003 Chris Moneymaker 1 $0
2004 Greg Raymer 3 $353,788 25th
2005 Joe Hachem 4 $112,499 103rd
2006 Jamie Gold 1 $0
2007 Jerry Yang 1 $0
2008 Peter Eastgate 2 $68,969 78th
2009 Joe Cada 2 $16,024 948th
2010 Jonathan Duhamel 3 $50,587 409th
2011 Pius Heinz 1 $0
2012 Greg Merson 3 $64,355 167th
2013 Ryan Riess 3 $58,494 271st
2014 Martin Jacobson 1 $0
2015 Joe McKeehen 2 $24,480 489th
2016 Qui Nguyen 1 $0
2017 Scott Blumstein 1 $0

Over the years Cada has learned to appreciate how crazy his run in 2009 was, getting the right cards at the right moments and running extremely well at the final table. In many ways, this year is different, as only in the last few levels he’s managed to chip up.

“This year I had a very different approach. I’ve been clawing and sitting around 30 big blinds for most of the tournament, and on the second day I was even down to around 10,000 chips.”

Shooting up the counts on Day 6, Cada smirked and said, “Still, nobody ever believes me.”

With the final table just around the corner, if Cada manages to hold on, the man who once won $8.5 million in one day realizes that going through this a second time is a lot different. Evident of how different it is for Cada, he’s told his family that there’s no need for them to fly out.

“My family can watch from home, that’s no big deal. I’ve been there before and hopefully, I can do it again, but this time it won’t be life-changing.”

Enjoy live coverage of the WSOP Main Event on PokerGO and ESPN as the event slowly moves towards its final table.

Joe Cada, 2018 WSOP Main Event, 2009 WSOP Main Event