Darvin Moon, the notable 2009 WSOP Main Event runner-up, sadly passed away Saturday due to complications from surgery. Details of the cause of death are not yet publicly disclosed. The American self-employed logger and amateur poker player from Maryland was 56.
Moon was better known by many in the poker community as the amateur poker player who, even though it was his first time to play in the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP), became the runner-up of that year's $10,000 NLHE Main Event. It was Joe Cada who defeated him on said event.
Despite the heads up loss, Moon still won a whopping $5.1 million for second place, but he kept himself grounded, which is why he was much-loved in the poker community. The almost-world champ remained a recreational player and never thought about going pro even though he had won millions in 2009. After he returned home from Las Vegas, he proceeded to continue his life's work as a self-employed logger.
He never cashed again in a WSOP bracelet event, and in the past 11 years his total live tournament score was $30,000. He loved to play poker in his spare time, and even if he never played professionally, many consider him as one of the most memorable runner-ups in WSOP Main Event history. It was because nobody really knew him when he managed to reach the final table of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, went on a dream heater, and he was also the type of person that an average person could relate to.
In other words, his experience that year almost made him the next Chris Moneymaker, another recreational player who had a regular day job but that didn't stop him from winning a big WSOP payout in a matter of days.
In Memory of Darvin Moon
The creator of Poker Night in America Todd Anderson knew Darvin Moon very well. When Anderson heard the tragic news on Saturday, he wrote in a post in his Twitter account, The best person I ever met through poker is Darvin Moon. A man of integrity and honor. And quite possibly the most interesting person I've ever known. Truly. He and his wife Wendy became good friends. Sadly, Darvin succumbed to complications from surgery today. He'll be missed."
Chris Moneymaker said Moon was a "great guy and great representative of poker."
A Twitter user, @AcesUp95, wrote that Moon "helped us regular 1/2 and 2/5 players keep our dreams alive. Also loved how he refused to wear a patch during the final table. Seemed like a really cool dude."
Greg Jennings (@ZGregJennings) described Moon as the "ultimate recreational poker player."
Moon, who died 12 days before his 57th birthday, spent most of his life in western Maryland. Before making his mark in the WSOP Main Event, he lived in a simple trailer and co-owned a small logging company. He learned poker at a young age but never played it seriously until 2006. Televised poker became his learning tool, much like many others during that era.
A few days after he won life-changing sum of cash in 2009, he went back to his original life. He could have opted to hire someone to take his place in the logging company while he relaxed and sipped cocktails on the beach and pursued poker professionally, but that wasn't really his style. He was known as a hard worker, a simple family man who enjoyed his profession.
Moon told the Las Vegas Sun in 2009 when he won $5.1 million, "I've got to be back to work Friday. I've got a piece of timber I've got to buy."
He is survived by his beloved wife, Wendy.