The Finisher


The story of Dash Dudley, Michigan State Wrestling Champion, who turned into a poker pro.

It was the turn of the millennium and young Dash Dudley was wrestling with a big decision – continue his wrestling career at Michigan State or become a professional poker player. He had been playing poker ever since he was in his early teens, taught by his mother, Kimberly and the family would gather around the table and play dealer’s choice. Still, Dudley had been wrestling since he was 5 and was all-state as a senior in high school.

Back in the days most people didn’t get it, the choice was fairly clear for Dudley. “A lot of people thought it was suspect to pursue a living which they called ‘gambling’,” he said,  “Poker is different. It takes skill.”

With poker rapidly evolving and being known as a mental skill game, a lot more credit is being given to the game and people are coming around. Dudley is another example, as he went on to earn his first World Series of Poker Bracelet toppling a field of 518 players in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha eight-handed tournament.

Dudley did have some backers for his entry fee, but he retained a lion’s share of his winnings. More than walking away with $1,086,967, it was the relief of his decision paying off after a decade of grinding it out at the poker tables.I felt so blessed after it happened. I had a ton of my friends and family there” quoted Dudley after his win. “It really felt like a team win.” Dudley had an incredible run in the Championship considering he was up against the who’s who of the poker world and knocked out four-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb.

A look into Dudley’s track record reveals this win to be his 38th cash in a WSOP event. His best take home prior to this was when he finished 8th in a No-Limit Hold’em tournament for $67,221. The Michigan State Wrestler’s WSOP earnings now stand at a proud $1,451,076. The timing of this win couldn’t have been better as Dudley and his longtime fiancee, Raquel Hubbard, are scheduled to tie the knot in August this year. “This helps,” Dudley said, with a laugh.

I’ve been out here chasing it for a while,” said Dudley, who made two other final tables before this one. “It’s crazy. It really is a crazy lifestyle, and you really have to give it your all if you want it. There are a ton of good players I’ve seen who just aren’t cut out for it, or can’t sustain the living. Other guys stay after it and keep on grinding.”

I have the utmost respect for all the grinders.” concluded the champion.

One passion had to give in this story and finally it did! Poker does have fairy tale endings; it’s about how hard you work for it!