'Super blessed': Ex-MSU wrestler wins third World Series of Poker title, $300K

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

In poker, the old adage is, all you need is a chip and a chair, and you have a chance.

Dash Dudley can now confirm that.

Dudley, a Michigan State wrestler-turned-poker pro, collected his third career bracelet Thursday night when he rallied from the shortest of chip stacks all the way to the title — and a $301,396 payday — in the 62nd event of the World Series of Poker's summer circuit in Las Vegas.

East Lansing's Dash Dudley has won his third World Series of Poker bracelet.

Dudley, 36, won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament despite beginning play Thursday in last place among the 20 remaining competitors. He started the day with just three big blinds.

"Feeling amazing. This is the story you dream of," Dudley told reporters afterward. "Three blinds left to start the day with 20 players left and somehow catch enough heat to get here and then close it out for (bracelet) number three. That was the goal this summer so it feels amazing."

Dudley had an inkling something special might happen Thursday when he was all-in with six-deuce, a rotten starting hand, against his opponents' pocket fives and pocket eights.

Miraculously, Dudley made a straight, and he kept rolling from there.

A big pre-flop ace-king proved big for Dudley, as he had action from two opponents. Then, in heads-up, his opponent, David Sanchez of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, went all-in with king-jack while Dudley had king-queen, a dominating hand.

Dudley's previous WSOP bracelet in Vegas came in 2019, when he won a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament for $1,086,967. Later in the year, he won a WSOP bracelet in PLO in Europe.

Dudley actually had planned on playing a PLO tournament instead this week, before he decided to enter the Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold'em tournament instead — thinking, given the turbo in the name, it would go fast. But a massive field of more than 2,500 players turned it into a two-day event.

"I was going to play the PLO8 yesterday, but thought I'd take a shot at this real quick," Dudley told reporters. "Never had chips really but somehow made it happen. Super blessed."

Thursday's win was the second huge payday of the summer for Dudley, an East Lansing resident. He finished runner-up at event No. 28, a $50,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Tournament, winning $861,442.

He has five cashes at this summer's WSOP, which this year moved from its longtime home at the Rio to the Vegas Strip, and now has career earnings over $2.7 million.

This WSOP bracelet also was the first since the birth of his 10-month-old daughter, Dari. Dudley wore a T-shirt throughout the tournament that read, "Do It For Dari."

"Amazing summer," Dudley told The News in a text message Friday morning. "Yesterday was totally unreal!"

Dudley was the second Michigan man to win a bracelet at this summer's WSOP circuit, joining West Olive's Bryan Schultz, who won his first career bracelet in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament. That earned Schultz a payday of $330,057. West Olive is south of Grand Haven. For Schultz, 35, who has lived in Colombia for six years, it was the biggest poker payday of his life.

Other Michigan men with some close calls this summer:

►Grand Rapids' Brekstyn Schutten has had quite the lucrative summer out in Vegas, with two massive paydays in two high-roller events. He was runner-up at a $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, for a $820,808 payday, and fifth in a $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, for another $323,730.

►Clarkston's Ryan Riess, the 2013 WSOP Main Event champion who still is looking for that second bracelet, finished third in a $5,000 mixed (No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha) tournament, winning $302,980.

"Good momentum-builder for the Main Event," Riess said.

►In the $1,500 Millionaire Maker No-Limit Hold'em tournament, Grand Rapids' Dominic Brazier ($301,346) finished fifth and Canton's Stanley Weng ($231,145) placed sixth.

►Jackson's Nathan Russler placed third in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, for $248,298, more than doubling his career tournament winnings.

►North Muskegon's Corey Paggeot finished second at the $1,000 tag-team No-Limit Hold'em tournament, with partner Jamie Kerstetter of Monroe Township, New Jersey. They each won $45,756.

►In a $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, Detroit's Germandio Andoni took fourth for $87,167.

►Meanwhile, Shelby Township's Joe Cada, the 2009 Main Event champion, is back at the World Series of Poker summer circuit after skipping it in 2021. He has nine cashes and made a run at a fifth bracelet, finishing seventh in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, cashing for $61,098.

The WSOP summer circuit runs through mid-July, with the $10,000 Main Event starting Sunday.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984