East Lansing’s Dash Dudley is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, eighth on Michigan’s lifetime tournament earnings list and fifth all-time in WSOP Omaha earnings.
Dudley recently wrapped up the 2022 WSOP in Las Vegas. He recorded seven in-the-money finishes that included a bracelet in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty event and a runner-up finish in the $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event.
He also logged one cash at the Wynn and one more on WSOP.com MI to bring his summer earnings to more than $1.2 million.
Once returning home, Dudley caught up with PlayMichigan to talk about his results, the game of Pot-Limit Omaha and the Michigan online poker and live poker scenes.
An Omaha specialist wins a WSOP Hold’em bracelet
Dudley’s first two bracelets came in 2019, both in Pot-Limit Omaha. He won the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event for $1.09 million and followed it up with a trip across the pond, where he took down the €550 PLO at WSOP Europe for his second bracelet in four months.
While he has plenty of NLH experience from the earlier years of his career, Dudley hardly plays the game outside of the Main Event each year. He tweeted about the win afterward, saying he did the unthinkable by winning bracelet number three in a game he “didn’t even play.”
“I haven’t really played Hold’em in probably like seven or eight years and somehow was able to win a Hold’em bracelet this year. It even boggles my mind,” Dudley said. “I feel like my Hold’em game was so much better 10 or 12 years ago because I used to play so much more. And now to win, my friends are ragging on me saying, ‘No, you’re a No-Limit tournament player again!’ and stuff like that.”
Furthermore, Dudley only joined the tournament because it was scheduled to last one day and began four hours before the 3 p.m. $10K PLO 8-or-better event. He figured he would be able to play no matter what due to late registration remaining open until the start of Day 2.
“Spin 2 Win”
Instead, a record field of 2,569 dictated otherwise, as the field played a full day of 30 levels and 20 players remained.
Dudley came into Day 2 dead last in chips, the only player with less than 1 million. His 725K was good for under four big blinds going into Level 31’s 100K/200K blinds.
After not finding a spot to commit his short stack in the first few hands, Dudley was in the big blind and looked down at the six-deuce offsuit. After paying his big-blind ante, he was committed and ultimately beat pocket eights and ace-five suited to more than triple his stack.
More improbably, he did so after a jack-three-three flop, catching running five-four for a straight and finding a little breathing room.
“That was pretty much the pivotal point in the whole day, just staying alive on that first all in,” said Dudley. “And then somehow, I just kind of ground out those final two tables, went into the final table in the middle of the pack and was able to pull it off.”
Dudley added that even with the turbo structure, he felt there was enough room for play. He feels comfortable operating with stacks in the 10-to-20 big blind range and was able to stay alive, ultimately working his way to victory.
Redemption from earlier in the summer for Dudley
Before Dudley’s win, he was likely guaranteed a profitable summer after taking second place in the $50K PLO High Roller tournament. He also played the $25K PLO event earlier in the summer, where Ben Lamb knocked him out just before reaching the money.
The High Roller event started with 300k in chips, though the event also has a quick enough structure to create action.
Late in Day 1, Dudley got involved in a hand with AKQJ-double suited and raised. The big blind defended, and the two players got stacks in on a flop of QT4 with two spades and a diamond.
“I had the full wrap [straight draw], nut spades [flush draw], a queen blocker, backdoor diamonds. Like one of the best hands I’ve ever flopped,” said Dudley.
Stacks ultimately got into the middle, and his opponent had the other two queens in the deck for top set. The turn paired the board to give his opponent a full house, and Dudley thought he had been eliminated, only to have, you guessed it, three big blinds remaining.
On the next hand, he tripled up. Then he doubled on the hand that followed and ultimately spun his stack back to 500K at the end of the night.
“And I went on to take second in the tournament [two days later],” Dudley added. “So both tournaments this summer, I was down to three big blinds. And both of them, I had miraculous comebacks. It was quite an unreal summer, for sure.”
Omaha can be played in Michigan year-round, too
Despite Dudley’s success in PLO tournaments, he has primarily been a cash game player through the years.
He’s traveled across the country to get in on the action in places such as Florida, Los Angeles, Hammond (Chicago) and Cincinnati. However, in recent years Michigan’s poker scene has become a PLO hub of its own, both live and online.
“In Michigan, we have 30-something casinos, and now we’ve got online poker, so the scene is pretty good,” he said. “Even for live [games], we have like a $25/$50/$100 PLO game that goes every week at MGM Grand Detroit.”
Dudley said there are usually upward of 24 cash game tables running each night with a packed house on the weekend. No-Limit Hold’em is still the most popular game in town, but three different stakes of games are usually played in PLO, too, including stakes such as $1/$3/$5 and $5/$10.
As a result, many Michigan players stay local for these games rather than needing to travel. Instead, people from places like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are driving to Detroit to play Omaha.
Good PLO games available at Michigan online poker sites
In addition, Omaha cash games run on all of Michigan’s online poker sites (PokerStars, BetMGM and WSOP.com) too.
Players can find games for stakes up to $2/$5 almost around the clock. Additionally, $5/$10 and a table or two of $10/$25 will run during peak times.
As of now, none of the three sites has proven to win over the PLO player pool, meaning games are spread out across all three sites.
According to Dudley:
“It’s a good sign that they can have that much balance across all the sites. It’s kind of crazy that there are enough players online, and the demand is high enough that they can spread games across all the sites. Plus, people are playing live cash games, games on unregulated sites and whatnot, too.”
PLO tournaments are also seeing good turnouts. Since launching in March, WSOP has included a PLO event in three of four monthly online circuit series to have run, with all receiving good turnouts.
Dash Dudley on interstate poker
Michigan will soon be entering into the interstate poker compact with Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, creating the possibility for larger player pools in cash games and tournaments.
“I’ve thought about it both ways,” Dudley said. “It can be good and bad. I know it will help with bigger games and having larger player pools to create action. [At the same time,] I know Nevada has some tough player pools and a lot of grinders on there, so I hope they don’t scalp our Michigan community too badly.
“But I think it will be a good way for Michigan players to get better and play against better players. With players from New Jersey and Nevada, they’ll be able to have a little bit of an east-coast feel and west feel at the same time, and the games are a little different.
“So, I think it will help integrate and help Michigan players see a lot of the game they can’t see from back home in Michigan.”
Photos Courtesy of Dash Dudley