National Spelling Champ Pratyush Buddiga Wins $3.2m Playing PokerDecember 19, 2014 2:07 pm
In 2002, Pratyush Buddiga won the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition aged 13, and in 2011 at the age of 22 had graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. While other students were busy planning out their future careers, however, Buddiga had already discovered he had a talent for playing poker back in high school, a practice he continued in Duke University. As the now 25 year-old explains:
“For the first two and a half years, I didn’t play any poker just because I was focused on school. Then, the second half of my junior year, I had an easier schedule and started to play some $10 to $20 multi-table tournaments online. Towards the end of college, I was playing bigger, taking shots at $100 tournaments.”
Pratyush Buddiga’s experience playing poker convinced him he had all the talent he needed to succeed in the game, and a quick glance at his live tournament results on thehendonmob shows his performances getting progressively better over the past few years. In 2011, for instance, Buddiga earned $55,148 on the live circuit, and the following year (2012) he had added a further $197,942 in earnings to his name. 2013 then became a break-out year with Buddiga racking up $905,835 in winnings, but 2014 has produced his greatest results to date with a big chunk of his $2,058,674 in winnings coming from a 3rd place finish at the APPT Asia Championship of Poker for $844,571, and victory at the Aria High Roller for $543,683.
Pratyush Buddiga now boasts impressive total live earnings of $3,218,794, and while other professionals seek to subsidize their profits with cash games, Buddiga says he is content to stick to just grinding tournaments for the time being. Explaining his decision, the Colorado resident said:
“A lot of tournament players don’t understand just how much better these cash guys are. They make the transition to tournaments way easier than we do to cash games, so I’m definitely not under any illusion that I’ll be one of the top poker players in the world. That being said, cash games, at least at the highest levels, are really dying out. The top players can’t even find consistent action. Tournaments are where the money is at these days.”