I sometimes think that when Daniel Rudd wakes up he brushes his teeth, has a shower and then coats himself in stealth technology paint.
That’s the only way I can imagine he continues to slip under the poker radar.
Rudd is a 28-year old professional poker player. I suspect most of you have never heard his name.
He happens to be one of the best cash-game players in poker.
Few Picked Out Rudd at WCOOP FT
“I have always been comfortable, but winning $770,000 is life changing money,” says Rudd.
That haul landed in Rudd’s bank account after he finished sixth in this year's $5,200 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event.
Rudd doesn’t normally play tournament poker. He's made his money playing $25/50 cash games online, but he’s more than happy that he chose to buy into this one.
“It’s one of the tournaments that I will play each year. Obviously, it’s a really good structure and you have to be patient. I guess things just went my way.”
Rudd was the beneficiary of a six-handed deal. The day after the Main Event had ended, it was interesting to read all of the reports.
The anonymity of online pseudonyms made it difficult to determine who won what. But the more diligent writers in the business were able to identify Fedor Holz, Dylan Hortin, Viktor Blom, Faraz Jaka, Elior Sion and Yuri Martins.
Few people picked out Rudd. I guess after two days of action, the paint was still doing its job.
The Art of Negotiating is to Keep Quiet
“We did a deal because there were six pros left in basically. The deal making took a while because in the last 20 minutes people were haggling over a thousand dollars or whatever.
"I remember playing in a tournament in Ireland a few years ago. I was speaking to one of the organizers and he told me that the art of negotiating is to keep quiet. Let everyone shout first, see their demands and then formulate your strategy.”
So how did that work out?
“The short stack immediately wrote in the chat box: 'I am not giving up any more than $20k' and I thought straight away, 'I know you are giving up at least $20k now.'
“I got an ICM deal. I went from 8m to 6m in chips just before the deal took place - I think I was third or fourth in chips.
"I liked the way my table was set up. I had the short stacks on my left, the bigger stacks on my right and, in my opinion, the better players on my right.
So I was comfortable continuing but also happy to secure the deal. There was still $200k to play for but five minutes later I was out.
"I lost a flip AK v QQ and then I lost with A7s - jamming on the button versus AQ.”
"Then I Woke My Dad Up"
I always wonder what happens moments after winning that kind of money in an online tournament.
You're at home. Nobody can see you.
I heard Elior Sion, who finished fourth, played the entire tournament on his iPad. The whole situation seems a little surreal to me.
“My girlfriend was railing me," Rudd says, "and so were a few of my friends on Skype. Then when we got to the final table, she fell asleep!
"I was at home, where I usually play, and I was pretty nervous when it got down to the last three tables. That helped me focus.
"Winning $30-40k is a lot of money but $1.8m is an awful lot more. The difference between busting at that point and going much deeper was pretty nerve wracking.
“After it ended I was absolutely buzzing. I immediately jumped into a Skype chat with my mates, and the banter was flowing.
"Then I woke my Dad up and told him. He was in shock. I am always messing about, so he didn’t believe me at first.”
$770,000 - what would you do with that kind of money? There are a lot of things that you could buy, a lot of people you could help. But Rudd is a poker player.
Was this going to be another case of most of it going back into poker?
"There Aren't Many Games Any Higher for Me"
“I wasn’t struggling beforehand but it is life changing money. I can now lock down a flat in London. There are a few investments I have been looking at.
"There is a church for sale that I have been looking at, which I would like to turn into a bar or restaurant, and there is a passageway with planning permission that I have been looking at also.
"I want to lock something down with this money - away from the tables.
“I am good with money. I don’t take a lot of shots. I just move up slowly and make sure I am good at those stakes.
"I have been playing for quite a while now. There are quite a few players who do well and then lose it all again. I will probably give a bit back to the tourney community, but not too much of it.”
As it turns out even the cool, calm and collected Rudd likes to take a little shot.
“I did play a little bit of £100/200, which was exciting - I was nervous playing that as well - but there is nothing going on at those stakes.
"I'm at a point where there aren't that many games any higher for me and that’s why I am playing more tournaments now.
“I am 28 now, so I am more sensible. If I had won this money when I was 20 then I would be more likely to waste it, but I’m not that sort of person to be honest.”
A Depth Only Poker Players Understand
Poker and value and respect for money. That age-old conundrum that has seen so many world-class players struggling to get back into the game they used to take for granted.
“I was speaking to a poker player the other day and he was telling me that he wished he was more sensible with his money when he had it.
"He is backed now and is regretting the past a bit. It’s all about balance. You have to enjoy yourself, but just don’t waste it all.”
On the face of it, poker seems like the easiest job in the world. After all, Rudd was just tapping buttons whilst sitting at his computer in his slippers.
But there is a depth to the game that only poker players have dabbled their toes in. There are many things in the deep that can bite those little pinkies, and one of them is the handling of money.
“Your whole life is so different to any other person with a day job. I remember an old Neil Channing interview and he was talking about playing cash games all night in the Vic and then walking home as everybody else was trundling off to work.
"I do wonder what my life would be like if poker hadn’t been so kind."
'That's a Nice and Easy Job'
“I was in the gym a few days ago and a girl that works there asked me what I did. I told her I played poker and she said, 'That’s a nice and easy job.'
"It’s a lot harder than people think. I have a friend who is not doing too well at the moment and the situation has created a lot of stress that impacts his everyday life.
"Every pro goes through stages of highs and lows and you just need reassurance that it will come good. It’s a lot tougher than people think.
“My girlfriend is always surprised at the depth of a game that originally started out as nothing more than a mess about with your mates.
"Although come to think about it - it still feels like that most of the time.”