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It also taught him the value of hard work. “The idea that helped me is that I could be the best at something if I worked hard at it,” he told The Washington Post. “That’s something the spelling bee has done for me throughout my life. No matter what I do I could look back and say, ‘Okay, I was the best in the country at something, I can do it again.” 

After realizing that he was not interested in finance, Buddiga changed tracks to poker which he’d learned during a school-sponsored trip to New York. He turned pro after graduating from college and hasn’t looked back. His biggest winning was $1 million in June last year at the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl.  

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