Throughout his life, the former poker pro and entrepreneur Pratyush Buddiga has hit some metaphorical walls. From getting into poker right before Black Friday to losing it all on the early cryptocurrency scene, you might agree with what the young entrepreneur says.
“Sometimes I felt like the “universe” was against me,” Buddiga said in a recent blog post on his website. “I felt like some invisible force was working against me even though my rational brain knew that was ridiculous.” Here’s a look at where Buddiga has been and where he wants to go in the future.
From Crusher To Crushed
As a young boy, it was spelling bees that earned him money and scholarships. As the winner of the 75th Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2002, Buddiga earned $12,000 and a scholarship at just 13 years old.
However, as a young man it was poker that became his main interest. He graduated from Duke University in 2011 before going on to place 8th for $94,127 at the EPT Berlin the following year.
It wasn’t long before Buddiga began climbing the ranks of the poker world.
“In 2015, I was ranked #2 in the world on the Global Poker Index and privately boasted to friends I was the best player in the world,” Buddiga said. “The dedication and singular focus had cost me a relationship, but the goal of accumulating a retirement nest egg before 30 and never working again seemed within my grasp.” However, a huge downswing changed everything for Buddiga. He began eating, drinking and partying more. Before he knew it, Buddiga was broke, fat and lonely.
It wasn’t until he began listening to podcasts on stoicism and Buddhism that he started working out and becoming healthy again. He went on to have a stellar WSOP season in 2016, and in 2017 he cashed for $1,000,000 in a Super High Roller Bowl.
Although he had just finished one of his most profitable years ever, poker wasn’t something the lit his fire anymore. He needed something different, and he found it in cryptocurrency.
Buddiga managed to enter the crypto world in 2017, a time when it looked like Bitcoin was on it’s way to $20,000. He and some of his poker friends decided to start buying and selling ICO’s to make huge profits.
“Everyone knew it was a bubble, but we all thought we could sell to some other sucker before the music stopped,” Buddiga said. “Poker had desensitized me enough to money that even the daily 20-30% swings in net worth that I was taking in the height of the mania in late 2017-2018 felt like nothing. The market crashed a month later.”
This time around, Buddiga was almost at the end of the road. He even contemplated suicide in the spring of 2019. It wasn’t until he met his wife and found religion again that he bounced back from losing most of his net worth in the crypto crash.
Buddiga was raised Hindu, but after he found science and reason he began to veer away from religion as a whole. He viewed believers as inherently dumber than him because they didn’t use logic and reason.
However, as a young adult he began reading books on Christianity that challenged his beliefs. He when on a date with Gwen, who would eventually become his wife, and she suggested the two should go to church together.
At his first ever Christian church service, he was overwhelmed with emotions he had never known, and his then-girlfriend told him that he had spoken to God. He has embraced Christianity since.
Now, Buddiga is simply looking to grow.
“What’s next for me is to find the true optimists and builders, wherever they are, whether that’s in crypto, education, charter cities, or even enterprise SaaS. What matters is not the industry, but the relationship we can build, the goals we can set together, and the purpose that unites and drives us.”
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