Dr. David Dao Was “Going Nuts” in WSOP Event Prior to United Airlines Incident

April 12th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

United Airlines passenger David Dao is a poker-playing doctor with a sordid past that involves drug trafficking and sex scandals.

Dr. David Dao poker.

Dr. David Dao, the man beaten and removed from a United Airlines flight is also a poker player and former drug trafficker. (Image: dnaindia.com)

Dao made the headlines on April 9 when he was dragged from a United Airlines flight with his face bloodied. After overbooking the flight, United Airlines staff selected four people to remove, but Dao refused to move.

Dao was eventually forcefully ejected by police officers, but before he became an unlikely star, he was making a name for himself in other ways. According to the Hendon Mob’s database, Dao has $266,263 in live tournament earnings, including results at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

The highlight of his poker career came back in 2009 when he finished second in the $5,150 WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s Tunica, Robinsonville Mississippi.

After lining up alongside 153 other entrants, Dao outlasted the likes of Gavin Smith, Mike Leah and Matt Stout on route to finishing second behind Kai Landry for $117,744.

A Crazy Poker Player

Since that result, the doctor has continued to play in events across the US as recently as January 2017 when he cashed in another WSOP Circuit event. Beyond his tournament exploits, Dao is a cash game player at the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana according to one Reddit user.

After reading about Dao’s now infamous removal from a United flight, tswpoker1 confirmed that he was a regular in the casino’s $1/$2 games. Going by the nickname “Asian Dave,” Dao reportedly has a “unique, aggressive style” but is “usually very quiet and keeps to himself.”

This assessment of Dao’s playing style was confirmed by Stout who told TMZ that he was “fearless” and played a “crazy unorthodox style”

The Sickest Bad Beat of All Time

Despite his positive standing with some members of the poker community, Dao’s actions away from the felt haven’t been so salubrious. Since he became global news, details of his criminal past have emerged.

Dao had his medical license suspended in 2003 after he was arrested and charged with unlawfully subscribing and trafficking drugs, including Oxycontin. A report by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure shows that Dao was supplying a variety of drugs to a former patient by the name of Brian Case.

As well as meeting Case in motel rooms to sell him pills at $200 a pop, the report states that Dao was also videotaped “with his shirt off and his pants undone.” Although his license was reinstated back in 2015 so he could cover for another doctor at Hardin Memorial Hospital, the NY Post claims previous complaints have earned him a negative reputation within the medical community.

What’s clear at this stage is that Dao is certainly no stranger to controversy. Even if the man himself doesn’t pursue a legal case against United Airlines, the company’s shares have dropped by $1.4 billion in recent days, which could make this the costliest bad beat of all time.


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