Joe Reddick, who served 15 years in prison for dealing crack, learned how to play serious poker behind bars, where they used Snickers bars and cans of tuna instead of cash. Joe Reddick was originally sent to prison in 1993 and fell in love with the game after seeing some inmates playing Seven Card Stud.
He perfected his game playing with fellow cons — including a Colombian drug lord known as “Pepe” — at the 11 federal prisons he was in along the East Coast.
“At first, it was a time-killer. Then it became a passion. I would play all day, all night, seven days a week,” Reddick told. “I became infamous. Any prison I arrived at, they knew there was going to be a big poker game going on.”
According to urban legend, Reddick left prison in 2008 with just $500 in his pocket and went straight to the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City where he won $2,500.
The 47-year-old former criminal has just scored his greatest victory last week after winning $217,792 at the WPT’s $450 Borgata Winter Poker Open $1 Million event.
In total, it is believed Reddick has won more than $1.5 million paying tournaments and cash games in casinos across the United States. The Hendon Mob database which details the career earnings of major poker players shows Reddick has won $590,282 playing tournaments since his release from jail.