Seven-Figure Fun: Dale Michael Becomes 1st ClubWPT Qualifier with Shot at $1 Million Bonus

Jan 10, 2020

Club WPT Qualifier Dale Michael

By Sean Chaffin

As the latest ClubWPT qualifier, Dale Michael has a unique opportunity at the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. The WPT’s sweepstakes poker site offers players a chance to qualify for Main Tour events as well as gives out more than $100,000 in cash and prizes each year. 

The site announced this week that it was raising the stakes even more – promising a $1million bonus in 2020 for any ClubWPT VIP qualifier who went on to win the WPT event in which he or she qualified. As the first qualifier of the year, Michael now has a million-dollar shot.

“I like that opportunity to get the million dollars,” he said during the first break in the action on Day 1B. “I hope I’m just lucky enough to get to the final table and have a chance.”

Club WPT Qualifier Dale Michael & Vince Van Patten
Lucky Man

Obviously winning a million bucks as well as winning a ClubWPT tournament online take some luck. The qualifying events can feature thousands of entries and then making it through a WPT field wouldn’t be easy. But Michael has a history of having some luck on his side and is hoping that continues.

In 2007, Milwaukee’s Best beer sponsored the World Series of Poker and offered several free online tournaments with a free entry into the $10,000 Main Event for the winners. Michael won one of those tournaments and then went on to finish 558th for $20,320. Many poker fans may remember the promotion featured WPT Raw Deal host Phil Hellmuth on some of its beer cans in 2008.

“That was actually the highlight of my poker life,” says Michael, who works as an insurance agent during his day job.

Then in September, Michael also won a package to see a special premier of Vince Van Patten’s new film 7 Days to Vegas event in Las Vegas. The 49-year-old lives in La Quinta, California, and is a regular at the tables at the Agua Caliente casino in Rancho Mirage. This was his first year playing on ClubWPT and he also won an online event to earn his way into this week’s WPT championship at the Gardens.

Dale Michael Club WPT 7 Days to Vegas Screening

“I never led the tournament,” he says of his qualifying event. “I was always down in the middle of the pack until I got to the final table. I slowly just went to first.”

A few hours later the win was his and his ticket to the Gardens was booked. He now also has a shot at an extra $1 million and a chance to add another highlight to his poker career. That’s part of the reason that he got involved with ClubWPT.

“I liked the idea that I could win a tournament like this,” he says. “I do believe I’m lucky. I don’t get upset when I’m playing and low on chips. I just keep my cool and somehow I pull it back out.”

Skydiving Man

Back home, Michael and his wife have one grown daughter. After the death of his father, they moved back in with his mother to care for her and keep her company. When she passed away recently, the couple decided to do something to break out of their grief a bit and shake things up.

“We just skydived for the first time in April and July – it was awesome,” he says. “My mom had just died about a month prior to that. So I was like, ‘You know, I’ve got to start living life.’ Once she passed away I thought, ‘I haven’t done anything exciting.’”

When Michael told his wife his idea, she was not only supportive but was ready to jump out of a plane herself. The July jump was timed to correspond with his mother’s birthday.

As action played out on Day 1B at the Gardens, Michael was still among those left in the Day 1B field. However, he took a hit when his three of a kind didn’t hold up when an all-in opponent rivered a gutshot straight.

“I’ve been doing decently, but took a big hit,” he said.

With an extra $1 million on the line, he’ll be looking for another nice comeback similar to his big ClubWPT qualifier win. A little more luck would be nice too.

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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