Unless you’ve been holidaymaking in North Korea over the past week, you’ll have heard about the United Airlines passenger removal controversy that has gripped social media and caused the airline A LOT of problems. It’s a classic demonstration of the power of Facebook and Twitter in particular, with videos being uploaded to the popular platforms in a matter of minutes which highlight the gross misconduct shown by Chicago Department of Aviation’s officers.
Plenty of comments have been made since, all causing maximum embarrassment and a considerable amount of damage to United’s image and popularity. It’s been a memorable few days with regards to PR disasters – from Pepsi’s much-maligned advert to Sean Spicer’s unfortunate mix-up with words when talking about Syria. However, Dr. David Dao being forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight has (probably) come out on top.
if twitter this past week was a person here he is pic.twitter.com/r9JM0tP7ee
— Chris Melberger (@chrismelberger) April 11, 2017
Why exactly are we talking about this on an online gambling website, we hear you ask? Well, incredibly, it’s just been revealed that Dr. Dao is a poker professional who has been involved in WSOP (World Series of Poker) tournaments in the past! Let’s take you through what we know.
On Sunday 9th April, Dr. David Dao was sitting patiently in his seat waiting to be flown back to his hometown of Louisville from Chicago where he practises his profession. Unfortunately, United Airlines had overbooked this particular flight – something that airlines do to maximise profit – and 4 passengers were asked to leave after being randomly assigned. One of them was Dr. Dao – but he stated that he didn’t want to do so as he needed to be at work the following morning to see his patients.
According to eye witnesses on the United Airlines Flight 3411, initial discussions between the doctor and security services were conducted with calm. However, once another officer arrived on the scene, it didn’t take long for things to take an aggressive turn. We’re sure you’ve all seen what happened, but just in case you can watch the video below.
CAUTION: The video contains content that you may find disturbing.
@United overbook #flight3411 and decided to force random passengers off the plane. Here's how they did it: pic.twitter.com/QfefM8X2cW
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
What followed was a monumental backlash at United for the incident, as various clips of the above found their way to international media outlets. Of course, the internet also played a huge part – with memes generated en masse to ridicule United Airlines for their treatment, and a dedicated Twitter handle entitled United Over Bookings doing the rounds.
WE NEED A VOLUNTEER pic.twitter.com/RfYgrBPPOE
— United Over Bookings (@UnitedOverBooks) April 11, 2017
As ever with these controversies, the victim has received plenty of media attention. However, what caught our eye here at Gambling Metropolis is TMZ’s recent report which states that Dr. David Dao plays poker professionally! What’s more, he’s made a very respectable total from his pastime too.
In a remarkable turn of events, the media have managed to unearth information on Dr. David Dao’s WSOP-participating poker history as part of their research. It all started over a decade ago in July 2006, after the doctor had his license suspended for illegal prescriptions. A few months later, Dao scooped $ 326 from his first professional appearance at Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel and Casino.
He managed to climb his way up the ladder with several tournaments over the years, including his largest ever win at an event in Mississippi. He progressed into a final heads-up situation against Kai Landry, losing out while holding a royal flush draw. Unfortunately for him, the card was a spade instead of a diamond – but he still saw $ 117,744 enter his bank account soon after. Fellow poker professional, Matt Stout, talked to TMZ about playing Dao in this very tournament – noting his “completely fearless” style.
Holy crap, I just realized the doctor dragged off the @United flight is David Dao who I played 3-handed with in '09 $ 5k #WSOP-C Tunica ME! https://t.co/fAXOtbI9yl
— Matt Stout (@MattStoutPoker) April 11, 2017
A year prior to his largest ever win, Dr. Dao played in the Main Event Championship of the Annual World Series of Poker, followed by other notable WSOP stints in 2012 and 2016. It looks as though he hadn’t ditched poker by the time United Airlines decided to do just that to him either, as his most recent record is an 11th place, $ 1,191 exit from an event at Horseshoe Casino Tunica in January this year.
According to his WSOP player profile page, Dr. David Dao has won a combined $ 234,664 during his time playing poker!
While the name David Dao was probably only known by a selection of poker players prior to the United Airlines debacle, they’re certain to recognise him the next time he steps foot in a poker room. However, due to the reported legal proceedings taking place against the airline, it’s unknown at this time when that will actually happen.
As he’s clearly very adept at poker, we can only hope that the attention he’s received from the entire episode won’t deter him from playing in future.