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Orel Hershiser grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey where he was a star baseball player. Orel was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th Round of the 1979 amateur draft. He went on to have a prolific major league career compiling 204 wins and 2,014 strikeouts along with a 3.48 ERA. Orel’s finest season was in 1988 when he captured a World Series title as the MVP, the NL Cy Young Award, a Gold Glove Award, and a selection to the 1988 All-Star Game. The nickname “Bulldog” was coined by former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, referring to Orel’s fierce and competitive spirit. After retiring, Orel became an avid tournament poker player.
Orel currently resides in Las Vegas, and is an analyst for Baseball Tonight, a Sports Emmy Award-winning program on ESPN.
Trading One Diamond for Another
Orel Hershiser competed in the World Series of Blackjack Tournament in Las Vegas in 2007. In 2008, Orel was invited to participate in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship that featured several of poker’s best. Orel stunned the poker world by making the quarterfinals in defeating established professionals Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb. Orel was finally defeated by Andy Bloch.
Hershiser at the Table
Hershiser went into his quarterfinal match up with Andy Bloch the same way he took the mound: with focus, patience, and control. Although Bloch gained a chip advantage early on, Orel hung tough and was able to double up to take the chip lead. The match seesawed back and forth until Bloch was finally able to put an end to Orel’s impressive run.
Orel, with J-T, called Bloch’s all-in with A-9. The board of 9-7-6-6-2 gave Bloch unneeded assistance and although Hershiser was eliminated from the competition, it gave him the confidence and respect of the poker world.