The debonair Mel Judah is one of the most respected players on the tournament circuit. He also one of the most likeable players you will ever meet. He has a profound passion for the game of poker which has helped propel him to being on of the best poker players in the world. These days he’s winning at No Limit tournaments but he’s also one of the best Seven-card Stud players around. With over $2.2 million in career tournament earnings, he’s on the Top 50 list of all-time winners. He also won two WSOP bracelets and made 13 final table appearances at the WSOP, which is why he’s often considered the best poker player ever to come from Australia.
Mel Judah - Source: Las Vegas & Poker
Mel Judah was born in Calcutta, India. His original profession was a hair stylist. Before opening up his own salon on London’s West End, Judah worked for Vidal Sassoon as a member of their artistic team. He’s no longer a hair stylist today and has since traded in that profession. These days he gets by as a savvy poker pro.
Mel Judah started playing poker during his teens when he was taught by his father. He learned plenty of valuable lessons such as focusing on losing the minimum while trying to win the maximum possible. Although he started playing with friends in the 1970s, it was not until 1981 when he made his first trip to Las Vegas. Since then he made an effort to make trips to Las Vegas to play in poker tournaments. In fact over the last decade, Mel Judah has been playing in tournaments all over the world in London, Moscow, Melbourne, Las Vegas, Austria, and Los Angeles with a huge rate of success.
Mel Judah first cash in a WSOP event was in 1989 when he won a bracelet for coming in first place the $1,500 Seven-card Stud event. Over the next three years at the WSOP, he would cash four times and make two final tables including a second place finish in an Omaha 8 event. From 1995 through 1997, he would cash four more times and make three more final tables with a 1st, 3rd, 8th, and 10th place finish.
1997 might have been Judah’s best year. He won his second bracelet in another Seven-card Stud event after outlasting a final table that featured T.J. Cloutier and Freddy Deeb. Also that year he finished in an impressive third place in the $10,000 main event that was eventually won by Stu Ungar. By the end of that WSOP, Mel Judah emerged as one of the best Stud players in the world and one of the toughest No Limit Hold’em players around.
In 2000, Judah finished in 39th place in the main event. He cashed in three events that year including making two more final tables. He took third place in the $5K Stud event that also featured top names just as Scotty Nguyen, Bob Feduniak, Tony Cousineau, Jack McClelland, Larry Flynt, David Chiu, and Ken Flaton. In 2001, Judah made seven final tables in different tournaments in Europe. He came in second in the World Heads Up Championship at the Austrian Masters. He also won a Pot Limit event in Moscow. In 2002, he made 13 final tables in events all over the world, including another final table appearance in the $5K Seven-card Stud event at the WSOP.
2003 was another special year for Mel Judah. He started the year by making four final tables at the Australian Poker Championships in the Crown Casino in Melbourne, including a first place finish in an Omaha Hi/Lo event. Later that year at the WSOP, he made three final table plus a second place finish in the $5K Stud event at the WSOP. He lost to Men “The Master” Nguyen and outlasted both Phil Ivey and Rob Hollink at the final table. Judah also made two final tables on the World Poker Tour including winning his first WPT title at the Legends of Poker in Los Angeles. That was an impressive win especially since he beat out a tough final table which included top notch pros like Paul Phillips, T.J. Cloutier, Chip Jett, Phil "Unabomber" Laak, and Farzad Bonyadi.
In 2004, Judah made the final table at the European Poker Championships in London. At the WSOP in 2004 and 2005, Judah cashed six more times. In 2005, he made five final tables at the Crown Australian Poker Championships and made the final table at the California State Poker Championships.
Mel Judah currently lives in London with his wife and two children. He can often be found playing in Los Angeles and in Las Vegas. He is also the founder of World Poker Championship, which he’s hoping with rival the WPT.