Competition is just what Wendel seems to thrive on, shattering the dreams of his opponents at every opportunity. “Never let anyone win. It’s all about ‘no mercy’…unless it’s a girl you’re trying take on a date,” he joked.

He entered the world of professional gaming in 1999 and won a $4,000 cash prize at his first Cyberathlete Professional League tournament. Since then, Wendel’s average prize winnings are more in the six-digit range, and his international acclaim has translated into the Fatal1ty brand, his work as a global gaming ambassador and spokesman, and his league of fans across the Web and beyond.

“It consumes every minute if you want to be the best. Training is crazy, but I really enjoy the challenge of going for it. My greatest reward is doing what I love,” said Wendel.

“I’ve been playing a lot of poker. I’ve been a big fan of cards since I was a young kid, and I’ve played a lot of poker off and on even while gaming. As for video gaming, I’m still gaming all the time, never stopped … just waiting for big prize tournaments to come up again,” he explained. “To dedicate 12 to 18 months to win a couple thousand dollars isn’t that appealing to me. I’ll wait for the economy to pick up again for major sponsorships of gaming tournaments and then get right back in the heat of it.”

Today, you can find Wendel in Las Vegas, placing his bet on the cards rather than Quake. He’s a Full Tilt Poker pro for the time being, at least, until the next tournament rolls around.

Even though it seems that his entire life revolves around gaming of some sort, Wendel still turns to the screen when it is time to take a break from the competition. “I enjoy playing on my different consoles for fun and to kick back … Mario Kart, Call of Duty, World at War and some board games, like backgammon and poker.”

Johnathan ”Fatal1ty” Wendel is one of an elite few, but his story is universal. Turning a passion into a profession is a dream that many harbor; it just takes guts and gumption to make it a reality. Wendel’s dedication and achievements in the gaming subculture are inspirational and may just cause parents to think twice before they deprive their kids of “neurofitness” in the form of video games.

“I hope to see gaming grow and that innovative, new technology will continue to improve our experience playing games,” said Wendel. “My message to young fans is to do what you love and enjoy it. If you want something, go for it.”

“Game on!”


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