If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it
a million times several times: the European Poker Tour isn’t just about the Main Event, High Roller and Super High Roller, it’s a big ol’ rollicking festival of poker. Given the full name ‘EPT10 London Poker Festival’ you should probably be aware of this already.
Two players that have done well on the tournament fringes (you know, playing in different rooms) include Martin Jacobson and Ben Dobson. Jacobson is someone that any mid-term follower of the EPT will know. The Swede, who now resides in the UK, or certainly did last time I asked him, has made four EPT Main Event final tables in his time, twice finishing runner-up. Close to half of his live tournament winnings have come from the EPT, $1,860,498 of the $3,870,648 total, which is good for putting him 20th on the EPT all-time money list.
Jacobson can add £77,780 to both figures following his win in the a £2k side event which concluded his last night. The Swede beat Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov heads-up to claim his first ever EPT trophy.
A man who’s trumped Jacobson in trophies, albeit ones with smaller prizes attached, is Ben Dobson, a 22-year-old British player who’s successfully taken down two trophies over the last few days. Dobson won Event #10: £1,100 NLHE turbo for £21,705 and Event #19: £330 NLHE ‘Win the button’ for £5,840.
Dobson, who plays as “f3nix35” at PokerStars, got into the game playing at University in Nottingham, tellingly close to the Dusk Till Dawn poker club, but isn’t your average give-it-a-grind graduate: he’s just back from trying to start up a business in Guangzhou, China.
“I fancied escaping from the British winter and trying something new. It was real estate business (with my friend). There’s a booming city and lots of foreigners and ex-pats. We were going to provide a housing service for them because a lot of the locals don’t speak English at all and it’s really hard for foreigners to find a place to live. We ran into a lot of legal problems, as was probably going to be the case, but it was a great learning experience anyway. To expand the business it would have been hard to get much money out of it,” said Dobson.
Money, it seems, shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the Dorset boy. He’s done pretty well for himself both online and live. He’s got $ recoded cashes live and $434,709 in mult-table tournaments at PokerStars, partly thanks to some WCOOP final table finishing.
“I got into poker through Dusk Till Dawn and the Nottingham Poker Society and got annoyed that I couldn’t beat the game so would practice online. When I finished university I gave it a go going pro and I haven’t really looked back since. I made sure that I got my degree because, for me personally, I always want a back-up. It’s like when I was in China, I wanted another source of guaranteed income so I’m not relying on just one thing,” said Dobson.
So, Business Management and Economics (2:1) in the bag, Chinese business experience in the back pocket and two EPT London trophies to the good, Dobson looks like a player to keep an eye on. That £1k event wasn’t a soft walk-it-home final table line-up; Paul Berende and Tim Finne were among the players involved, the latter whom Dobson knew all too well.
“I’ve been good friends with Tim for a couple of years now. I enjoy playing against him because sometimes it’s easier playing against friends, you’ve got a better idea of what they’re doing because you’ve got history with them. I know I can get away with some stuff against them that I might not be able to with others at a final table with the ICM pay jumps.”
So, you’re abusing their trust that you’ve ‘got it’?
“It’s not abusing their trust, it’s that I have more of an idea. I enjoy playing against good players. I used to really fear it when I had aggressive players at my table but these days I much prefer it now. You realise that they’re getting the same hands as you are. It’s not as if they’re magically always going to have a hand or something. You get in more interesting spots, but it’s more volatile. They’ll be bluffing a higher percentage of the time. It adds more to the game. You can often get it wrong but when you get it right it’s pretty good,” he said.
It seems that Dobson’s getting it right more often than wrong at the moment.
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Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.