I’ve written in the past about how, over time, the LAPT truly has become Latin America’s poker tour. In the early seasons, players from outside Latin America regularly participated at and won LAPT events. Yet over the last few seasons the shift towards a playerbase that is almost entirely from Latin America (with a few U.S. ex-pats thrown in) has been noticeable.
You can imagine my surprise, then, as I scanned the Day 2 starter list and noticed five players from outside the Americas: Robbie Renehan from Ireland, James Dunmall from the United Kingdom, Manuel Servino from Spain, Alessandro Basttanoni of Italy, and Eliezer Blum of Israel. Blum’s and Basttanoni’s original tables broke before I could find them, and Servino busted early. I’m already well-acquainted with Renehan, so I set off to find Dunmall.
When I came up to his starting seat assignment at Table 6, a man in a blue “Osaka” shirt with orange sunglasses on his head was asking another player at the table, in English, “What’s the Spanish word for animosity?”
It looked like I’d found my man.
I watched Dunmall as he eliminated a short stack with A♦Q♠ against the short stack’s K♠9♠. The two men shook hands after the chips were in but before the board was out, then again after Dunmall’s A♦Q♠ won unimproved on a 6♦J♦8♠5♠4♠ board. The pot pushed him up to about 55,000. The next hand, on the button, he tried a raise to 4,000. It was called by the small blind before the big blind peeked at his cards and paused.
Renehan turned to the player on his right and said something quietly. When the big blind three-bet to 11,000, Dunmall folded.
It was the perfect opportunity to ask Dunmall what brought him to Medellin.
“I won a Main Event passport through the Steps tournament online,” the 32-year-old native Londoner told me. “I figured I can always play an EPT event, and I’ve been to Vegas, but I’d never been to South America and really wanted to go to Medellin.” The Main Event Passport offered Dunmall the buy-in to the LAPT Colombia National Poker Championship and six nights at the fabulous Medellin Royal hotel. He converted the remaining value of the $13,000 Passport into cash.
Dunmall’s day job is at the Queen’s bank in London, which isn’t exactly what I pictured for a guy wearing bright orange sunglasses and a bright orange wristwatch. It may not be what Dunmall pictures for himself, either. He’s involved with a side-business. He’s part of the team behind “Find My Mate”, a festival-mapping mobile app that offers festival attendees GPS-mapping locations so that they don’t lose touch with friends at crowded festivals.
Dunmall hopes the app takes off so that he can travel the world more and not be tied to an office in one spot. For now his travel is courtesy of the Main Event passport that he won on PokerStars.
Dunmall brought a female companion with him to in Medellin and plans to meet up tonight with two other friends who are travelling the world. He described his Day 2 as “a yo-yo” so far. Dunmall was a little steamed right when I got to the table because an opponent clocked him after less than two minutes.
That’s what led to the “animosity” question.
“I understand more Spanish than I can speak,” Dunmall confided. “I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t understand any at all. Most people here don’t speak English, so if I didn’t speak Spanish it’d be like a foreigner coming to England. People there might speak slower and louder but they’re not going to speak anything but English.”
Dunmall also admitted that, at times during the tournament, he’s kept his Spanish ability under wraps. Doing so allows him to eavesdrop on what others are saying about him while he sits at the table and perhaps offers him access to information he wouldn’t otherwise receive.
All’s fair in love, war and poker. Dunmall has only a few more eliminations to go before he turns his Main Event passport into LAPT cash.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. He has no “animosidad” for anyone in Medellin.
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