EPT9 Monaco Day 2: Taking care of it with Arlo Dotson
It pays to be confident in poker and it pays to have experience. It pays to know that the game will swing in your favour sometimes, and other times you'll be the one to suffer the beats. The perfect poker player has respect for his opponents, but is not in frozen awe of them. That player is someone like Arlo Dotson, even if you haven't heard much about him yet.
"I've been playing poker for a long time," said Dotson, 34, this morning, grabbing a bottle of water ahead of starting day two of the EPT Monaco main event. "I just know my time will come sooner or later and hopefully it's gonna be today."
Dotson was one of the early chip leaders on Day 1A here in the Salle des Etoiles and bagged up 127,100 chips at the end of those eight levels. But a quick search online through all the regular databases revealed no tournament results beside his name. Indeed, the only time Dotson was mentioned in a poker context was as the bubble boy at the Los Angeles Poker Classic in February this year, when Sam Razavi knocked him out with seven-high.
That was actually one of Dotson's first ever live poker tournaments, and for many players it could have meant an abrupt end to a fledgling career. But Dotson is a veteran of the private cash games in his home town of Houston, TX, which he's been playing for most of his adult life. At the beginning of this year, he decided to give this live tournament game a go, jetting to Europe for the big events on this side of the pond and buying straight in.
"I just started playing tournaments and jumped right in and played a 10K," Dotson said, following it up with a distinctive gravelly chuckle. "I played the EPT in Berlin, no results. I played the main even in London, no results. And I played the main event in Barcelona. My day one here was the best day one I had in any of those events."
Dotson's route to a big stack yesterday went almost without incident, but on one of the rare occasions he was forced to show his cards, he duly accounted for the No1 ranked poker player of 2012.
"The only showdown I had was actually a funny hand," Dotson said. "I three bet a guy on a flop with a jack with just a pair of sevens - Wettenmaier? Rettenmaier? I think's his name - and we get it all in on the turn and he flips up his hand very proudly, and he says, 'I guess I need to hit.' And I thought he said, 'I hit it', so I whispered, I muttered an expletive, thinking he made a straight."
It turned out Marvin Rettenmaier - for it was he - only had a combination draw and missed it. But Dotson still had it in his head that the German had the made hand.
"Even though the flush didn't get there, or the straight, I was like, 'Darn', I thought he made the straight. But my hand held, and everybody got a chuckle out of it because I thought I was beat. And I busted him. And then when he left everyone was like, 'You know that's the number one player in the world, the number one ranked?' I was like, 'Oh I didn't know.'"
Dotson certainly recognises some of the players around his table today. He is playing into first Freddy Deeb, on his immediate left, and then Annette Obrestad, one seat further around. But even though he had noticed with some disappointment the presence of Deeb, one of only 12 players starting the day with more chips than him, Dotson broke the ice before they even reached the tournament room.
"I tell my friend I've got Deeb to my immediate left, the only person who has me covered in chips at the table," Dotson said. "And then we walk out (of the hotel) to catch a cab today and we share a cab with Freddy Deeb. How ironic."
One gets the impression the two talkative Americans, both with an exceptionally easy table manner, might mix it up a fair bit today. Aaron Gustavsson and Max Silver were also around that table at the start of the day, making it the kind of arena you have to get used to if you want to make progress on the tournament scene.
Dotson didn't seem unduly worried. "I'll take care of it," he said.
A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage from the tables in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts.