British pro earns first bracelet and $173,528
Las Vegas, NV (June 13, 2018)
- Ben Dobson made the long trek from England to Las Vegas to spend another summer grinding tournaments at the World Series of Poker.
The 29-year-old poker pro from Liverpool plays mostly no-limit hold’em events, but showed he is no slouch in other games by taking down the $1,500 seven-card stud hi-lo event on Thursday afternoon.
In what was an unscheduled fourth day of play, Dobson defeated Tim Finne heads-up to top the 596-entry field and earned $173,528 along with his first WSOP bracelet.
“[I’m] Absolutely on top of the world,” said Dobson after his win. “Stud 8 is probably my favorite game, actually, of poker and it’s one that I don’t get to play a lot. I only get to play it a few times a year, but I really enjoy it.”
The fourth day of the event saw Dobson return with a sizable chip lead over Finne and two-time bracelet winner Jesse Martin, who finished third. The added pressure of a large chip lead combined with the talent level of the second and third-place finishers made the experience more of a relief than pure joy.
“Part of it is just a huge relief because I had a huge chip lead basically through Day 2 and Day 3 and coming into today,” said Dobson. “So, I kind of had high expectations for myself, but it was also really tough because Timothy and Jesse, they are probably better than me at stud 8, so I felt like I was a bit of an underdog. I managed to hold my own and ran good in some of the crucial pots. Luck was on my side for sure.”
Even though Dobson enjoys stud hi-lo and other mixed games, the games aren’t spread very often in his home country of England. His only real opportunities to play mixed game tournaments throughout the year are during the WSOP.
“Most of the year, I play no-limit hold’em tournaments,” said Dobson. “I really enjoy playing the mixed games. There is not a whole lot of it in Europe. I play a little bit during the online series and I study a bit, but other than that I mainly just play them at the World Series and the big online series. So, I’m not the biggest expert at stud 8, but I really enjoy the format.”
Just the experience of playing at the final table with several guys that Dobson admitted were more talented allowed him to learn some new concepts and get a better grasp of the games.
“I feel like I’ve even learned just playing this tournament, especially with such good players,” said Dobson. “Just watching these guys play, It’s really good.”
The $173,528 is Dobson’s biggest career cash. With nearly $100,000 separating third and first-place, Dobson did his best to focus on the process, rather than the result.
“It [weighed on me] a little bit last night when I was thinking about it in bed,” said Dobson. “I’m trying to just play each hand individually, focus on the cards and then let the money, just try to ignore it. It’s just kind of hard when the screen is right there … I was just trying to focus on the cards and just try to play my game. If you’re too obsessed with trying to win every pot, it can backfire in this game badly … Then think about how good the money is afterwards.”
Of the 596 entries in the event, there were 23 who survived to Wednesday’s scheduled final day. After getting cards in the air at 2 p.m., they trimmed it down to the unofficial final table of nine about four hours into the day.
PJ Cha busted in ninth place, leaving the final eight players at the final table and guaranteed a cash of at least $15,271.
Peter Brownstein took home that $15,271 after finishing in ninth place. He busted to Richard Monroe when he got all in on fifth street with a pair of sixes, a low draw and a straight draw against Monroe’s trip kings. Brownstein finished the hand with two pair and no qualifying low. Monroe made kings full for good measure and eliminated Brownstein.
Georgios Sotiropoulos was the next to go and was also eliminated by Monroe. He got all in on sixth street with kings and sixes but was dead for half against Monroe’s nine-high straight and seven-low. Sotiropoulos couldn’t improve to a full house to stay alive and was gone in seventh.
Sotiropoulos’ elimination basically finished the level, which sent the final six players on dinner break.
They returned from break and James Nelson was the next to go. He got into a three-way pot with Monroe and Dobson. They got all in on fifth street, and Monroe and Dobson continued to bet all the way down. Monroe tabled kings up, Dobson showed a seven-five low, and Nelson was eliminated after tabling an eight-low and a pair of jacks.
They finished out the rest of the level and Tom McCormick was eliminated in fifth at the outset of the next one.
Just like most of the eliminations, Monroe was involved. McCormick was down to less than a big bet and committed all of it on third street after he brought it in with the . Monroe tabled buried kings, improved to aces up, and McCormick never made a pair or a qualifying low.
He shook hands with everybody and headed off to collect his 72nd career WSOP cash.
Four-handed play was where Martin temporarily took over. He won a monster pot off Monroe and took over the chip lead when he had rolled up deuces and got several streets of betting in. Monroe couldn’t beat it which left him as one of the short stacks and gave Martin a slight lead.
Monroe was short and the next to depart from the final table. He was eliminated by Dobson when they got all in on sixth street with Dobson tabling queens and eights against Monroe’s 10s and fives. Monroe rivered a king and hit the rail in fourth place.
The final three players finished out the level and then one more before they hit the hard stop. With the players so deep into the structure, the limits were getting larger, the stacks were getting shallower and all the pots that got to showdown were crucial.
“When the blinds get so big on Day 3 and today, you know, if you get scooped in two pots, that could be like three-quarters of my stack, even as the chip leader,” said Dobson. “So, while I was playing quite loose on third street, I was making sure that I wasn’t trying to overcommit on fifth, sixth, seventh, like chasing stuff that might cost me a large percentage of my stack.”
Dobson bagged up the chip lead and the final three players returned at 2 p.m. on Thursday to play down to a winner.
Martin was the shortest of the three stacks and about 40 minutes into the day, was eliminated in third at Dobson’s hands.
They got all in on fourth with Martin tabling a pair of aces and Dobson showing four to an eight-low. Dobson didn’t make his low but paired his deuce on fifth and his seventh on sixth street to give him two pair. Martin never improved and left Dobson heads-up with nearly a 3-to-1 chip lead over Finne.
Dobson scooped two pots early in the heads-up battle to extend his lead and then put away the pro from New Jersey. They got all in on fourth street with Finne showing a pair of sevens and three cards to a low against Dobson’s open-ended six-high straight draw.
Dobson made a six-high straight on fifth to leave Finne drawing net to dead. Finne ended up making a seven-low, but it wasn’t good enough, leaving Dobson with the pot and the win.
Now, with a bracelet to his name and some experience battling with some tough stud hi-lo players, poker fans might see Dobson in some bigger events.
“I’m staying here for the whole summer, so I’ll be playing some more events,” said Dobson. “I might try the $10K stud 8. Now I feel confident. I’m probably a loser in that field, but I’ll give it a go.”
Final Table Results:
1st: Benjamin Dobson - $173,528
2nd: Tim Finne - $107,243
3rd: Jesse Martin - $74,324
4th: Richard Monroe - $52,359
5th: Tom McCormick - $37,504
6th: James Nelson - $27,321
7th: Georgios Sotiropoulos - $20,248
8th: Peter Brownstein - $15,271
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