John Dolan enters the November Nine second in chips with 46,250,000. Dolan is a 24-year-old online poker pro from Fort Myers, Florida. Against his family’s advice, Dolan left college at Florida State after two years to pursue poker. Things didn’t go well at first, and Dolan was forced to take on various jobs to make a living. In 2007, he took a position as a poker dealer, which reignited his love of the game. Around the same time, Dolan began to find success online.
In an interview with ESPN.com, Dolan revealed his start in online poker: "It was probably more success than I deserved. At the time I was just playing. I was extremely young, very naive about poker. I feel I have a lifetime of knowledge compared to what I had back then. I ran through a bunch of money, ran it back up a couple times, and I don't think I was learning much more, I was just playing. I was down-swinging, taking shots, uneducated about bankroll management, and ended up, through a friend that I played high school baseball with, meeting with Brian "SNo0oWMAN" Hawkins who was having a sick year and … he ended up backing me. It was blind luck and perfect timing. He started helping me and that's when I started to learn and become a student of the game.”
Obviously, Dolan’s decision to leave college will pay off financially because of his deep run in the Main Event, but he was doing fairly well even before the WSOP. Aside from doing well online, Dolan notched some impressive live results, the biggest coming from a victory in a $1,000 buy-in event at the 2009 Winter Bayou Poker Challenge good for $31,874.
How He Got There
Dolan began Day 8 of the Main Event in 24th chip position out of the remaining 27 players. By the end of the day, Dolan had somehow emerged as one of the chip leaders. How did he do it?
He started with a double-up through Michiel Sijpkens, which granted him a short reprieve. This would not be the last Dolan would see of Sijpkens. Later on in Day 8, Sijpkens was on the button and raised to 480,000 with the . John Dolan looked down at and just called from the small blind. The flop came , giving Dolan a flopped full house. Both players checked as the fell on the turn. Dolan bet 525,000, and Sijpkens called with his Broadway straight draw. The on the river gave Sijpkens the straight, and he raised Dolan’s 1.1 million bet to 2.6 million. Dolan moved all-in for 860,000 more, and Sijpkens called. Dolan doubled on the hand to 8.45 million, his second through Sijpkens.
As the eliminations mounted, Dolan continued to add to his stack. He eliminated Duy Le in 13th place and brought his stack up to over 20 million. When action was down to just ten players and on the final table bubble, Dolan kicked things into high gear. The bubble lasted more than six hours, and Dolan was not afraid to use it to his advantage. In fact, in just a 30-minute time frame, Dolan managed to increase his stack from 22 million to 45 million without so much as a showdown!
What to Watch For
Dolan will be seated in Seat 3, with Joseph Cheong (23,525,000) to his right and chip leader Jonathan Duhamel (65,975,000) to his left. In poker, having the big stack seated on the left is not a good thing. It is always a concern to have someone act behind who has the chips to bust you. To make matters worse, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is seated to Duhamel’s left, which allows two tough opponents to act after Dolan. On the flip side, Dolan will have the opportunity to slow play some hands against the chip leader and the pro, which could prove to be extremely useful given the right run of cards.
The good news is that Dolan is not likely to panic. He has exhibited a great deal of self-control throughout the last stages of the tournament, plus he has a propensity to be ultra-aggressive in a quiet, unassuming manner. "I feel like [not letting the moment hit me is] real crucial in poker, and it's the way I play my best at all times," he said. "I almost separate emotion from every aspect in poker, and I try not to get too emotional, no matter what tournament I'm playing or how deep I get. I'm not saying I'm immune to it, but it's what I go for and it's how I play better."