Jan. 15, 2012, Posted by Jeff.Kimber
One of the worst kept secrets in British poker has finally been revealed with Dave Shallow finally fulfilling his poker potential and landing a major title, taking down the inaugural WPT Dublin.
Shallow, or Dubai as he is known after his online nickname Dubai Millennium (named after the race horse), has long been known to be one of the most talented players around, but it seemed that talent was going to go to waste. Like a potentially great footballer who gets lost in the trappings of fame and sends more time and money on birds and booze than winning trophies (Keith Gillespie anyone?), Shallow looked to have missed the boat as other British players landed the titles and big paydays while he was left behind. To continue the football parallel, as younger players came through and surpassed Dubai’s limited success in the live area, the likes of Toby Lewis, Jake Cody and Rupert Elder, it looked like Shallow’s Premiership days were behind him and he’d missed his chance of the big time. However, be it a change of circumstances – Shallow is about to become a father for the first time – or perhaps the inspiration of his best mate James Dempsey, who landed a WPT title of his own just before Christmas, the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio, or perhaps just variance –he would win one sooner or later if he played enough – Shallow is now a WPT winner.
Dubai was one of the first big online winners to emerge when Internet poker first became big in the UK six or seven years ago. Playing predominantly on Betfair, Dubai was a huge winner playing heads-up cash games at the highest possible level, and as quick as he won the money he’d spend it on lavish nights out, the best tables at the best clubs with the best looking women. I’ve seen Dubai move all-in blind 10 hands in a row blind in a rebuy tournament, three-bet the same guy five hands in a row in the first orbit of a GUKPT, and when the opponent got fed up with it and four-bet him, he just moved all-in, but these periods of flair generally didn’t equate to making day two – a lot of the time not even level two – never mind making finals and winning titles.
Fast forward through a number of years of unfulfilled potential, and the 2012 version of Dubai seem a more mature model. He still has the raw talent, the ability to put players to the ultimate decision at all times, and the sheer gamble that only fearless players have. If there was any doubt about that, the five-bet all-in with K3 heads-up against Chaz Chattha in the WPT final showed that he still has it. Coupled with that though, he seems to have matured, to have learned to slow down when things aren’t going well, to pick and choose his moments and ultimately to turn natural talent into money in the bank.
What Dubai’s victory also shows, if there was any doubt, is the sheer strength in depth of British poker right now. The fact that noone’s particularly surprised that he’s landed a major title, that everyone generally agrees he’s good enough and worthy of winning one underlines the amount of top tier players there are in the UK. Off the top of my head I can think of 20 or so players who have already won a major – a WSOP, WPT or EPT – and another 40 or 50 that could be next for success.
Just before Christmas, there was a period of a few days that showed why British poker is now so highly regarded. While Triple Crown winner Jake Cody was carving through the GUKPT Grand Final final table in London (before ultimately coming second for £115k), John Eames and Roberto Romanello were chopping the €2k EPT Prague side event for over €100k each, while James Dempsey was on his way to claiming his WPT title and $815k.
All across the world British players are proving themselves among the very best, and with players as good as Chris Moorman, James Akenhead, John Eames and Ash Mason yet to win one of the big three, perhaps the best is yet to come.
Jeff Kimber is a 36-year-old Grosvenor Casino sponsored professional poker player who has amassed well over $1.5million in career earnings, having given up a successful career as a sports journalist to forge a career at the poker tables. He has won the World Heads-up championship and a UK Poker Tour main event, as well as major final tables in $5,000-plus buy-in events at WPT and Asian Poker Tour events, the Ladbrokes Poker Cruise and the Johnny Chan Invitational in the Caribbean. Jeff has made three WSOP final tables, all in PLO events, including a second place to JC Tran in 2009. While his live exploits have continued, Jeff is still a very successful online player under the nickname JaffaCake, uncluding winning iPoker’s ECOOP $1k PLO rebuy in December 2008 for close to $50k.