"Joel "StrongPlay" Dodds"
April 21, 2009
We thought we’d take a few moments to get to know a little more about some of the people that make up the PokerNetwork community. Interviewing PokerNetwork'ers sounded like a job for the sick and twisted, but Tim “Luckyshades” Horan put his hand up for the challenge...!
Today I’m chatting with Joel “StrongPlay” Dodds to discuss his recent results, upcoming trip to the WSOP
and his thoughts on the Australian Poker Scene.
Joel is a 25 year old professional poker player specialising in MTTs. Living in Sydney, Joel has racked up a number of online scores – with the highlight being a $26,500 score on Paradise Poker
during the ICOP. Currently ranked #12 in Australia, at the rate he is going it won’t be long before we see “StrongPlay” bursting into the Top 10.
I caught up with Joel during his morning online grind – fortunately it’s well known that Joel only plays KK+ so he wasn’t distracted by too many hands!
Tim – So Joel, how did you get started with poker?
Joel - Uh, like most people, I started watching it on TV and having home games. Wasn’t for about 6 months before I had the nerve to put a few dollars online, and it was plain to see why, as I was a perennial loser. I stuck with it though and moved to live poker afterwards and began to take the game more seriously as my job became more boring, and saw my results improve.
Tim - You have always been a pretty consistent tournament player, but this has been a break out year for you. Is there anything in particular you attribute this to?
Joel - Two things are key:
Volume. Only those of us who can walk on water can expect to succeed in this game without putting in the hours. I have gone from playing some live poker and intermittent online sessions to playing > 50hrs per week online; and the resulting improvement in my game has been quite pleasing.
Immersion amongst like-minds. I have been fortunate enough to become involved with a group of "Internet kids" from Melbourne and Adelaide, the backbone of which being Steve "StevoL" Leonard. This has been a blessing of sorts for me as the amount of information that passes around the group is enormous, one can pretty much learn by osmosis.
Tim - You are off to the World Series this year, what are your thoughts heading over to Vegas, and can we expect to see you in a lot of events?
Joel - I will be playing most of the NLHE events this year including the Main Event. I will probably not play the pro-packed $5k events though - if I wanted tough fields I'd play the $1k's online. I believe there are also a few shootout events that I am very much looking forward to. I have just noticed that the Venetian and Caesars have fairly full schedules as well so it appears there won't be too many days off!
Tim – So Day 1 of the Main Event rolls around, and the seat on your immediate right is still empty one hour into the tournament – which live pro would you love to see take the seat?
Joel – Phil Hellmuth hands down. Chiefly for the entertainment value - I never tire of his antics. Also though he will be able to accumulate chips from the weaker players which he will invariably re-distribute to me!
Tim – Any advice for players just starting out?
Respect your bankroll. I've gone broke before and it sucks worse than anything. Try not to look at bankroll as a restriction, but as training. Not only do you grind out small stuff to get more money in the hope of playing bigger games, you grind out small stuff so that when you get to the bigger games you can actually do ok and don’t find yourself instantly back in the small games again.
Game select the hell out of it. Don’t just play because a particular game is on - play where you can get the most out of the game. For some that may be enjoyment, but for most looking to take the game seriously that should always be money.
Tim – Ok, well I can see you have about 15 tables up and you are bound to pick up Aces or Kings soon, so I’ll finish up by asking if you were sentenced to jail for 12 months, which Aussie poker player would you most like to have as your cellmate?
Joel – Scott “Punty” Smith … I’m sure the why is self-explanatory.
Tim - Locked in a cell for 23 hours a day with the sexy beast they call Punty … hardly seems like a punishment at all!