Oddschecker Competition Winner Chris Dotson Living His Poker Dream
Earlier this summer, 35-year-old Chris Dotson, a boiler operator from New Jersey, won a competition hosted by PokerNews’ sister company, Oddschecker. Today, he’ll live his poker dream of playing in poker’s premier event.
Dotson flew cross country last night and immediately headed to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to register. While there, he got to meet 2003 WSOP champ Chris Moneymaker and was interviewed by Joey Ingram on PokerNews social media channels. It’s been a whirlwind experience even before he fired the tournament, and believe it or not it almost didn’t happen.
“I saw a tweet from PokerNews mentioning the giveaway, clicked through the article and decided not to bother,” Dotson revealed. “Then a couple of hours later I saw the tweet again, figured what the heck, and filled out the giveaway. I’m sure glad I changed my mind.”
A World of Experience
Dotson grew up with two younger brothers, sons of a father in the Air Force. As such, they moved a lot and lived in locales such as Hawaii, Japan, and New Zealand.
“I moved back to the USA from New Zealand, and the family continued on to Australia, where my mom and youngest brother are still living,” said Dotson. “The old man is retired now, working as a contractor for the Air Force up in Alaska.”
"I guess I first learned to play poker while living in New Zealand, but never really played much until moving back to New Jersey."
For Dotson, he entered the workforce straight out of high school and is on a career trajectory to become an operating engineer. As for his love of poker, the seed was planted half a world away from the bright lights of Las Vegas.
“I guess I first learned to play poker while living in New Zealand, but never really played much until moving back to New Jersey,” said Dotson, who also revealed he’s a big fan of video games, board games, and escape rooms. “I then started playing tournaments in my local poker league and would play a bit online. That’s when I started taking things more seriously and progressed to taking trips to Atlantic City to play in the local casinos.”
Eyes on Vegas
Dotson first visited Las Vegas for the WSOP back in the mid-2000s, though back then it was just as a fan and to meet friends from the Full Contact Poker (FCP) forums. It wasn’t until 2014 that he fired a trio of bracelet events, all no-limit hold’em at the $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500 price points. Until today, those marked the biggest buy-ins he’s ever played.
“I’ve never played the Main Event,” he said. “It has always been a dream. This will be my first time, I’m so excited.”
When asked about his proudest poker accomplishment to date, Dotson thought for a bit before answering.
“Not really sure what my proudest accomplishment would be,” he said. “I would probably say finishing runner-up in the poker league end-of-year finals, but no one remembers second place.”
Dotson often roots for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Heat, and Team USA, and when it comes to poker he has some favorites.
“This is a hard question to answer, I certainly have a bunch of players I could pick as a favorite,” he responded when asked about his favorite poker player. “Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, but if I had to choose one it would probably be John Racener.”
Interestingly, Racener is also in action on Day 1c meaning there's a chance Dotson will get to square off against his favorite poker pro.