Already missing the Bahamas
For the fourth time in the last five years, January gave me the chance to live ten dream days in Paradise Island, Bahamas. That's because PokerStars keeps picking this dream location to start the calendar year of poker in a place where, besides the vacation environment, players can find 40 tourneys of all kinds. It was also the place where I saw a young man's dream come true.
This year's PCA attracted poker's monsters, world sports stars, and a huge crowd of amateur players. It's clear, poker is alive and well.
Of course, there were the big names Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel, Olympian Michael Phelps and many more. Their reputation makes for good TV ratings and helps grow the game. They are world stars, so they have a global impact and are perfect examples of how the game can make you a legend.
All of that aside, it's time to talk about what makes poker a magic game. On the same island, in the same hotel, at the same tournament, or on the same table, you can find this constellation of stars and young amateurs playing together. It's a simple model... play online satellites, be one of the best, and win a package that includes tournament entry, plane trip, hotel, and expenses. This is the formula to put idols and fans face to face.
For many amateur players, this is already a huge experience, but some others manage to swim even deeper in this sharks' sea. The best example was the fairytale of the Portuguese player João Nogueira.
João started his PCA trip in a $1 satellite where he qualified to a $10 qualifier where he shined once again to win the coveted passport to the Bahamas.
This was already a perfect story for an inexperienced player, but the it became even more unbelievable when João went on to finish in 8th place for $165,000.
These are the reasons that make me want to say: long live Negreanu and friends, welcome Mister Olympics Michael Phelps, and bring on more fairytales like the one João Nogueira lived.
João Nunes is a member of Team PokerStars Pro