PCA: After sundown

An odd feature of a Bahamas January is the sunlight waning before you expect it. The paradise sun seems to promise to be around forever, convincing you that it will only fall when your body is too tired to enjoy the daylight any more. And yet, as the Bahamas sits right in the middle of Eastern Time, the sun falls as it would in any other wintertime town. It can be surprising for people to feel the cool night air on their sunburned skin.

I only bring it up because none of the players who still remain in Flight A have seen the sun since breakfast and now the sun is once again gone. Such deception by the big star in the sky would warrant ill-feelings if the sun weren't so welcoming during the day.

Somehow, it's made me think of Isabelle Mercier (by a raise of hands, how many people saw that coming?).

After the dinner break, I spent a few minutes around her table. The four-seat had opened up and offered a different view. What I saw, within just a matter of seconds was the two different Isabelles--the one who will lure you into a pot, and the one who will eat you (and your chips) for an after-dinner snack.

The warmth of a Bahamas day

The chill of poker playing night

Afraid of seeming partial, I moved on to the outer reaches of the room, where the rail had started to grow thick with looky-loos and railbirds. What's happening on the tables is second-nature to the players, but is intoxicating to people who have never competed for so much money. The stream of curiosity is running like whitewater and it's fun to get caught up in it.

An ever-thickening rail

And so again I traveled on, looking for poker faces. The light in the room is low and picture-taking--especially close-up shots that show a true poker face--is nearly impossible for an amateur like me. Nonetheless, a young gun and a veteran offered a couple of opportunities I enjoyed.

Jason Strasser

Hoyt Corkins

Now, we're coming up on the end of Flight A. Soon, we will do it all again. Here in just a while, we'll get to chip-counting and report on the day's results as soon as we have everything compiled.

Until then, enjoy the night.