2008 PCA: Day 1B Rail Report

The rail at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is a cultural experience. In just a few minutes, I met women from Holland, Germany and the United States. They're all here supporting players in Day 1B of the PCA, and they all have a story to tell.

Melissa Rivera is rooting for her boyfriend of three years, Sean Timney, a professional poker player living in Raleigh, North Carolina. You might know him by his PokerStars screen name, lyerly_. Timney won a World Championship of Online Poker bracelet in 2007. He took home $76,540 in Event #20, a $530 Triple Shootout.

Melissa Rivera says she talked to Sean at the last break, and he said he was getting bad cards. Rivera says this is Timney's first big live tournament. He was an attorney before he decided to make a run at being a poker pro. He plays mostly online.


The view from the rail

Marloes Versloot is a law student from the Netherlands. She is here to support her boyfriend, Pieter Van Gils. He is a student as well, trying to earn a Masters degree in Health Care Management at Rotterdam. Both are on a break from school.

Van Gils won a seat here through a PokerStars PCA Steps tournament. He's mostly an online player. He recently played a small live tournament in the Netherlands, but his girlfriend says the PCA is his first big live event.

At the last break, Van Gils told his girlfriend he was card dead and wasn't doing very well today. They're still having a great vacation from school, though. They've both played in some SNGs, they've seen the aquariums here at Atlantis, and they've had some really nice dinners. As long as her boyfriend's still in the tournament, you will likely find Marloes Versloot on the rail, reading a fascinating book.

Beate Bretschneider is people-watching from the rail. Beate and her husband Uwe work in banks in Germany. When they left home, it was bitterly cold, and the weather here, although not as good as it could be, is a welcome change.

Beate says this is the first live tournament for Uwe and their first trip to the Bahamas. Uwe won his seat into the PCA. At home, poker is his hobby, and his wife says he plays about three times a week. So far, that hobby has served him well. Even if he doesn't make the money here, the Bretschneiders have still gotten a much-needed break from winter in their home country. Beate seems excited to have a chance to meet new people and experience all the excitement surrounding a tournament like this one.

Kristen Roberts is a civil engineer in the Los Angeles area. She's on the very first paid vacation of her entire life. I found her on the rail, looking relaxed with her flip flops off and her legs crossed in her chair. Getting here wasn't so relaxing, however. She and her boyfriend missed their connecting flight and got stranded in Philadelphia. They didn't get here until noon yesterday, and then they had to sleep off the jet lag.

Luck is on their side, though. Kristen's boyfriend, a guy named Gavin Griffin (you might have heard of him) was scheduled to play in flight B, so they still had time to relax a bit before he had to take his place at the tables. At the last break, Gavin told Kristen things were going pretty well. He had about 115,000 in chips.

Kristen is a very dedicated supporter. She says Gavin has told her to go out and enjoy herself while he plays, but she prefers to find a comfy spot on the rail. She was with him when he won the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Kristen says she was on the rail for all but one level. Even though she says Gavin is not superstitious, she is. She plans to keep her spot here at the PCA as well, just in case. Kristen admits it's a little harder to resist the pull of the waves here in the Bahamas.

Photo © Neil Stoddart