2008 PCA: Rumble on the horizon

In southwest Missouri, many miles and a lifetime away, storms from the Kansas plains introduce themselves well in advance of their arrival. Distant flashes of light pop on the horizon, slow rumbles roll across the Ozark Mountains, and urgent winds carry the smell of giant raindrops. It's impossible to ignore the midwest thunderstorms.

I bring it up only because it's the one frame of reference I have for the impending start of such a big event.

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With just minutes to go to before the start of Day 1A at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, there are certain indicators that were about to see something big, something record-breaking here at Atlantis. More than 600 seats surround more than 60 tables in a well-appointed, but cavernous poker room. Each seat will be awarded eight green, eight black, four purple, seven yellow, and two blue chips. In total, the players in those seats will have 20,000 in starting chips.

The storm, however, is not so much in the sitting as what will happen over the next nine hours. While the stacks are as deep as anybody could want, the battle to make it to day's end will be more than your average storm. Some of the people in this room will take shelter and let their giant starting stack protect them. Other players will climb to the top of their stacks, face the lightning and driving rain, and challenge anyone to smite them. I'm not big on using the word 'epic' as it applies to poker, but if I were going to, this would be a good start.

By the time the poker room closed at 4am this morning, a $500 rebuy super satellite had awarded 24 seats to the main event. While that event played out, the huge cash games rose up from the carpet. If it's any indication how big the games were, the tables featured Barry Greenstein, Victor Ramdin, Dario Minieri, and Thomas Walhroos.

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One of the many sharks at Atlantis this week


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And some of the fish


Now, there is no more waiting for the storm to arrive.

The 2008 PCA is here and only one will survive.

All photos © Neil Stoddart