2009 PCA: Of all the tables in all the room, he sits down at mine
It's day 1A at the PCA and the tournament officials have told us that 660 players stumped up the $10,000 for a shot at the big time. These days, that's small-fry for the likes of Ylon Schwartz, the PokerStars Million Dollar Man who cruised to fourth in the World Series Main Event this summer (and autumn) and earned $3.8m for his troubles.
It's also a fairly small drop in the ocean of Scott Montgomery, another player who extended their summer foray to Las Vegas into the final table shebang in November. He took $3.1m for fifth place, staring across the same felt as Schwartz for several hours at the Penn and Teller Theater as they went to battle for those vast amounts.
Flash forward a couple of months to the Bahamas and Schwartz and Montgomery have renewed their acquaintance around the same day one table. There were more than 60 tables at the start of the day and they wound up right opposite one another again.
Both made comfortable starts, pushing their stacks up around the 25,000 mark. But that's before the good got way better for Schwartz. Looking at a flop of Kc-3d-9h, Schwartz's opponent bet 2,000, to which the Million Dollar Man added another 3,000 on the button. Call. The 6h turned and both players checked. Then the 8c came on the river and the original bettor fired 7,500 at it, prompting Schwartz to move all in for another 17,500. Think, think, call. Schwartz showed his pocket kings for the flopped set and he's now north of 50,000.
On a neighbouring table, there was a familiar Canadian chirp coming from the mouth of the Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. "What do I think of my table?" he said. "None of them are going to make it through the day. They're all totally nuts online guys who play like they're crazy."
This, of course, was part mimicry of a another well-known live-action professional, and part tongue-in-cheek gibing at the stacked talents around him. One of them is indeed an "online guy" whose playing style might on occasion be described as "totally nuts". But few could doubt that there is a ruthless and effective method behind this particular online guy's madness: it's Chris Moorman, the British player better known as Moorman1 when he's rocketing to the top of all the online ranking ladders.
Negreanu and Moorman have kept out of one another's way to date, but we fully expect that to change in the levels to come.
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The Team PokerStars Pro, and former winner here on Paradise Island, Steve Paul-Ambrose is out. All the money went in on the turn when the board showed J-4-Q | A. Paul-Ambrose had A-Q for two pair, but his opponent had J-J for a flopped set. That was that.