2009 PCA: FPP value

By now, it should be established that PokerStars Frequent Player Points are worth something. VIP Club members have bought cars, trips, horses, and in one case, a nice house. This is not to mention the countless other goods and services that can be purchased in the FPP Store.

[As an aside, we would be remiss not to point out that the PokerStars FPP Store has gone brick and mortar at the PCA. On the walk into the tourney room, PokerStars players can literally walk in, feel the goods, and browse an honest-to-goodness FPP Store. I'm waiting for the day the PokerStars opens up a place on Rodeo Drive.]

Two of the people playing in Day 1B have turned Frequent Player Points into a lifestyle. Brandon Schaefer and Bernard Lee managed to convert their FPPs into years of professional poker playing and travel.

Schaefer, a Washington state native, had planned in 2005 to go the EPT French Open in Deauville with his buddy Carl "colson10" Olson. The idea was Schaefer would just tag along and have some fun. Just before it was time to leave, Schaefer won an FPP satellite to the main event.

Olson (left) and Schaefer in 2005

A few days later, in a story that would seem silly if it weren't 100% true, Olson and Schaefer got heads up for the title. Schaefer came out with the victory and a seat to the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Just a month later, Schaefer went to the Grand Final and came second place to Rob Hollink. Between the two events, Schaefer won more than half a million euros. His life since has been a non-stop trip around the world.

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Bernard Lee made his bones at the World Series Main Event. An FPP freeroller in the main event, Lee made a Cinderella run to the final two tables. His 13th place finish earned him $400,000.

Lee with Norman Chad at the 2005 WSOP

Since then, Lee has won another million bucks playing poker, turned into a well-known poker columnist and radio host, and has recently penned two poker books.

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Now, both guys are sitting within a few feet of each other on Day 1B. If you ever questioned how valuable your FPPs are, you should meet these guys. You'd probably be a Supernova Elite by the end of the year.