2009 PCA: Post useless without photos
In the fictional poker award ceremony just invented in my head, the winner of the "Best Dressed Man in Poker" for the past 15 years has been Thomas Kremser, tournament director of the EPT.
It's really been a walkover for the Austrian TD. Ever since he first came to public consciousness as the man presiding over Late Night Poker on Channel Four in Great Britain, Kremser has been synonymous with two things. Firstly, his impeccable tournament direction: Kremser issues rulings that are invariably considered, firm and fair, and there are diamond-encrusted watches produced by Rolex that run less smoothly than a Kremser poker tournament.
Secondly, his dress sense. Kremser has the finest tailor in Europe and his wardrobe is full to bursting of hundreds of perfectly pressed suits, with silk ties, handkerchiefs and shirts to complete a consistently flawless appearance. His shoes are not actually made from mirrors, but the shine from them serves the same purpose. He is the very picture of sartorial excellence.
Thomas Kremser, in his natural habitat
Kremser is in the Bahamas this week, but there's a difference. A big difference. Here, Kremser is a player: he's taking a well-earned break from tournament direction and has instead joined the assembled ranks around the tables, vying for a shot at the big time.
And when you're a player rather than a tournament director, the rules change over your appearance as well. This, folks, is Thomas Kremser poker player. It's nothing we have ever seen before.
Thomas Kremser, poker player
"I'm relaxed," he told me at the start of play. "I'm looking forward to it." Kremser has also been joining the players in their predilection for prop bets. His assistant tournament director on the EPT is the equally well-attired Gerard Serra, a native of Catalonia and a passionate supporter of Barcelona FC.
For the non-soccer fan, it's important to know just how hostile is the rivalry between Barcelona and their arch nemeses Real Madrid in Spain. It's Red Sox versus Yankees and then some: no friendly joshing this, it's all out hatred.
Serra won't even wear white shirts as that's the colour that Real Madrid play in. He sometimes asks hotels to change the towels in his room because their whiteness reminds him of Real.
Kremser has, however, sealed a prop bet with Serra that should he make the final table of the PCA, Serra will fly here from Spain and rail the final nine wearing a Real Madrid shirt emblazoned with the name of Luis Figo, the most hated man in Catalonia after he was traded to Madrid from Barcelona.
It's all happy enough at the moment, but this could get ugly. Not usually a word associated with Kremser.