2009 PCA: The online invasion

In many respects covering a huge poker tournament, both in terms of field size and prestige, is markedly easier than dealing with a smaller event. Although it's easy to be daunted by the mammoth line-up and long, long hours, one does not have to travel too far to find a story. And that's good for the shoe leather.

"I'm looking for some of the young online superstar players," said a friend a moment ago. He is the editor of a UK-based poker magazine and he was seeking to put faces to the names he reads about on the poker forums and in the results lists.

We didn't even have to move. "There's Danny Ryan," I said, pointing to the table immediately in front of where we stood. "He's THE_D_RY. And over there is apestyles, or Jon Van Fleet." That was one table behind.

Danny Ryan

Jon Van Fleet

A few paces across the room and there was John "PearlJammer" Turner. Behind him was a table featuring Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke and Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb. One step in the other direction was Adam "ajunglen" Junglen. We hadn't even covered half the tables.

Jimmy Fricke (seat one) and Shaun Deeb (seat four)

None of these players are much north of 25-years-old and most are significantly younger. We can safely expect a sizeable handful of the ever-growing crop of online professionals to go very deep into the money here, and few would bet against an all-out victory.

After all, there are rumours that ElkY had played the odd hand of online poker before his success here last year.