PCA 2012: David Labchuk's secret

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg"Don't repeat that. Don't tell anybody."

David Labchuk is alone at a table There are stacks of chips and television release forms all over the table, but Labchuk is otherwise alone until I arrive. He hadn't arrived too early, but he didn't do what everybody else seems to do, which is, of course, show up very late. Still his on-time arrival makes him stand out in the middle of the sea of tables.

Perhaps it's because I'm the first person outside of his friend Ashley (she's now appeared on the rail) to acknowledge him, perhaps it's just that I asked the question that Labchuk decides to tell me the secret. It's up to me to decide if I will keep quiet.

If you're not aware, Lubchuk's entry to the 2012 PCA $25,000 High Roller event cost him $530. Here's why: a few months ago, he played a $530 event open only to Canadians. It was called the Canada Cup, and when he made the final table, it earned him a trip to play out the final table live here in the Bahamas.

All well and good to this point, right? Well, it gets better.

Labchuk won the Canada Cup, which earned him more than $40,000. Still, it gets better. The first prize included a $25,000 ticket to today's High Roller. It is the most expensive poker tournament the man from Calgary has ever played.

"I've tried to think about this the least I could, because it was starting to make me a little nervous," Labchuk admitted.

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Canada Cup winner David Labchuk in the $25,000 High Roller (with his friend Ashley on the rail)

Labchuk is no professional poker player. He spends his days as a chiropractor and plays cards in his spare time. Unlike most players in today's $25,000 tournament, Labchuk is treating this trip like a vacation instead of a day at work.

"We cruised around Nassau a little bit. We went down some water slides. We hung out at the beach," he said.

Meanwhile, almost everybody else in the event is grinding in hopes of making up their buy-in and turn this trip into a winner. That's where Labchuk's secret comes into play.

"The bubble will be more significant than any other tournament, just because zero to $50,000 is quite a jump," he said.

Make no mistake. Labchuk is no nit, nor is he the kind of guy who hopes to turtle his way to a min-cash. But this is obviously quite different.

"Normally I don't worry about the bubble at all, but this one will be hard for me to ignore," he said. "I might tighten up a lot for that."

And that is his secret. But frankly, it's no real secret. Labchuk stands out like a sore thumb in this crowd, and he knows it. The only thing that would surprise everybody is if he wasn't affected by the bubble.

And so we have a little laugh about "the secret" and then another one about Labchuk's love for the Atlantis water sides. But really, it's time for me to go, because today Labchuk is playing with the big dogs, and he needs to concentrate. Meanwhile, I have secrets to tell.