PCA 2012: Forced out

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgLeif Force has been eliminated from the poker tournament, and we're going to make an example of him.

As of this very moment, we've reached the point at which only ten percent of the starting field remains. This milestone represents some nine hundred eliminations since we started this affair on Saturday. A majority of those bustouts were not much to see. The first 840 or so people who exited did so without fanfare or pomp. Now that the bubble has popped, however, there is pomp, circumstance, and a process.

Now, if you are anything like me, you don't know what it feels like to bust out of a major poker tournament in the money. If that is indeed the case, you might be interested to know how the procedure works.

To illustrate the protocol, we enlisted the help of one Leif Force. You might remember him from the WSOP several year ago. In 2006, he went from broke to millionaire in a week. Today, he's made the money of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for the first time. That's the good news. The bad news is to take part in our little poker procedural, he had to get eliminated.

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Rivered

That's what it looked like. It's the face of a man who has just been rivered. After playing more than 15 hours of poker, it's over for a small cash. This is the point that almost anybody wants to run to their happy place and cry into a pillow. Stronger men take a shot of whiskey and bite down on a piece of leather. Major tournament cashers have to wait right there in front of everybody. They have to stand quivering in front of whoever took their chips. It's humiliating if you really think about it. It is perhaps poker's greatest indignity, or a close second to losing a hand to Phil Hellmuth. But you have to stand there and wait. Otherwise, you're not going to get paid.

Rescue comes in the form of Rick Landry. You might know him from Mohegan Sun, but we're not sure Leif does. It doesn't matter, because it's Landry who comes to escort Leif away, and that's all that's important. It's not a happy time, and it is up to Landry to handle the moment with poise. He could double as a funeral director when he says something akin to "I'm very sorry for your loss. I know how difficult this time must be for you. This may be the worst day of your life, but unfortunately it's also a day in which we have to do a lot of paperwork. Please come with me."

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Landry consoles Force

It is Landry's job to escort Force across the room to an area under guard by a member of the crack Atlantis security team. Behind this guard are two tables staffed by experienced cashiers, kindly old souls who have the caring eyes of a grandmother and grandfather. The conversation here is quiet, but important. Leif and all who come after him have to produce identification (passports are the most common in these parts). After that, they get the speech. It explains how much money they can get in chips, how much money will need to be transferred to their PokerStars account, and a quiet appeal to leave a little something extra for the hardworking staff. When this is done, a signature is required, a receipt appears, and casino chips appear on the table.

That's when the reality sets in. In the six stages of poker grief, this is the acceptance period. By putting his hands around those chips and putting them in his pocket, Leif has finally come to literal grips with the fact he is done.

And so all that's left to do is walk the long walk, past the humiliating dolphin fountain, past the next humiliating dolphin fountain (those dolphins are just so smug), through the Coral Tower Lobby, past all the expensive shops, and into the casino to turn the chips into cash.

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The long walk

It's only then that Leif and his ilk can go to their rooms, weep the tears of a fallen giant, and roll around in their money.

By the time you read this, Leif Force will have been long gone, and hopefully realized that having an extra few thousand bucks in his pocket isn't so bad, after all.