PCA 2012: High rollers finding things to do


When you first look at the high roller field you might make a couple of assumptions. The first that most players seem to have something else they need to be doing. The second how it's funny that high rollers tend to dress like young boys who a few years ago used to deliver your newspaper every morning.

Dan Shak is mid-massage, the therapist using everything she has to force the strain from Shak, from her hands to her knees, one of which she holds against his spine. The effects of this are two-fold. First, it gets to those hard to reach places obscured by inconvenient bone. Second, it stops Shak from getting up and leaving his table to attend to a laptop computer he has stored on the rail.

It's here that he spent most of the first level, talking via an ear-piece about "buying" and "selling". I think he's gambling, but I suppose it's conceivable he's just keen on eBay.

Shak, who finished second to Viktor Blom in the Super High Roller, collecting $1.25 million, is at a table full of young kids, the former paperboys in caps and hooded tops, who talk amongst themselves while Shak, who has brought his office with him, examines something on his iPad which he keeps in a big black holdall by his feet, which is about a foot thick.

Shak isn't the only player with something else to do. Kevin MacPhee is flanked by Daniel O'Brien and Roger Tondeur, each of them slouches back in their chair typing things into a device of some kind.

Ludovic Lacay arrives, sans gadgets and appearing to be in no rush. He wears shorts and deck shoes, carrying a ticket in one hand and a white plastic bag in the others. On the ticket is his seating assignment, at a table currently featuring only two other players. In the bag is a bottle of water that costs $6 from the hotel sundries shop.

While Lacay filled out forms and waited for some more players to start playing with, Blom was facing questions from Bill Perkins at his table about a hand he played a few days ago.

Bill Perkins

Blom is happy to answer, and plays with a ready grin, showing his teeth. But his voice remains one-pitched, almost inflectionless, like he's hiding the fact that he knows a joke.

Over on table 11 the floor has been called by the dealer who sports a Butcher Bill moustache. He explained what had taken place and then Chino Rheem did the same. A ruling was made about which everyone was up in arms about.

The floor man thought it wise to go through everything again, Rheem essentially questioning the action of the player next to him who had raised after taking chips back, placing them back among his chips before taking a minute or so to re-act, so to speak. Everyone was happy eventually, although Rheem questioned it once more, always courteous mind, addressing his opponent as "the gentleman".

The three players at Ludovic Lacay's table are now six, with Sam Stein and Bryn Kenney now filling out forms. Jason Mercier has also arrived, sitting a table along. We're up to 124 players and it's a purely All-Star field.