PCA 2012: Looking like champions
When we left last night the final table area was a mass of dislodged chairs, empty drink cups and the debris of a memorable final table. Today it's back to being a spotless amphitheatre, beautifully lit, neat and orderly. No half empty bottles of Hennessy here.
The same goes for the players, neatly washed and pressed for the day ahead, with the reward at the end of it a first prize of $1,134,930 and a shot at making that party before the free bar closes. This is the last day of the PCA and most want to see it out in style.
Talking of style, Isaac Haxton looks like he always does, a bit like a rock star since he chopped his long hair, an act that doesn't seem to have had any Samson-like effect. Wearing sunglasses and a t-shirt, Haxton bends low to look at his cards, elbows on the table.
Isaac Haxton, with Leonid Bilokur on his left
A seat along is Leonid Bilokur, looking like a man who hasn't spoken a word all week. Randy Lew looks much the same. He tends to let his cards (or his clicking finger) do the talking but, here as the short stack, he may not have much left to say.
Next along is Jonathan Duhamel, sitting low against the oversized table. He looks ready to strike; ready to seal off an amazing PCA for the former world champion who has played five, cashed in four and (so far) won one.
Nicolas Fierro looks like he's gradually easing into the afternoon, sipping from a can of sugar free Red Bull, given to him by his girlfriend on the rail, the camera following him at all times and zooming in when he gave her a kiss. Finding the whole scene a little absurd, he made his way back to his chair alongside Jason Koon in seat six.
Much like yesterday, Jason Koon looks full of energy, coiled ready to strike and win what would be his first major title. He's the chip leader and may be for a while yet.
Next to Koon, Telker looks either tired, or like he's plotting something. Second shortest in chips, his options are limited but he doesn't look pressured by it. For that matter neither does Govert Metaal, third shortest in chips, in seat eight.
Metaal may be the veteran at the table but he's proved time and again an ability to compete successfully in high roller events, finishing fifth here last year after a patient, considered performance, which he looks set to repeat here.
"Cocktails to the feature table", says Robbie Thompson. Things are about to get interesting.