PCA 2012: Shutter Speed freeroll in the picture
The PCA isn't all about the action at the tables, it's sometimes about the action off it, and not just troubled flights or troubled juice outlets.
Visitors to Paradise Island can take part in another type of contest, one that relies on speed, dexterity and a good camera.
Actually the camera doesn't even need to be good, just good enough to take five pictures around the Atlantis Resort which you can then email into the Shutter Speed freeroll contest. The first nine emails received win entry into a special $1,000 single table tournament next week.
Two of those taking part are Jessica Pollack and her boyfriend Ross Ruby. Armed with a camera and the list of photos required, they spent the morning getting their shots. All things considered it's not a bad way to spend a day in Paradise.
The entry requirements were simple, with contestants required to take photos of themselves in the following situations:
At The Dig aquarium
In front of a yacht in the marina
In front of or on an Atlantis water slide
Sitting on the giant throne in the entrance to the casino
With a member of Team PokerStars Pro
Easy for Jessica and Ross. The Dig, full of sharks and big scary looking things, is on the way through the main lobby at Atlantis. Yachts are plentiful in the marina, as are the water slides. The throne at the entrance to the casino is hard to miss and hey, aren't you Lex Veldhuis? Job done.
Ross Ruby with Lex Veldhuis (left)
The couple, originally from Chicago, are here for the poker and now split their time between Toronto and Amsterdam, Ross is an accomplished online player having regularly appeared in the pay-outs of major online events ion PokerStars. A Super Nova Elite since 2010, he's planning on playing side events, mainly in pot-limit Omaha with, hopefully, a seat in the Shutter Sweepstake freeroll.
"Jessica will be my personal photographer," joked Ross, who plays under the name "badblood1" on PokerStars.
The PCA is a significant place for Ross, who first came here in 2007 with friends. Watching the main event, the hundreds of players and the prestige attached to the winner, sparked Ross's interest in poker who took the game up with gusto while studying Finance at Bloomington College, Indiana.
"I graduated into the worst financial market ever."
Luckily, finance has since given way to pot-limit Omaha. Now, having been to the PCA before, Ross knows the drill, but even he wasn't prepared for the scale of the festival.
"Just the size of it now compared to then," said Ross. "We used to be in the conference hall! I couldn't believe how many tables were set up here when I first saw."
For Jessica, the PCA is more about sunshine and relaxation than poker, and there are few places more perfect for that (although skip The Abyss in the water slide, which will empty your stomach and leave you scared of the dark for months). But she may watch Ross play a little, although she admits poker is not really her game.
"I don't know the game at all really, I watch him and I'm completely confused," confessed Jessica. "I've been to a tournament but never to this tournament. I'm finding it very fun, meeting some cool people.
For now though it's back to being a tourist, with or without the camera.