PCA 2012: The $8.7 million lucky hoodie
Walk around any poker tournament and a popular garment of choice is the hoodie, even if we are in the Caribbean heat of the Bahamas. Over on table 34, a young man sat down in a cream hoodie, checked shorts and trainers. Just another young gun taking a crack at millions of dollars, you'd think. But a swarm of television cameras and nervous glances from others at the table confirmed this was no ordinary hoodie-wearing hot-shot.
This was new World Series of Poker champion Pius Heinz.
And the significance of the hoodie, lined with crimson piping and a Boss logo? It's the same one Heinz wore at that final table in Las Vegas in November, a day that would change the German's life forever, lining his bank account with a cool $8,715,368.
Now, you may think a chap who had won that amount could afford some new clothes, but Heinz now has affection for this particular top; it has a habit of making him piles of cash.
"Yes, it's my lucky hoodie," he told me between hands as his Day 1B at the PCA Main Event got into full swing. "I'm happy to wear it as it is what I wore at the World Series. It will bring me good fortune."
Aside from his attire, life has certainly changed for Heinz, who joined the elite group of Team PokerStars Pro before the WSOP final table played out. He can now live like a king, while his presence at a table can turn a man to stone.
Those at table 34 today may not be too chuffed, although one of them has seen it all before. Felipe Ramos sits in seat 7, and his record of $485,000 in tournament cashes suggests a world champion, or a lucky hoodie for that matter, will not faze him one bit.
In the early going, Heinz has inched up past his starting stack of 30,000. No big pots, he's quietly going about his business, chewing on gum with an iPod headphone plugged into his right ear.
Aged just 22, the former university business psychology student is looking for an early big score after his WSOP victory, a desire most WSOP champs have; it's as if they need to confirm that their victory was in no way a fluke.
Heinz has had one cash since Las Vegas, making $6,293 for finishing 23rd in an EPT Prague €2,000 no limit side event. That's peanuts to him; he's got his eyes on another million dollar score here in The Bahamas this week.
Can he do it? Don't underestimate the power of the hoodie.