PCA 2012: Time to salute another PokerStars landmark
You might think 31 years of age was too young for someone to be awarded a lifetime achievement award, and 27 for that matter, and in a lot of domains you'd be absolutely right.
But poker doesn't fit neatly into the real world, its participants subscribe to an alternative kind of lifestyle, forgoing bills and school runs for cash-in-hand day-to-day living in a game that is constantly evolving. It's a tough way to make a living but it's a beast that can suck you in. It's also one that can spit you out again.
Few players have demonstrated a knack for getting the better of this beast, (and actually rubbing down the beast) than Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Dario "Dariominieri" Minieri.
Both graduated to live poker in the modern way, via the tables of PokerStars. But for all this modernity they represent the veteran wing of the poker boom and their achievements to date both online and live are staggering. It was their performances in the virtual world something that PokerStars wanted to salute this afternoon.
Together, Elky (the older of the two) and Minieri are among the first players to reach the five million VPPs on PokerStars (so far more than 20 have reached this landmark), and today both were recipients of Tag Heuer Aqua racer watches, emblazed with the red PokerStars spade, were presented to them before play restarted in level five.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Dario "dariominieri" Minieri examine their new watches
Quite frankly these guys have played enough hands online to take a life time to play in a card room. You could say this is the SuperNova Elite, souped-up, finely tuned and desirable version of George from accounts getting a carriage clock on his retirement day. Only Minieri and Grospellier have several more lifetimes to live.
Both seemed honoured to be thought of in this way, although as the cameras flashed both saw the funny side of being singled out. The watches, which both players examined closely, were engraved with their names and the date each of them reached five million VPPs.
"It really means a lot," said Grospellier, like Minieri grinning for some time. "Now I want to be the first to ten million."
We don't doubt that he will, although Minieri might have something to say about that.