PCA 2013: First in, first out? Maybe not.
I'll let you in on a little inside joke.
We arrive earlier than most people do for tournaments. There are administrative duties, tedious research projects, and coffee sourcing required before we can face the inevitably long day and grind of a professional poker tournament. As such, we always see the very first people to sit down--the eager, anxious, listless, or careful.
And I'll be honest. Our first thoughts--and often our first words--are, "That person is never going to win this tournament."
It's not fair, probably, but it's often the case that the less experienced players are those who arrive first, and often it's the less experienced players who are out of the tournament first. First in, first out. It's science.
Or, perhaps it's not.
Earlier today, I went off to play the roll of scout in the start-of-day hunt for Olympic legend Michael Phelps. When I arrived at his table, there was only one person sitting there. Maybe you recognize him.
That's Ozzy Sheikh, who just happens to have a PCA main event final table under his belt. He finished sixth here in 2006 and was one of the youngest final table players ever. He's also famous for another reason: he is the only person to go out on the very first hand of the final table, the result of having his aces cracked on Hand #1.
But that's not the point. The point is, his early arrival completely shoots a hole in our science of picking winners and losers. Ozzy Sheikh is no rank amateur and he knows how to make a final table.
To further compound our problem, Joao Paulo Fernandes dos Santos was the second person we saw there. He seemed an easy mark for our snark. The 44-year-old civil engineer from Portugal got into this event for $10 in one of the special PokerStars qualifiers. We thought that meant he was playing his first big event. No luck there. As it turns out, he was here last year after winning a freeroll on PokerStars.
The take away here: we're not as smart as we like to think. In fact, we might just be idiots.
Fortunately for all involved, we just do the scribbling here. We leave the playing to the people who know how to do it.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging