PCA 2013: It's all about the money but not about the money
You might think that a $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller would be different to an ordinary tournament, like that costs only a measly $10,000 to play, for example. Six figures might suggest gold leaf, flunkies and free drinks. But the reality is a lot different, or exactly the same depending on how you look at it.
The 40 or so Super High Rollers play in the same massive tournament room as everyone else, on the same green seats as everyone else, and wear the same t-shirt and flip-flop combination of everyone else not paid to be here in pressed clothes.
There are a few other things that are not that much different from any other event. The level of conversation is not raised beyond talk of the weather here, the weather back home and the arrival of Bill Perkins, who took a vacant seat net to Phil Ivey, perhaps the only player in the field who didn't welcome him personally.
One of those who did was Antonio Esfandiari, who embraced Perkins in the same way that some people rub Buddhas for luck. Perkins then turned and embraced a massage therapist, who seemed better intentioned, all of which took place in front of the television cameras.
Valet parking for the high rollers
In fact the presence of intense media scrutiny is one of the only differences today. With the room empty of players except for the five tables of the Super High Roller, they flit from Daniel Negreanu, to Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, who they use for white balance, and Ivey, who gives them nothing by way of facial expressions or emotion.
They also hang around Dan Shak, whose antics trying to get online kept them busy with B-roll for a few minutes.
Shak has four devices in front of him; a tablet on which he works the stock exchange, an iPhone which he taps numbers into, something that plays music, and a blackberry, which may or may not be used as a telephone. The player next to him helped him get online by letting him use his room number to use the Atlantis internet. Shak handed him $20 which the man, tried to wave off like a man who had just paid $100,000 to play a poker tournament. Shak insisted, like a man who can afford to play a $100,000 poker tournament.
Actually maybe that's the main difference. There are no nervous faces anywhere in the field, and everyone is good for twenty bucks.