PCA 2013: Railbirding the High Roller with Negreanu and co
Your average High Roller is a railbird's dream, possibly even more so than a Super High Roller, because on the EPT or here at the PCA you get massive fields jammed full of big names. This $25,000 field is something else though: 176 entries and 21 re-buys. Ludicrous. Every table has players that would make you groan if you found them drawn at your table for a Main Event, but here that accounts for pretty much every seat.
Isaac Haxton sits with both feet on his chair; one is tucked underneath him and the other is planted down on the seat jutting his knee up towards his chin. It makes him look like a poker Gollum playing with his precious chip stack. Chris Oliver is sat a couple of seats to Haxton's left with his chair turned slightly outward as if to speed up his exit should he bust. Given his wont to three-, four-, five- and six-bet with any two cards, it's an understandable concern.
Jason Mercier stands just out of his chair talking to a member of the Poker News reporting team recounting a story where he was refused entry to somewhere, some time: "He was screaming, 'You can't come in!' and I was like, 'Just ask her.'"
Also standing is Jason Koon who appears to be the most active player in the field (in terms of getting up and down out of his seat anyway). Talking of chairs, the one next to Koon has just been filled by Max Silver, a staker with a ridiculously good record of picking players that make big final tables. Silver has 'only' $645,213 in live tournament winnings, which is barely worth a second glance to most of these seven-figure grinders.
Getting a rubdown
The massage team are busy rubbing, kneading and unknotting with Micah Raskin, Alex Gomes, Nick Schulman and Antonio Esfandiari offering the flesh and dollars. While they take up more space with their attendant masseuses the airwaves are ruled by Shaun Deeb and Daniel Negreanu who both have voices - and laughs - that carry across a tournament floor.
Nacho Barbero appears to have one of the worst seat draws out there. He has Jason Somerville, Esfandiari and ElkY in a direct line to his left. That's a lot of tournament talent to get past. But Barbero plays on while plenty of others have fallen: the clock shows 121/176. Two that have gone are Faraz Jaka and Steve O'Dwyer who we've been informed were walking down the corridor conducting, in their words, a "walk of shame of $100,000." Ouch.
Jump through to the PCA Main Event coverage or take a look at how Scott Seiver won the $100,000 Super High Roller. Catch up with side event results, news and views by clicking here. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the PCA action.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.