PCA 2013: The player of the year fight resumes as Rettenmaier and Smith tangle again

Players often talk about tournament variance. You can count on the fact that there will coolers, suck outs and flips and even that you might run good in all your low buy-in sessions but go colder than cold in all your largest tournaments. What's often not discussed is that first table draw beyond a 'good' or 'bad' draw. Your first table draw is huge. It's massive. You could be playing with this group of players for the best part of eight hours when the blinds are low and you've got your some of your biggest decisions. It's the time you can exploit the most or be the one getting exploited.

So, it must have been with a little annoyance that Marvin Rettenmaier, Player of the Year 2012 was sat directly next to Dan Smith, runner-up in the Player of the Year race. Really, how does that happen? There were 649 runners today. You do the mathematics. Suffice to say, it's pretty unlikely.

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Rettenmaier (left) and Smith

"That was fun... not so much. He was sat on my direct left. We had some good talks," said Rettenmaier.

The gregarious German, decked out in blue shorts, Reef flip-flops and a garish tie-dye top, had just busted out in the last level of the day, partly in thanks to Smith. Rettenmaier had "the toppest of all the pairs" and a big draw which he felt would have got paid off had he got there, but he ended up having to check-fold the river.

We heard that you put your bracelet on to give Smith a little needle?

"Ha! That's not true, I already had it on. I might have put it in his face a little bit," said Rettenmaier.

The 2012 Player of the Year battle
Dan Smith: $3,739,797
Highlight: €50,000 EPT Barcelona Super High Roller, €962,925

Marvin Retternamier: $2,503,015
Highlight: $25,000 WPT Championship, $1,196,858

Rettenmaier claimed the title late in the year after winning the EPT Prague €10,000 High Roller for €365,300 (an amount that he didn't know when I spoke to him). Smith also won a side event in Prague, a €5,000 six-max for €68,120, topping off an incredible year but it fell short of the required numbers needed for it to count. There's some fine edges out there.

Although it's Smith who has started this event well - he's currently on around 80,000 - Rettenmaier certainly isn't looking too worried; "I'm not going to write the year off yet," said the German with a smile.

Jump through to the PCA Main Event coverage or take a look at how Scott Seiver won the $100,000 Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the PCA action.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.