PCA 2013: What $100,000 looks like

There is a sick and uncomfortable evolution that has taken place a few dozen times in the past few hours. To understand it, we first turn to young Noah Schwartz, a man who is often justifiably mistaken for Superbad's McLovin. In his sweet, lovin' hand the life cycle began.

Just a few hours ago, the high stakes poker pro held $100,000 in his hands. Cash money. This is that very cash. He took a picture of it as it began its metamorphosis.


Indeed, this was Schwartz's PCA Super High Roller buy-in in its pupa stage: a staggering amount of real cash, an amount more than many people earn in a calendar year. The first home I bought didn't cost much more than that. Schwartz just handed it over like he was buying a $3.75 banana from the Atlantis Starbucks.

Schwartz, unshaken, watched the evolution begin. The $100,000 almost immediately entered its larval stage. To appreciate the sick and torturous nature of it, we turn to one of Schwartz's opponents, Jason Somerville. This is what he got in return for his money.


That is one slip of paper. One tiny, flimsy piece of confetti on which someone had printed its alleged worth. It's like a photo, a brief memorial to a big pile of paper money, a misty-eyed remembrance of something long gone.

What is it good for?

Well, with that receipt, Somerville, Schwartz, and 39 other people got a stack of poker chips, the adulthood stage of the life cycle.

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Some of you reading this might not be poker players. You might not understand that--to these men--the chips and the rest of them around the room are the most valuable thing they can have. They will win more chips, they will steal what they can, and they will build giant piles in the hopes of being the last person left.


Because in the life cycle of this $100,000, there is one more stage only a few people have truly appreciated. That's the stage at which that $100,000 can turn into more than $1 million and a Super High Roller championship.

That's the kind of thing you won't see on the cover of National Geographic.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging