PCA 2014: $8,333 a hand in the High Roller

Chris Hunichen is bouncing up and down like an excited child. His lips are stretched into an eager smile. The only thing stopping him from running into the PCA $25,000 High Roller and taking a seat is that he has not yet, in fact, been assigned a seat.

"I chopped the $5K last night, and I played until this was almost finished," he says, looking out over the assembled field of fellow high rollers. More than 100 of the world's best poker players are wrapped around black felt in the hopes of earning a quick million before leaving Paradise Island on Tuesday.

Fortunately for Hunichen, registration for the last big tournament of the PCA didn't close until the beginning of Day 2 at noon today. After pocketing more than $134,000 last night, he registered for this tourney at the last minute, and now he wants his seat as quickly as possible.

"I just don't want to miss any hands!" he says.

This is a little funny, because he missed all the hands yesterday. It's slightly tragic, too, because Hunichen's need for speed will also spell his end in a matter of moments. The man they call Big Huni made it to his seat just in time...to bust out.

Before the ink was dry on his tournament receipt, Hunichen got 3♥3♠ all-in against A♦K♠. The board ran out A♥5♣A♣9♠8♦.

"Well, that was a quick $25K," Hunichen said.

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Chris Hunichen

The dealer, when asked how many hands she had put out by that point, said the number was three, effectively costing Hunichen about $8,333 a hand. The only thing that made it less tragic was that John Juanda (who was one of the 49 people who spent an additional $25,000 to re-enter the tournament at a total cost of $50,000) busted before Hunichen. Juanda was gone so fast, he forgot to take his jacket with him.

You can shake your head a little at how wanton Hunichen's experience might have been, but he is not considered a degenerate in this field. He's normal. It's what's done, no matter how weird it may seem to squares like us. It's like us buying a car on the 1 out of 150 chance we could jump it over a ravine and win a million bucks. Most of the time, we're going to end up as a mess of burned bones for the coyotes to munch on. We'd think on this longer, but we hear "seat open!" again, and this time, it's Michael Mizrachi. Yes, he, like Hunichen, had been playing the tournament for less than ten minutes.

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Mizrachi (seatless and standing)

Hunichen and Mizrachi weren't alone. In total, the prize pool grew by $425,000 after the end of Day 1. Nine people re-entered. Eight people (Hunichen, Robert and Michael Mizrachi, Lee Markholt, Eric Froelich, Chris Oliver, Jeremy Kottler, and Athanasios Polychronopoulos) came in fresh. How many of them will be around at the first bathroom break is another question.

You can follow along with our live coverage on the PCA 2014 High Roller page.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging