PCA 2014: Festival opens with clash of the Super High Rollers
First up is the Super High Roller event. And while it may not seem that long ago that we were staring blankly at the hallucinogenic patterns of the Grand Ballroom carpets, time has rushed by (maybe that should be Zoom™-ed) so that Scott Seiver's win last year is now just a small note in poker's history books, set to fade alongside the bold type of the new winner, to be crowned on Tuesday.
This year's PCA may still be in its first hours, but already players mill expectantly in and around the tournament area.
There tend to be three types who arrive to play the PCA each January, each with a distinct look and expectation.
First there are the ordinary folk, the bulk of the playing field, the home game champions or local giants who each year have a tilt at a big title like this. Then there is that layer of professional player who plays most events of this kind, the working pros who make up the scenery at all high stakes tournaments.
Step this way
Then there are the Super High Rollers, who wear long shorts and t-shirts. It's not that they have come ready for the sunshine and beaches. Actually they wear this stuff all the time. But their appearance, and their attitude lends itself to a world of low-key opulence that comes from their apparent success-- one of club sandwiches, drinking spirits, and skipping a morning shave. Frankly it's a lifestyle the other two groups want into.
But today they can only watch as this Nike'd and flip-flopped elite takes centre stage. Last year it proved Seiver's time, a moment worth $2,003,480 when he beat David "Doc" Sands heads-up. But the slate is now wiped clean.
Last year 47 players bought-in to make this the largest turnout for a $100,000 event. Lumped on top of that were 12 re-entries for a prize pool in excess of $5.7 million. This year there are already 44 players registered, with Christmas money from Aunts and distant relatives ready to be spent on re-entries should the first go not work out right.
They'll be eight one-hour levels of play before things wrap up tonight. You can expect play to be typically fierce, and the general approach to money to be unnervingly lax. And it will all be of a TV-grade.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.