PCA 2014: Humberto Brenes goes looking for his bite
Humberto Brenes is many things: Team PokerStars Pro, proud father, non-English speaker, and, ironically for a man nicknamed The Shark, not really a big fan of swimming. "When I come to the PCA, it's about the poker," he told me earlier today. "I don't go swimming. I don't go to shark tanks. Tournaments are my favourite thing to do here."
Good news then, because today marked Brenes' first foray into the PCA tournament schedule. At 14:00 Eastern Time, he took his seat among other hopefuls for the $1,000 Main Event Super Satellite. The reason? Simple. The Shark is ready to make a big splash in 2014. For many, not least the man himself, it can't come soon enough.
"It's been two years since my last win," Brenes admitted before taking his seat. "I don't play a lot of tournaments -- maybe forty or fifty in the last few years -- but I've been close. I've got my two brothers playing alongside today me and 2013 is behind us, so I'm feeling optimistic.
"Once I win again, more will come".
Aside from the odd deep-run here, smattering of min-cashes there, these past few years have been a little beige for one of PokerStars' most colorful characters. He admits it's "been hard", that he's "had to adapt", that "the hands haven't been so lucky". Thankfully for him and the rest of today's field, though, the PCA has previous for satellite winners turning their seats into Main Event trophies.
In 2010, a fresh-faced 18-year-old called Harrison Gimble took down the Main Event after qualifying via a $1,000 live satellite, a feat repeated two years later by 2012 winner John Dibella. Dressed in his customary visor, Team PokerStars patches and greying moustache, Brenes came into today looking to emulate their success.
"Before I became a Team Pro, I played a lot of satellites," he said. "The first satellite win I can remember came at the World Series in the late eighties. I won a ticket to the Main Event. It was as memorable as a first girlfriend."
"The only thing you have to remember when playing satellites is that you don't have to win. Survival is how you get tickets to Main Events."
In what is his ninth PCA -- I know because I watched him count each one out loud on his fingers -- Brenes will be looking to push big stacks around. Whether that's today, tomorrow, or towards the later stages of this year's PCA Main Event, who knows? Whatever happens, The Shark is eager to get his bite back.
"In life, the most important thing is good health," he added finally. "The second is winning poker tournaments." I couldn't have put it better myself.
For more on Brenes' poker past, check out his most recent PokerStars Blog entry, and stay tuned for PCA Main Event coverage, starting tomorrow.
Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.