PCA 2014: Introducing Mr Average
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is an enormous event, but it's not so large that the Atlantis Resort can't accommodate it as well as thousands of other guests who are in no way related to poker. Indeed, the corridors of this sprawling hotel complex are often lined by families clutching beach towels who might actually visit a beach, or talking about restaurant reservations who have no intention of settling the check via a round of credit card roulette.
Although it's a purely hypothetical conceit, I like to imagine asking these "other" people to engage in a game. I'd like to put a kind of police station line-up in front of them and ask them to guess which person from an apparently randomly-selected dozen are about to pay $100,000 to enter a poker tournament. I bet they can't do it. The profile of the "average" Super High Roller poker player is far, far removed from what the layman would imagine it to be.
That said, we have this morning engaged in some kind of low-rent criminal profiling in an attempt to determine what makes a Super High Roller poker player. Based on the data assembled by our friends in the PokerStars media department -- thanks Mad Harper and Reinaldo Vinegas -- we can get close to determining the "typical" make-up of a player in this kind of event.
First things first, and it gives no one any great pleasure to report it, a Super High Roller poker player is almost invariably male. This time last year, Vanessa Selbst became the first woman ever to join a tournament of this kind, and it will probably surprise no one to learn that she is the only female in this week's field too. Poker is always open to all regardless of gender, race or creed, but the fact is that this remains a male-dominated environment. No woman besides Selbst has ever paid a six-figure sum to play this game.
There's a pretty narrow scope of nationalities too. There were 46 players in this event, but they came from only nine different countries across the world. The United States had by far the most in the field (as they will in the Main Event) and Americans accounted for 25 of the total players. Canada had seven, Germany six and Russia three. Each of France, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom provided one player apiece--and there will be plenty of people who consider Steve O'Dwyer, JC Alvarado and John Juanda to be Americans too. (They are currently the Irish, Mexican and Indonesian representatives.)
The oldest player in the field here is Dan Shak, at 54 years and eight months (four months older than Guy Laliberte). They youngest is Ole Schemion, who was born in September 1992 and has only recently turned 21. But taking the entire field into account, the median age of the players is 31 and the mode either 27 or 28. There are seven players of each of those ages.
Putting all this together, then, an "average" Super High Roller poker player is a North American man aged either 27 or 28. And--what do you know?--there are 14 players in today's field who fit that profile precisely.
Step forward Isaac Haxton, Jason Koon, Justin Bonomo, Jesse Chinni, Christopher Klodnicki, Scott Seiver, JC Alvarado, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Tony Gregg, Bryn Kenney, Daniel Stern, Timothy Adams and Joseph Cheong. For once in your exceptional young lives you are average. Plain average.