PCA 2015: From Hollywood Bowl to Holiday Inn?
It's like looking at a magic eye pictures. You scan the horizon for a few seconds and suddenly it leaps out at you, like it shouldn't be there. Or even like the hidden symbols supposedly hidden in Michelango's work, brain shapes mostly, scattered around the Sistine Chapel like cherubs.
You don't have to look quite so hard in the tournament room for these abstractions, although the brain analogy is not far off given that it's the Super High Rollers - the poker brains -- that are conspicuous.
So far there are five of them in the Main Event field: Vanessa Selbst, Isaac Haxton, Justin Bonomo, Scott Seiver and Talal Shakerchi, each not 24 hours from having appeared in an event with a buy-in ten times the size of this one, and now "reduced" to playing a regular Main Event. All while the remaining Super High Rollers compete for a $1.8 million first prize over on the main stage.
You can't help wondering if it's not all some sort of let-down. One day you're playing the Hollywood Bowl, and the next you're booked to play a matinee at the Holiday Inn. Surely a lesser player might consider this beneath them, refusing even to get out of bed for anything less than the opportunity to spend $100,000.
But this is not the case.
"Oh yeah, I'm having a great time doing either one!"
This was Isaac Haxton, no strange to the highest of stakes, whether live or online. He took his seat in the Main Event today, clear that it's not about stepping down, but one of adjusting to a different kind of poker environment.
"It's a very different sort of poker in a lot of ways," said Haxton. "In the super high roller I'm playing almost exclusively against people I've played dozens of hours against, and this it's mainly people I've never seen before. And that (the super high roller) is mostly the best players in the world, and this really is not. So yeah, it's a big difference for sure."
Different yes, and the faces may be a little more unknown. But this is still the Hollywood Bowl, and it's no less entertaining.
Follow all the action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at PokerStars Blog. Head to the Super High Roller page to see hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top of the page, with feature articles below. Action starts soon on EPT Live.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.