PCA 2015: Searchlight switched on in hunt for PCA champion
Turn the corner and enter the Imperial Ballroom on any given day at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) and you'll immediately be struck by the scale of this event. The room is enormous, the staff is as populous as an average Roman legion, and the haste with which the complimentary muffins are pilfered from the player lounge is spectacular even by standards established on the free T-shirts desk.
This morning, however, you'd have had trouble noticing any of that. The television team have ramped up their production today and have adjusted the lighting on top of the feature table set to resemble a lighthouse. There was a piercing searchlight fixed on the entrance to the room, forcing anybody entering into an impromptu salute: hand flying up to forehead to shield the eyes and deflect what must have been at least 100,000 lux*.
At the same time, the stage was bathed in dry ice and the atmosphere was comparable to a rock concert - even if there were precisely no fans, no guitars and regrettably few bubble perms.
However, this is an important day at the PCA and the shift in the production values represent the significance of what is to come. The bubble will burst when our remaining field of 175 is trimmed to 119 and those players still remaining at that point will earn at least $17,800. The most important order of immediate business, therefore, is to avoid that spotlight falling on you and tracing your path to the door before the bubble.
After that moment, it's going to be about putting yourself in the position to make a run for the final table, and a first prize of close to $1.5 million. Some of the game's biggest names have their eyes fixed firmly on that prize, and outrunning them is going to be tough.
There is nobody more happy to be in the spotlight than Daniel Negreanu. Indeed, one wonders if there isn't a gobo attachment to the PCA searchlight that can cast a big "D" into the sky, ala Batman, for Negreanu to follow to his seat for the day. With close to 300,000 in chips and the biggest railing section in the world, it's a no brainer that the Team PokerStars Pro will headline EPT Live today.
As he continues his second life as a poker pro, Ronaldo will be seated on the secondary feature table. There will be no better way to examine his skills with cards in hand, rather than ball at feet.
ElkY, the man who has been known as Mr PCA, is also making a fine run here in this event. His Red Spade colleagues, and fellow former EPT winners, Mickey Petersen, Jason Mercier and Liv Boeree are also still involved. Jonathan Duhamel hasn't won an EPT title, but he has won the World Series, so that's not bad.
The extraordinary R.O.I. stories of Tomas Biliunas and Laura Garzon have also not yet been completed. The two of them, in for ten and six FPPs, respectively, remain in line for a huge prize. Indeed, all of the qualifiers we mentioned at the start of Day 1B, including Ludwig Fernstrom and Jeff Michels are still involved, that latter pair today sitting beside one another.
That's not even to mention Andre Akkari, Ole Schemion, Naoya Kihara, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, George Lind, Shyam Srinivasan, Leo Margets, Dani Stern, Stephen Chidwick and Sam Greenwood, plus two other former EPT champs: Antonio Matias and Sotirios Koutoupas.
The plan is to play another five levels today, which will likely reduce the field to around 60.
*New word - lux: noun; a unit of illumination, equivalent to 0.0929 foot-candle and equal to the illumination produced by luminous flux of one lumen falling perpendicularly on a surface one meter square.