WSOP 2014: Orange, oranje, or anything close
I'm looking for Dutch orange, because I know that's where I'll find Fatima Moreira de Melo. There are just minutes to go until the Netherlands takes on Argentina in the World Cup semifinals. I need a Dutch take on the match. I'm not in Brazil, but I'm in the Brasilia Room at the WSOP. Close enough.
De Melo, a PokerStars SportStar, is Dutch. Not only that, she is an Olympic gold medalist in field hockey. She's also got a face made for the silver screen (hence her recent foray into television). She's hard to miss. Today, she didn't disappoint. There is a bright spot in the corner of the room. That's Fatima.
I point out her orange shirt.
"It's red," she said with a shrug. "It's red-orange. This is as close as it gets to orange for me."
I consider for a moment that I'm color-blind, or that I'm living on some plane where red looks orange, or that I'm having a stroke. This is not the first time I've thought any of these things. But then I come to a conclusion: Fatima turns the red to orange. She's like a refraction of the sun that makes light look different. A beam of orange light sent from the Netherlands to us here in our fake Brazil.
But maybe I'm overstating things. I'm there to talk about the football.
Fatima is a sports fan as much as she is an athlete. She even has friends playing in the game. During the quarterfinal game against Costa Rica, Fatima was on a plane to Las Vegas to play in the WSOP. She didn't see a minute of the match. Now, she's sitting in the Brasilia room and--last I looked--didn't have a TV within eyeshot. What's more, she has 72 big blinds headed into Day 2C of the Main Event and has to focus.
It's the same fate Marcel Luske--The Flying Dutchman!--is dealing with. He's across the room in Brasilia. He has seven orange give-away hockey pucks piled under his chair. His sunglasses have orange frames. Or maybe they are orange. I'm unreliable on this subject, apparently. Either way, Luske has no TV to watch.
This is a tough spot for the two Dutch PokerStars players. Most Dutch people have the day off work. Luske and Fatima do not. They have to work for their shot at the $10 million first place prize at the WSOP.
As consolation, I offer the possibility that Fatima could finish the WSOP day with a good stack and celebrate a potential Dutch win. You know...beers. Shots. A short lecture on how to recognize the color orange. Party time.
Fatima rolls her eyes.
"I just rest. I'm a professional, dude," she says. "Even when we won the Olympic gold in Bejing in 2008, some people liked to jump around and be euphoric, and I was like, 'oh, yes, we achieved the goal. Let's chill on the couch now."
And so, if the Dutch win, and if Fatima ends the day with 200,000 in chips, you'll find her on the couch, scrolling through her social media feeds, and eating some good food. It's her own party...or close enough.
"That's just me," she says.
Update: Credit the WSOP who got the match on the TVs in the Brasilia room, so Fatima et al can watch the game now