WSOP 2014: USA vs. Europe, or, Varnell vs. Schemion, or, random against dude
European players play mostly in Europe. American players play mostly in the USA. The World Series of Poker Main Event is where these two tribes meet.
There are exceptions of course, but the Amazon Room becomes the chosen battle field for this battle of civilisations. You may be the hero of a local tour, or even be a chart topper on the European scene, but to that American guy who's never seen you before, or the Bulgarian who has never been to the States before, you're just an unknown dude who keeps raising.
Nowhere is this more apparent than on table 94, where one or two of the locals are trying to put a name to the impish face over in seat four.
Craig Varnell, a WSOP Circuit finalist in Colorado this past May, was trying more than others, talking to a familiar member of the floor staff about his predicament and sizing up the opposition as follows: "Someone keeps taking their picture and he's European."
You sense that by the end of play today Varnell will be all too familiar with Ole Schemion, the man who romped to the end of the tenth season of the European Poker Tour as Player of the Year, and who is both European and is getting his picture taken.
The scale of Schemion's achievement is difficult to fathom.
The 21-year-old cashed in 14 events during the EPT's tenth season, including three Super High Roller finals. He even recorded a unique triple-triple, cashing in Main, High Roller and Super High Roller events in three separate festivals in the same season, a feat that increased Schemion's bank balance by more than €2.1 million.
All of this is unknown to Varnell who independently came to the conclusion that he should show the German some respect.
For his part Schemion looks every bit the man in control of his world, working his way though a bowl of green food you know you should eat as you stand in line for a burrito, and wearing a kind of handmade sleeveless hessian smock, like he's come here directly from appearing as the scarecrow in a high school production of The Wizard of Oz.
Ironically the trouble for Varnell might not be limited to Schemion. Two seats to his left sits Italian pro Dario Sammartino, himself a high rolling player of note from across the pond, and more than capable of eliminating players wearing the disguise of "some dude".
A duel threat for Varnell, and a dash of dramatic irony for those of us watching. For now Varnell will take his cues from the direction of the photographer's lens'.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.