Chance Kornuth was playing the last hand before a break on the penultimate day of the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event when a pretty woman sneaked up on the rail.
“Surprise!” she said.
Kornuth, momentarily baffled, looked behind him to see a woman. In a heartbeat, he knew he was going to marry that girl.
And then just as quickly–surprise!–she was gone. Kornuth craned his neck, turned his head in three different ways, and then he realized that pretty woman from the rail had vaporized.
“She’s probably at the beach,” he said.
Kornuth might have been more forlorn but for the fact he had already, if you will, locked up a seat at the woman’s table until death do them part.
So, where had this woman gone?
“I don’t particularly love watching him, because I am just way more nervous than he is,” she said. “Yesterday, the first hand I watched, I was sick to my stomach. I had to walk around. I like being present, but not particularly watching all the play.”
Who is she? She is Emily Tai, Kornuth’s fiancee, a woman who showed up out of nowhere to support Kornuth in his bid to become the next PCA Main Event champion.
Tai, a touring poker dealer, was in nearby Florida getting ready for an event when she learned her future husband was crushing the Main Event. She approached her boss and asked for a couple of days off.
“I was wondering why you we’re still here,” he said.
So, she jetted off and landed in time to see Kornuth make the final table.
The couple met two years ago at the WSOP, and fate made sure they would stick together. A mutual friend introduced them. Then, three times over the course of one week, Tai sat down in the dealer’s box and looked up to find Kornuth sitting at the table.
By this point, it’s no surprise that the couple turned those chance meetings into a relationship. Nonetheless, imagine Tai’s face as she stood on the Great Wall of China in May and Kornuth asked her to be his bride.
Since that time, they moved to Florida together where Kornuth, a one-time Vegas party animal, has made a not-as-solemn vow to grow up a little.
Tai concedes that Kornuth has matured, but it doesn’t matter that much to her.
“It’s great that he is still a kid at heart,” she said. “He plays video games. He still does things that kids do. I think it’s important to have that in you. It’s not just about playing poker. It’s good to have fun while you’re doing it. I think he does a great job with that.”
So, now, the couple waits to see what surprises are to come. Will it be a championship today? We can’t say for now.
After all, we don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Follow all the action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on PokerStars Blog. Everything from the Main Event is on the Main Event page, High Roller live updates are here, and the live stream is on this PCA Live webcast.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging