The Atlantis resort has an on-call doctor for any emergencies that may arise, and that’s a great comfort, as some of us fall down sometimes. But just in case, the PCA has had a Medic in the field every year it’s been on Paradise Island. We call him Nenad.
This requires a brief history lesson.
Eleven years ago, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure planted its stakes here at Atlantis. The Main Event drew 461 players that year. Among them was a young man named Nenad Medic. People knew him as The Serb, a former college basketball player who graduated to a long career in poker. He finished in sixth that year, winning $112,500. It was his first recorded live result, one that sent him into a career worth more than $4.5 million in live earnings.
He won WPT events. He won WSOP events. He won millions. And then he quit.
“A couple of years ago, I got a little sick of it and just wanted to take some time off,” Medic said. “And then I got a little too comfortable taking time off.”
Medic lives in Miami now. His tan proves it. It’s an easy places to lose focus. Nonetheless, he worked his way back into cash games and then went out to the World Series where he picked up a few cashes.
“I don’t really play any tournaments anymore,” he said.
But, here’s the thing. No matter how much of a break he takes, no matter how few tournaments he decides to play, no matter how hard he focuses on cash games, Medic never, ever misses the PCA. He’s been at Atlantis every year the PCA has.
“This is a nice short flight from Miami as opposed to other tournaments,” he said. “It’s always a great field, and I love Atlantis.”
Medic is among a small group of people who have seen every iteration of the PCA. He played the outdoor final table in the sun. He’s played the Main Event in three different ballrooms of the PCA (growing year to year to the biggest one on the island). He’s played the PCA as a World Poker Tour event and an EPT event. He has become as much of an institution here as the PCA itself.
Nevertheless, he has realized that the thing he once was is the very thing he’s now fighting against.
“The young internet kids are taking over,” he said. “It’s just I’m getting older and the players are getting younger.”
So, as we get into the meat of another PCA Main Event Day 2 and wait for the newest, freshest face to rise from the crowd to claim a PCA title, we look to Medic to remind us that even if we get older, we can still hold our own at the Caribbean’s biggest poker event.
And, hey, if any of us old guys have any heart trouble, it’s always nice to know there is a Medic in the field.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging