Back in the olden days of hustlers and card sharps, there was a lot to be said for anonymity.
Folks who made their living at the card tables, or pool tables, were generally to be found out on the road, traveling from saloons to speakeasies, private clubs to smoky back rooms, hiding their lights under the bushels of pseudonyms like ‘Doc’ or ‘Slim’. There was a good reason, too: no need to scare away the fish.
Fast forward to 2015, and keeping your identity under wraps is a little tougher to accomplish for most. Titans of the online world may be able to maintain some form of mystery, at least until they hit a big score and the usernames get matched to the faces. But such is the interest and appetite for poker that few truly successful players manage to stay under the radar for long.
Anonymity: some try harder than others
So let’s spare a moment to put ourselves in the shoes of a Team Pokerstars Pro at the PCA Main Event. For some there’s simply no escape from the scrutiny: having your face adorning a banner in the lobby, or appearing on stage for a Q&A session, or simply looking like a rock star (we love you ElKy!) is pretty much a guarantee that your face will be recognised by your rivals at the table.
Then of course, there are the Team PokerStars Pro patches, universally hard-won and worn with pride, but not exactly a sign of weakness that’s going to incite opponents to overplay their hands against you.
But let’s say the seat draw is kind and you happen to find yourself at a table with players who don’t already know your name and pedigree, who haven’t noticed your patch and who underestimate your skills. Enjoy the moment, because it’s only a matter of time before the camera crew will find you.
With a camera lens trained on you and a boom mic hovering above your head, it’s pretty hard to make out like you’re new to this game.
The poker boom
Let’s not feel too sorry for the pros, though, because the camera crews roving around the Tournament Room are there to make the coverage even better for those of us who enjoy watching the action unfold on the live stream or on TV.
So here’s to all the TV crew, dealers, floor staff, caterers and everyone else working behind the scenes to make this incredible event work as well as it does. They may be anonymous, but they are legion, and to all of them let’s simply say: cheers.
Adam Hampton is a copywriter for PokerStars.