Or, in the words of Bruce Buffer: “It’s time!”
There is little point, of course, in attempting to transcribe Buffer’s extraordinary delivery of those magic words, just as it’s equally pointless to attempt to describe just how electric the atmosphere is inside the Grand Ballroom at the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas right now.
The PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) is now under way. We’ve waited three years, during which we’ve been high and we’ve been low; we’ve been hopeful and we’ve been fearful.
But right now, we are ecstatic.
The most exciting tournament in world poker has started, and the next five days will be incomparable in terms of drama.
More than 750 players are already seated, having poured in the Bahamas over the past week or so, and then crammed into the ballroom in the 30 minutes before play was due to start.
Among the hordes, the Spanish contingent of Platinum Pass winners was by far the most vocal. They arranged to meet ahead of the tournament, all wearing Hawaiian shirts and straw hats, evocative of their leader: Ramon Colillas.
Colillas, of course, is the man who showed more than any other exactly what is possible for Platinum Pass winners.
“The undefeated PSPC champion!” declared Buffer. Indeed.
The Spanish players stomped into the tournament room, chanting “A por ellos!” like a rowdy football crowd. It means “Let’s get them!” and it’s pretty powerful as a statement of intent.
Around the room, hundreds of loved ones planted kisses on the faces of their favourite players. But this time, those players are actually taking their seats and taking on the pros for what is certain to be enormous riches.
Hartigan and Buffer whipped the crowd up even further. And then came the instruction we had all been waiting for: “Shuffle up and deal!”
It’s for real, folks. It’s happening. The PSPC is under way.
PSPC Day 1 plan
Starting stack: 60,000
Levels: Eight 60-minute levels
Breaks: 22-minute break after levels 2 and 4. 75-minute dinner break after level 6.
Registration is open until start of Day 2