Humans are conditioned to deal with a specific amount of input. When the sounds are loud, the food is rich, the lights are bright, the room is over-fragrant, and the air is hot, humans have a limited level of endurance.
Poker players are not humans. They are machines.
It’s now been four days we’ve been in a giant ballroom. A cacophony of loud speakers, clacking chips, celebration screams, and desperate groans has mixed with the cigarette smoke, amonia-clean bathrooms, hastily-eaten sandwiches, and occasionally chilly Bahamian air. Carpal tunnel syndrome has set in on the dealers’, writers’, and players’ hands. And yet, it, this desperate clawing for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure championship, continues. What’s more, it is as beautiful a piece of abstract art as you could ever want.
Understand, it’s been a mission of an importance that only poker playing machines can compute. Regular people, like the poker widows and widowers on the beach, can’t understand the drive to make it to the final table of a major poker event. The widows and widowers understand yearning and unspoken dreams, but they are not the kind to chase those dreams to the felt. That mission is reserved for the poker players. This week, that mission has been accomplished by six poker players.
What started as a game of more than seven hundred players is now a contest between six people. Two students, three poker pros of varied backgrounds, and an entrepreneur with such vision that only he could explain it.
Seat One: Steve Paul-Ambrose ($1,780,000)
Steve is a student at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He started playing poker about two years ago and is a frequent participant in the Sunday guaranteed tournaments on PokerStars. He’s 22 years old and has his mom, sister, and buddies on the rail rooting him on. You will find him on PokerStars as “stevejpa” Paul-Ambrose qualified for the PCA in a $650 satellite on PokerStars.
Seat Two: David Singer ($2,535,000)
Singer, a well-known pro on the tournament circuit, has spent the last three days defining the concept of “pressure points” in poker, putting his opponents to tough decisions when they least expect to make them.
Seat Three: Brook Lyter ($875,000)
Lyter is an entreprenuer who has owned a bar, a DJ service, and most notably, a poker league in the upper midwest. Lyter’s most recent and notable project is a partnership in DakotaPokereague.com. He’s 34 years old and engaged to a beautiful woman who stood on the rail during his final table assault. Lyter is from Fargo and, with his business partner, put a few people into the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with his company’s satellite tournaments. You’ll find him on PokerStars as “flushthecat.” Lyter qualified for the PCA in a $33 re-buy tournament on PokerStars.
Seat 4: Michael Higgins ($794,000)
One (yes, one) of the youngest players at the final table, Higgins is 18 years old and a student at The Ohio State University. Higgins also has a rail full of supporters. Higgins made the final table after pushing in with pocket aces to defeat the TV bubble, Brian Green’s, pocket tens. You’ll find Higgins on PokerStars as Higgins43.
Seat 5: Anders Henrikkson ($1,033,000)
Anders “gambler21” Henriksson now goes under the name “Mr. Four of a Kind” in Sweden after winning the TV tournament “Pokermiljonen” two week’s ago. He drew quads twice at the final table. Henrikkson is 24 years old and from Stockholm. Henrikkson also placed 18th in the 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He has been playing poker professionally for two years. He qualified for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in a PokerStars double shootout.
Seat Six: NAME REMOVED ($231,000)
Because the tournament moved a little faster than expected, Monday will be a day off for the players. While they will give some interviews to the WPT TV crews, they will have the day to think about what kind of game they will bring to the final table. Just like last year, the final six will play on the Dragon Deck of the Atlantis Resort and Casino. That will happen Tuesday morning at 10am. This blog will provide full coverage of the final table.
As the hour has grown late, we’ll put the blog and the game to bed for the night and leave you with my favorite picture I’ve taken so far this year.