Thursday, 30th March 2023 17:16
Home / Poker / Seat open at the PCA: What’s it like to play next to a poker legend?

There’s always a chance you’ll play with a poker legend at a PokerStars event.

Picture the scene. You’re playing a tournament at your local cardroom, surrounded by the weathered faces of familiar regulars. 

The player to your right busts, and there’s a seat open. A few minutes go by before a new player arrives at the table. You look up to see who it is. 

It’s Erik Seidel.

Erik Seidel

The inimitable Erik Seidel

A poker icon. A gent. One of the most successful poker players in history with unparalleled longevity at the top of the tournament game.

How do you think you’d react?


Yesterday, we were strolling around the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event field midway through Day 2. We happened to stop by a table featuring crushers Chance Kornuth, Conor Beresford, PSPC 2019 fourth-place finisher Scott Baumstein, and Alberto Meran.

This wasn’t a local cardroom. It’s the prestigious PCA. And no faces were weathered.

But this lot are definitely familiar regulars.


Meran, a poker pro from the Dominican Republic, was sat in Seat 5, and the chair to his right–Seat 4–was empty.

Until it wasn’t. While Meran minded his business in between hands, Seidel arrived at the table and placed his chip racks on the felt. 

We saw Meran’s reaction as he looked up at Seidel. You’ll have to take our word for it, but let’s just say his eyes were pretty wide.

Erik Seidel Alberto Meran

“It’s particularly special playing with Erik because it’s inspiring how much he still loves poker after all of these years.” – Alberto Meran

Now, we should mention that Meran is no poker newbie.

Live, he plays everything from $1Ks to $10Ks and boasts more than $350K in live cashes. Online–where plays on PokerStars as “alberto.m7”–he has almost $2.5 million in career earnings and two Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) titles.

He no doubt plans to register the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) next week.

Alberto Meran and Scott Baumstein

Meran put Baumstein in the blender and won a nice pot right before talking to us

But even a player of his experience and calibre can get a bit starstruck from time to time.

“It’s always so much fun to play with the people I grew up watching,” Meran told us on a Main Event break. “When I started playing I dreamed of playing with people like Erik and playing at the level they play.”


The funny thing? This isn’t even the first time Meran has played with Seidel.

“I’ve played with him before but it was still a surprise to see him,” Meran says. 

“It’s particularly special playing with Erik because it’s inspiring how much he still loves poker after all of these years.”

If you often daydream about playing alongside your poker idols, you might think it’s too farfetched to actually happen.

But the truth is, if you can find your way to one of these big events–either by winning an online satellite and booking your trip for cheap, or by buying in directly–there’s always a chance you could end up playing next to your hero.

The next big event after the PCA/PSPC is the European Poker Tour (EPT) stop in Paris. Many big names–icons–will be there.

So take a look at those online satellites on PokerStars (you’ll find them in the PokerStars client. Just click on the Events tab).

Keep daydreaming.

Meran ended the day with 270,000 and will return for Day 3 of the PCA Main Event today.

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