Now the seats are all empty; let the roadies take the stage...
-- Jackson Browne & Bryan Garofalo
For most of our players, the PCA ends on the day of the final table. Though to be fair, this year the PCA ended in the roseate predawn of the day after the final table.
But still, by Tuesday January 14th, the great majority of PCA guests had made their way back to the Nassau airport and thence to destinations around the globe. Some were headed for home and a familiar bed. Others were off to various poker tournaments that were underway elsewhere.
And then there was Tony Gregg, tournament superstar: "I'm going to a yoga retreat place on the other side of the island for six days. Do yoga, enjoy the sun, then head for the Aussie Millions. Why should I go home (Maryland, United States) for a week and freeze?" With logic like that, you see why the guy wins poker tournaments.
But for a lot of people, the work wasn't over. They're the ones who, two weeks ago, built a stage, a poker room, a bank (complete with safe), multiple poker TV sets, a sophisticated TV broadcasting system, and all the other bits of infrastructure that make the PCA what it is.
Somebody has to tear all that down, pack it up, and ship it off to the right places. Some of it is part of the Atlantis convention hardware and stays right here, some of it goes into storage, awaiting the next PCA, and the remainder is shipped back to various PokerStars offices, where it will be used for upcoming tournaments and events.
It's not glamorous work, but it's crucial. Miles of Ethernet cable are coiled, strapped, and loaded into flight cases. A TV control deck, the hub of the wildly popular PCA webcast, is wrapped and packed away, ready to be deployed at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
A sea of chairs is stacked and loaded into a storage area, only to reappear in a few days when the Sukup and Haley Automotive Group conventions come into town. Pallets full of office equipment, wrapped in seemingly indestructible self-adhesive plastic, are readied for shipment to storage facilities.
Guys and gals in dusty polo shirts, sleep deprived from the aforementioned final table, lovingly pack impossibly expensive video cameras into custom cases, many of which will be hand-carried through airports. They're just too valuable to trust to the tender mercies of baggage handlers.
Then the Atlantis people will come through, scoop up the remaining plastic wrap, cable ties, and empty boxes of player bags. They'll remove what few hard-copy "PCA 2014" signs are left (most of the signage is digital now) and vacuum the carpets. They'll be ready for the next convention guests at the Atlantis.
And the PCA... well, the PCA is in hibernation. It's safely tucked away in shipping pallets, flight cases, and the hearts and minds of a few hundred people, ready to emerge from its chrysalis less than a year from now.
See you next year.
They'll set it up in another town...
Lee Jones the Head of Poker Communications at PokerStars; he first joined the company in 2003. He has been involved in the professional poker world since the mid 1980's.