PCA 2012: Everything (but then again nothing) to see here

January 12, 2012


If you’re a spectator here today you’re watching one of the most dramatic days of play. The only problem is you’re unlikely to see any of it.

It’s a tribute to both the quality of player and quality of supporter that the bleachers are packed full for the start, when all you can actually see is a large bundle of people.

Those on the back row have to stand to see beyond the people in the front row, who are also standing. The people on the front row are standing because in front of them two roving camera teams and some floor staff are standing, pointing lenses at Alex Fitzgerald and Ruben Visser playing a pot.

In between the cameras and those on the front row standing are a few additional folk, non-specific types, who walk from one end of the stage to the other. They’re not part of the television crew, (wouldn’t ever be seen wearing such garish clothing), but no one asks them to leave. So they must be somebody. They certainly look purposeful and that can get you places, just like walking quickly while carrying a clip board.


Getting cosy: The main stage

Meanwhile, oblivious to those standing, and happy to remain seated at the back, is a man with long thinning white hair who seems just happy to be here.

Having befriended Ruben Visser while he was himself in the main event, he’s now taken to railing him. He can’t see anything though so he leans forward to talk to someone in the front row who’s here to play the World Cup of Poker tomorrow.

Both talk about being genuinely humbled by the experience – the hospitality, the quality of poker and the experience of playing in such a prestigious event. The man with the white hair, who had won his seat for free, had been eliminated on Day 2, but Barry Greenstein had told him that he’d done nothing wrong, and this pleased the man with the white hair.

Back on the stage a man wearing iPod headphones is one of several people asked – no told – to leave the stage as he’s likely to get clobbered by the giant camera boom which occasionally swings around like a dinosaur looking for something fleshy to bash and then eat.

Amid all those told to go there is an exception.

The massage therapist will always get through. If a clip board can guarantee access to places, the uniform of a massage therapist allows you free reign in a poker tournament. To deny them this would surely end in a player revolt, albeit a very careful one, putting no strain on the back muscles.

Xuan Liu is mid-massage and does her best to maintain an even smile against the pummelling going on behind her, as Joe Giron took her picture.


Holding steady: Xuan Liu

Meanwhile it turns out the man with the white hair knows the exact street in Amsterdam where the young guy sitting next to him now lives. The man with the white hair now has two new friends.

Back on stage and the tournament is over for Danny Chevalier. Yesterday we wrote about his girlfriend Janene Lewin, who had been watching him from as close as she dare ever since he made the money. A full day later and Chevalier was now walking off stage, followed by Lewin, followed by a camera crew. He looked happy but disappointed. She looked relieved, her worrying now at an end.


One last look: Danny Chevalier departs

As they walk past the white haired man is interrupted by someone telling him that Visser just doubled up. This delights him and he cheers, albeit a few second late. Ruben Visser smiles and stacks his chips.


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