Danielle Summer was certain. She would be back in Barcelona in 2020. She just knew it.
“I totally believed that I was going to win the €10,000, and the only way I could get here was by believing I was going to do it,” Summer said. “In all the pre-interviews, I said to everyone I’m definitely coming back next year. And everyone’s looked at me thinking, ‘Is she mad?’”
More likely, they figured she was the type of player who was determined to do her best when it came to achieving her goal. In this case, to chase her dream and win €10,000.
“It was a bit strange,” she said, admitting to some nerves at the start before getting comfortable at the table. “I thought I played the best I could play in that situation.”
That was the first step. Playing her best and waiting to see what happened. Then she watched the others take their turn at the Chase Your Dream feature table. She watched Christoph Walkenhorst and Daryll Inglis, but saw that Adrian Viñuela and Clement Eloy did even better.
“I was looking at the boys thinking I love them all,” Summer said. “I feel like they’re my family. We’ve got a bit of a bond. So, I was happy for either of them to win.”
It was ironic then that some of those she told earlier of her plans – the production team, the crew and staff – already knew something she couldn’t be sure of. Secretly some knew she would be back, and with a Platinum Pass in her pocket.
Summer said: “Truthfully when he [James Hartigan] said we’ve got something credit card size, I was thinking an Amazon voucher or something like that. I’d have done the same! But I couldn’t believe it. In my head, I couldn’t work out that people could spend that type of money on a tournament. It’s a lot of money. It’s a bit of a shock. A real shock.”
Anyone who saw the reaction on the live stream could see what it meant to each of the five players. When Hartigan broke the news, there was a period of shock, but then jubilation.
For Summer, a carer from Yorkshire but now living in Tenerife, Spain, it’s a journey that started 12 years ago. That’s when her friend Louise taught her to play poker. When she headed back to the UK, Summer was without an opponent. So, she started playing online.
“I love it,” she said. “I get the adrenaline and I really want to win. But I’d be doing stuff like cooking when I’m playing. But now it’s like, this could be serious. This could be, well it is life changing.
“I’ve got to prepare. I’m going to really study poker properly. It’s going to be my mission. I do a lot of things part time, but this is going to be my thing that I have to do. It could change so many people’s lives, not just mine.”
It’s one of the most fascinating aspects of an event like the PSPC. It’s easy to think the poker world is made up entirely of seasoned pros and well versed poker fans. It makes it easy to forget that it’s a game that means different things to different players. To some it’s about high stakes competition. To others, it’s how they have fun, socialise and meet people.
Which means you don’t always know who you’re up against.
“When I found out who was playing the only person I’d heard of was Chris Moneymaker,” Summer said. “He’s got an amazing story. He came from nothing and became a millionaire. His story is so mad. I was thinking I could be him. I could do that. I already have!”
It’s been a busy 24 hours since her life changed. There have been interviews, photos, as well as impromptu chats with well wishers and Team Pros wanting to hear the story. It’s almost hard to believe until you hear it first-hand. As Summer knows. Turns out telling the folks back home you just won a ticket to one of the biggest poker tournament in the world is harder than it sounds.
“They all watched the first bit and then switched off!” she said. “They found out I wasn’t going to the tournament. So, I said what I’ve won and they think I’m joking. They think I’m doing it to piss people off.
“They don’t believe it. And I can’t send the link to them!”
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