As I am sitting here in the player’s lounge at PCA2014, l thought it would be a good place to update my blog as promised.
As an online qualifier, I received a main event buy in, accommodations, room credit and cash in my account to pay for travel. Coming out of Edmonton Alberta means connecting through Toronto. My trip planning was to leave home Sunday night before the event, fly overnight, catch the connecting flight in Toronto to arrive at the PCA Monday afternoon. I registered for day 1B on Wednesday, giving me Tuesday to relax, get rested and be ready to play. It also gave me an extra day just in case there were flight delays. But that never happens. Until I learned the term polar vortex.
My Sunday flight was running so late that I was going to miss my connection, so I was rebooked for Monday. My Monday flight was 2hours late leaving. The three hour flight was uneventful, right up u til the landing. Because if the aforementioned vortex, we have to wait 4 hours in the plane to get off. With no luggage. And the plane to the Bahamas was 5hours delayed. I arrived @ 8pm Tuesday night, tired, hungry and on super monkey tilt. So the only thing to do is go to the poker room.
The place is huge. All tables for the tournaments are in the same room. PokerStars has branded the entire convention center with banners, displays, signs and logos. But the have done it in an oddly classy way. And with the wide hallways and high ceilings, it doesn’t feel like a card room. It feels like an EVENT.
Day 1B dawned cold and rainy. A perfect day to be inside. I went to the tournament area to sign in. Very quick, very professional and friendly. The staff were 100% there for the players. It didn’t matter that I was on a free roll, I was treated great. Every question was handled immediately, and my bad beat story about my flight was accepted with warmth.
I found my table and sat down. A couple of young guys were there, and it was obvious that they knew each other from playing live and online together. Then some guy named Paul Volpe sat down, and received congratulations on his coming in second in the Open Face Chinese event. As he settled in comfortably on my immediate left, Team Pro Vanessa Selbst sat down at the far end of the table. Ah, crap. And then the cards were in the air.
To take all the suspense out of day 1 (which may be the body of another blog), I started the day with 30k in chips and ended with 27k. But I want to highlight the table. If you have ever watched YouTube clips of Vanessa, she comes across as very intense. I don’t think those 20 second shots of her play do her justice. She was friendly, engaged in all types of conversation, and made strangers feel welcome. Serious about poker? She doesn’t cut anyone any slack. But she did dust off her college Spanish to engage a non English speaker at our table, and it was obvious he appreciated it. I played for 7hours with mostly my day one table, and while I may be forgettable to them, they made me realize that I belonged in that room and, while not a great player, I deserved some respect for my skills. At least they are letting me believe that.
I will post day two and other PCA details later, but I need to get this part out of they way. I was interviewed on day two by PokerStars blog. Not because I did anything special. Just because I may have been slightly interesting for a minute. Here’s the link: