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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Pundit - Jeremy ‘Chipsteela’ Menard- Looking Back on the PCA from Last Year

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A blog of sorts, a story to be told, the true depth of poker is about to unfold:

Sitting in the airport preparing for my flight to Nassau is reminding me just how awesome the Poker Stars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) experience is. For those who don‘t know the poker tournament is held in the incredible Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, which happens to be one of the most well known resorts in the world. The place has everything including a beautiful beach, an area designated for swimming with dolphins, some of the best water slides I‘ve been on, and a ridiculous amount of aquariums full of exotic fish I’d never seen or heard of before.

Despite all this you can still see plenty of people playing online poker in the lobby on a daily basis. I’m sure there were even some of these people that didn’t even make it outside once during their entire trip! That’s pretty hilarious in my opinion. On top of this you have countless young online phenoms who haven’t reached legal drinking age in the States, this is always a recipe for lots of memorable experiences, and there are quite a few that come to mind from my trip last year.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the trip was going to be an interesting one. When we arrived my girlfriend and I got in the first taxi we saw, anxious to get to the resort we had heard so much about. Little did we know the taxi drivers there are damn close to legally insane. The fact that it was night time made the trip even more sick. I think it was our taxi driver’s mission to run every single stop sign on the way, as well as pass every car that wasn’t going 25 MPH over the speed limit regardless of whether there was a passing lane or not There were several times when I thought my life was going to end right there in that taxi, but at least we made good time getting to the Atlantis.

When we arrived I found out that the rooms there weren’t exactly what I expected, and the food was incredibly over-priced. I had heard that the Coral Towers where I was staying were basically the nut low as far as rooms go there, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise. It was a good thing that Poker Stars provided 1k in money for eating and drinking in the package I had won because the cheapest decent food there was a $20 cheeseburger, and any mixed drink was $10 at the minimum. I do remember a night where I went out to eat at a pretty nice steak place around the marina with some friends, and for some reason we decided to play credit card roulette. For those who haven’t been introduced to this fun little game let me break it down for you. It involves allowing the server to go through some sort of random process of elimination with everyone’s credit cards until only one card is left and that person is the one who pays the check. Of course my card was the last one remaining as lady luck does not smile upon me in this game, and I ended up paying for everyone’s dinner including one of my friends who ordered a well done filet mignon and proceeded to put ketchup on it despite the fact that I said there’s no way I’m paying for that if you put ketchup on it. Fuck my Life.

As soon as I got to the Atlantis I realized so many of the people that I had played with on a daily basis were down here for the tournament. I was amazed when I met Chad “Lilholdem954” Batista and quickly found out that he was much cooler then I had imagined him being from his reputation online. He was actually a pretty chill guy, there was even one night when my girlfriend and I ended up playing some drunken 1-2 NHLE with him and his girlfriend. I’m pretty sure Chad and I combined lost at least $500 in less than an hour while his girlfriend made double that.

The main lobby of the Coral Tower where the tournament was being held was the main hang out for the online kids. It was so funny the things you would experience there on a daily basis. One night I remember two drunken top ranked online players trying to create a side bet for somewhere in the neighborhood of 50k over who would earn the most money that year playing online poker. The interesting part was one of them kept being like, alright let’s do it, and then they would try to find somebody to book the action, and then as soon as that happened he would find a reason to back out. This went on for at least an hour.

It’s so funny to watch when the egos of these young players collide and are fueled by alcohol. On the night before the final table of the tournament I was playing blackjack with one of my friends who was actually playing in the tournament the next day. I remember leaving and coming back and the kid was still playing late into the night despite the fact that he was playing for millions the next day. Such a sicko.

As far as the actual tournament went, let’s just say I was not very happy with my performance. I started off at a table that included John Phan, and Chad Batista. Needless to say the action was pretty nuts. Phan raised nearly every hand in the first few orbits, and was building a stack by betting on every street then miraculously hitting the river to make a hand every time. It’s rare when Lilholdem isn’t the most aggressive player at the table, but in this situation that was definitely the case.

I was playing decent most the day and managed to double up pretty early when I made a good call with pocket Queens on a weird board. Thankfully that table broke, and I was doing pretty well at my next table while watching Victor Ramdin go from an incredibly short stack, which looked humongous because it was made entirely of ante chips, to a commanding stack by getting it all in behind no less than 4 times in one hour and winning every time. Late in the night a donkey of a Brazilian player decided that he needed to move in his entire stack of 20 big blinds while in early position with pocket 5s, I looked down at two beautiful Kings and pushed my stack in to isolate the player. Why wouldn’t there be a 5 on the flop?  Good play is always rewarded.

I went on to the next day incredibly short stacked but was able to double up twice, once with Kings and once with A-9o against Queens. A few hands after the second doubled up I decided to reraise an incredibly aggressive online player who goes by the name of Gbmantis online with A-Qo. When it folded back to him he instantly moved all in and he had me covered. My thinking at the time was that I was only showing down solid hands and he wouldn’t do this very light, so after I time banked I decided to dump it. I ran into him later in the trip and his thinking was incredibly different, since he told me he had K-4o that hand. Could I have gotten anymore owned? Oh well, the next orbit he again raised in late position and this time I moved all in on him with A-Ts from the small blind, the only problem was the player in the big blind woke up w A-Qs and moved all in behind me. I think I flopped a flush draw, but the turn and river brought bricks and it was all over.

I’m looking forward to some more great experiences this time around, and am optimistic that I will end up fairing much better in the tournament. Look for the complete recap of this year’s PCA in my next entry.

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