One member of the team, Joan Sandoval, placed 6th in the $5000 GTD at PPC Aruba last year and is looking forward to playing the Main Event this year.
“I know a lot of my competition in Aruba, actually. I know it is going to be a tough crowd with a lot of good professional players” said Joan from her home in Wisconsin. “My strategy in any bigger tournament is to play one hand at a time and concentrate on just my table and not so much everyone around me. I like to just study the people and limit big pots in the beginning and try to play premium hands...try to get a solid image on the table so I can make my occasional bluff.”
Joan will be joined by Tim O’Keefe and John Curcuru, both professional poker players.
When he’s not grinding online, Tim plays mostly in casinos in Texas where he lives and in nearby Oklahoma. He also travels to Foxwoods a few times a year. This is the third time that Tim, who only recently quit his day job and turned pro, has won his way to a major live tournament like this.
No stranger to the casinos of Las Vegas where he lives, this is the second Caribbean junket for John. Also an avid chess player, John joined the Living the Dream team at the TKPT tournament in St Maarten this spring.
“It’s great travelling with a group like this,” said John. “The camaraderie really helps you cope with the pressure of the tournament. They took very good care of us last time so I’m really looking forward to joining them again!”
The fourth member of the team is Texas poker mom Ashley Hine. Ashley works with her father building luxury custom homes but hits the casino several times a week. PPC Aruba will be her fourth live tourney.
“I expect the players to be a smart, tight group, everyone hoping to make money and make a name for themselves. I think it’ll take massive determination and discipline. I always say it’s not the hands you, play but the folds you make that can make you a great player.”
All four online satellite tournament champions won $5000 prize packages that include $2,400 buy-in to the Main Event (November 4th – 7th) and accommodation on Palm Beach at the Hilton or Hyatt Resort. Their prize packages also include travel expenses, one $200 tournament buy-in and one $300 buy-in.
The PPC Aruba World Championship is one of the most exotic stops on the Poker Players Championships circuit, now in its fourth season, which includes high stakes events all over America.