Laura “candylaustar” Garzon had a long road to the PCA.
It started with a 2 FPP rebuy qualifier in the PCA Megapath on PokerStars. Garzon then busted a few times and had to rebuy twice.
Luckily for her, that’s all it took to advance as she only had 7 FPPs in her account at the time.
Garzon then rode those 6 FPPs through all the qualifying steps until she reached the final.
There she had to battle through a final table with Team PokerStars Online Mickey Petersen, 2011 PCA runner-up Chris Oliver, 2011 WSOPE main event champion, Elio Fox and 2014 EPT Grand Final final-tablist Kenny Hicks.
Garzon, a small Colombian girl with a smile full of braces, took them all down and won her seat to the 2015 PCA main event.
“I knew I was gonna win [the seat],” Garzon said. “From the beginning, I knew I’d win.”
She still had to make it to the event though.
Laura Garzon Gets to PCA Via Hospital
On her way to the tournament, Garzon was stopped at the airport in Cuba where they threatened to send her straight back to Colombia.
Garzon had purchased most of her flights but was still missing the return flight from Nassau to Cuba.
A return ticket was needed to enter Nassau, the Cuban authorities said, and if she didn’t get one immediately Garzon would have to go back home to Ibague, Colombia.
Garzon bought the ticket and was allowed to come to the PCA. When Garzon arrived, she was tired and hungry but her room wasn’t ready and she hadn’t moved funds into her accounts yet. Then Garzon fell ill.
“I got sick to my stomach,” Garzon said. “I had to go to the hospital and I spent the night there, but I got back at around noon the next day.”
That was on Day 1a of the main event. Garzon finally got some rest but then took her seat at the biggest tournament of her life the following day.
Garzon survived and came back today 35,800.
Colombian Poker Confidence
Garzon has continued to chip up, but she still has a long way till the money. Especially since a new table draw put Martin Finger on her left.
“All the players here are really good, really really good,” Garzon said. “It’s hard, but it’s going well.”
The 21-year-old learned how to play poker four years ago in college. Her teacher is now her husband and Garzon now has a three-year-old daughter, Juanita.
Since learning to play poker, Garzon mostly stuck to online play and has very little live experience. Despite that, the innocent-looking Garzon is confident.
“I feel good, I feel confident,” Garzon said. “My goal, as a minimum, is to make the money. From there I’d just like to get as far as possible.
“I think it’d open so many doors for me, at PokerStars, in Colombia. I’d love to go deep.”
If anything, a mere cash would give Garzon an impressive ROI. A cash at this year’s PCA is worth $17,800, which would be close to $3,000 per FPP for Garzon.
Probably the next best value is a PokerStars Stress Shark Toy for 500 FPPs. There are 248 players still left in the main event and only 119 will make the money.
Garzon is currently below average, but the tiny Colombian underdog has been in far worse situations on her road to the PCA.