A Historical Look at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
Is there a better way to kick off the New Year than with a series of poker tournaments in one of the world’s most exotic locations? That has been the appeal of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) for nine years running. The event has gone through a few transformations throughout the years, but it seems the stop, which is part of the European Poker Tour, has found a enduring home on Paradise Island at the Atlantis Casino and Resort.
This year’s event will run for 10 days, from Jan. 4 through 14, and will feature 41 events including the $10,000 Main Event, $100,000 Super High Roller, $25,000 High Roller, $1,000 Women's Event, and a slew of PokerStars $5,000 Championships. Last year, Galen Hall cleared a field of 1,560 players to claim an impressive $2.3 million first-place prize and became an instant star in the poker world.
Anticipation has never been higher for the PCA, as evidenced by the throng of pros flocking to the island, but did you know the inaugural event wasn’t even on land at all? Indeed, the 2004 tournament took place on the high seas of the Caribbean, the first stop on our look back at all things PCA.
Hansen Captain of the High Seas
In 2004, the PCA was held on a cruise ship that trolled the Caribbean Sea. That year, 221 players forked over $7,500 and played in what was then a World Poker Tour event.
It was a success, but the event was actually quite small — at least by today’s standards. In fact, the entire 2004 prize pool was less than recent first-place prizes. As Roy Scheider’s character, Chief Martin Brody, says in Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Given that they don’t make many boats bigger than a cruise ship, PokerStars called an audible and approached Bahamian officials, who had just begun to allow poker on their island in 2005. A deal was struck, and just like that, Atlantis on Paradise Island became the new home of the PCA.
2004 PCA Main Event Results
Field Doubles in 2005
The field more than doubled from 221 to 461 in the PCA's second year. The event attracted some of poker’s most notable players, including Amnon Filippi (66th), Steve Billirakis (39th), Greg Raymer (32nd), Erick Lindgren (21st), Allen Cunningham (16th), and Patrik Antonius (12th).
That year, Englishman John Gale satellited his way into the Main Event and ended up winning the $890,600 top prize.
2005 PCA Main Event Results
|5th||“Miami” John Cernuto||$155,800|
More Than a Million to First
The next year, 724 players entered the PCA, creating a prize pool of $5,647,200 with nearly $1.4 million reserved for the winner. This marked the first time the winner of the event would receive more than a million dollars, a tradition that still stands. In fact, recent winners have received upward of $2 million, with one even receiving $3 million.
The winner in 2006, Steve-Paul Ambrose, Waterloo, Ontario, received $1,388,600 after defeating Brook Lyter in heads-up play. Interestingly, Ambrose has gone on to make two more deep runs in the PCA Main Event, finishing 20th in 2007 as he attempted to defend his title, good for $36,026; and in 2010, when he placed 72nd out of 1,529 players for $33,000.
2006 PCA Main Event Results
2007: A Year of Transition
The PCA had grown each year since its inception, and 2007 was no different as the field grew to 937 players. Furthermore, 2007 was the last year the event was part of the WPT.
By that time, the tournament had grown to be so prestigious that the vast majority of poker’s elite traveled to the Bahamas to test their luck. This was evidenced by a stacked final table that included Jonathan Little, Robery Mizrachi, and Isaac Haxton. Interestingly, the final 13 players that year were all from the United States.
In the end, Ryan Daut outlasted them all to seize the $1,535,255 first-place prize.
2007 PCA Main Event Results
Enter the EPT
After the PCA found a new home on the European Poker Tour in 2008, the field surpassed 1,000 players (1,136 entries) for the first time. It also marked the first time the winner would receive $2 million in prize money. It was quite the coincidence that the first year the PCA was on the EPT, a European won it — Bertrand “ElkY” Grosspellier.
This marked the first major victory for Grospellier, who is now a Team PokerStars Pro, will be representing PokerStars at this year’s PCA, starting with the Super High Roller.
2008 PCA Main Event Results
|1st||Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier||$2,000,000|
Poor No More, $3 Million to First
The PCA had boasted a buy-in of $7,800 or lower in previous years, but 2009 marked the first time the event would flirt with the $10,000 mark. Amazingly, even with the buy-in increase, the field grew for the fifth year in a row, attracting 1,347 players. What’s more, the winner of that year, Poorya Nazari, received the largest prize in PCA history — $3 million.
2009 PCA Main Event Results
Gimbel Turns $1,000 into $2.2 Million
The 2010 PCA continued the tradition of increased attendance, though the first-place prize was lowered to a prudent $2.2 million, allowing for deeper payouts. As for the winner, Harrison Gimbel, then 19, from Jupiter, Florida, won a $1,000 satellite the day before the Main Event and managed to turn that into a $2.2 million payday.
2010 PCA Main Event Results
The Biggest and Best Yet
The poker world waited with bated breath to see if the 2011 field could surpass that of 2010. Even though it wasn’t by a huge margin, the 2011 PCA did just that, attracting 1,560 entrants — 31 more than the preceding year. All eyes were on Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker as he made a deep run, but he ultimately fell short of the final table, finishing in 11th place.
The final table itself revolutionized the poker industry by sequestering players and airing the final table live on ESPN. It was a crazy final table, one that is remembered for one of the PCA’s most astonishing hand. It began when Galen Hall raised to 450,000 from the button holding and Chris Oliver defended from the big blind with . When the flop fell , Oliver check-called a bet of 575,000 from Hall, leading to the turn.
The card gave Oliver trips, but he checked and Hall checked behind. The river was disaster for Hall as he hit a straight but Oliver filled up. The latter coyly checked and Hall fired out 2 million. Oliver thought for a few moments before moving all-in. To call would mean Hall’s tournament life, and after a tanking for several minutes, he laid down his straight. Not only was it the right decision, but it led Hall to victory and $2.3 million prize.
Hall will be in at this year’s PCA and no doubt has a title defense on his mind.
2011 PCA Main Event Results
Who will be the next player to join the following list and cement their legacy as a PCA champion?
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Champions
|2008||Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier||$2,000,000|
Not everyone can become a Main Event champ, but there will be plenty of other opportunities to find fame and fortune at this year’s PCA, with 41 events to choose from. Below is the entire PCA schedule. You can also visit pokerstarscaribbeanadventure.com for more information.
2012 PCA Schedule
|Jan 5||12:00||Event #1 Super High Roller “8 Max” Re-Entry||$100,000|
|Jan 6||17:00||Event #2 NL - One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event||$1,100|
|Jan 6||19:00||Event #3 NL - One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event||$1,100|
|Jan 7||12:00||Event #4 Main Event||$10,300|
|Jan 7||14:00||Event #5 PLO—Turbo—“8 Max”||$5,200|
|Jan 7||17:00||Event #6 NL - One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event||$1,100|
|Jan 7||19:00||Event #7 NL - One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event||$1,100|
|Jan 8||14:00||Event #8 NL—Turbo—“8 Max”||$5,200|
|Jan 8||18:00||Event #9 NL—Hold’em—Turbo—Bounty||$2,250|
|Jan 8||19:00||Event #10 PLO—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 9||12:00||Event #11 NL—Canada Cup—Live Final Table!||Invitation|
|Jan 9||13:00||Event #12 NL—Hold’em—“8 Max”||$5,250|
|Jan 9||15:00||Event #13 H. O. E. - $25K GTD||$1,100|
|Jan 9||17:00||Event #14 NL – Hold’em – Win the Button!||$1,100|
|Jan 9||19:00||Event #15 PLO—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 10||12:00||Event #16 NL—Hold’em||$2,150|
|Jan 10||13:00||Event #17 PokerStars PLO Championships “8 Max”||$5,250|
|Jan 10||15:00||Event #18 Omaha 8/Stud 8 $25K GTD||$1,100|
|Jan 10||17:00||Event #19 NLHE- "Survivor" - $10K Prize 20 Min Levels||$1,100|
|Jan 10||19:00||Event #20 NL—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 11||12:00||Event #21 NL – Hold’em –“6 Max”||$1,100|
|Jan 11||13:00||Event #22 PokerStars 8 Game Championships||$5,250|
|Jan 11||17:00||Event #23 NLHE- "Ante Only"||$1,100|
|Jan 11||19:00||Event #24 NL—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 12||12:00||Event #25 NL – Hold’em||$1,100|
|Jan 12||13:00||Event #26 High Roller “8 Max” Re-Entry||$25,000|
|Jan 12||15:00||Event #27 PLO--"8 Max" Dealer's Choice 4 or 5 Cards||$1,100|
|Jan 12||17:00||Event #28 NL—Turbo||$2,150|
|Jan 12||18:00||Event #29 Super Sat to Women's Event "3 SEATS ADDED!"||$220|
|Jan 12||19:00||Event #30 NL—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 13||12:00||Event #31 World Cup of Poker||Invitation|
|Jan 13||12:00||Event #32 NL—Hold’em—Turbo—Bounty||$2,250|
|Jan 13||13:00||Event #33 PokerStars Heads Up Championships (64 Cap)||$5,250|
|Jan 13||14:00||Event #34 Women’s Event||$1,100|
|Jan 13||15:00||Event #35 TwoPlusTwo.com—Players Choice Event||$600|
|Jan 13||17:00||Event #36 NL—Hold’em—Rivers||$1,100|
|Jan 13||19:00||Event #37 NL—Turbo||$300|
|Jan 13||19:00||Event #38 NL—PokerStars VIP Club Freeroll||Invitation|
|Jan 14||12:00||Event #39 PCA Battleship||$2,100|
|Jan 14||12:00||Event #40 NL - Turbo Edition of PCA Main Event - 15 Min Levels - 25K GTD||$300|
|Jan 14||13:00||Event #41 NL—Turbo—“6 Max”—High Roller||$10,200|
|Jan 14||20:30||PokerStars PCA Party||Invitation|