The PPC Poker Tour (PPC) is gearing up for the PPC Aruba World Championship from October 15-21, 2014 at the Radisson Aruba Resort, and in preparation for the $2,200 buy-in $200,000 Guarantee Main Event the tour has added online legend Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon as a PPC Aruba Team Pro alongside the likes of Joe Ebanks and Alex Outhred.
The PPC has also added Player’s Bar in Madison, Wisc. — the place where Phil Hellmuth cut his chops before winning the 1989 World Series of Poker Main Event — as an official sponsor. You may recall that Player's Bar, a staple in the Wisconsin poker community, made headlines when it was robbed by two armed men back in May.
"Mark is a great ambassador to the Wisconsin poker community and a welcome addition to our PPC Team,” said Sandy Swartzbaugh, Commissioner of the PPC. “Adding the legendary Player’s Bar in Madison as an official sponsor will create opportunities for the great players of Wisconsin to come back to Aruba."
With more than $2 million in poker earnings both live and online, Kroon has established himself as one of the most colorful characters in poker. With a WSOP Circuit ring in 2011 and a top ten finish in the WSOP Circuit POY standings that same year, Kroon, who is close friends with Hellmuth and a former host of the Poker Brat Radio Show, received 15 minutes of fame after finishing as the overall chip leader on both Day 1 and 2 of the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
PokerNews had the chance to sit down with Kroon to talk about the PPC, Player’s Bar, and more.
PokerNews: What inspired your to become a PPC Pro for the upcoming PPC Aruba World Championship?
Kroon: I'm so pumped to be going back to Aruba. That is really why I wanted to get involved with the PPC. Without online poker there are really no more satellites into small events at great places like Aruba. Every year after that Aruba was the one date that was always highlighted on the schedule. I got to know every bartender, waiter, and dealer on the island, which is so small and that everyone there really appreciates us being there.
You’ve been to Aruba many times before. Any highlights that stand out?
I’ve been to Aruba eight times and made some of the best friends of my life. I really would love to share that with others. My second year in Aruba I bubbled the final table after we started with 700 players. It was a World Poker Tour event back then, and when we did the redraw at 18 players I had Mike Matusow, John Juanda, Chris Moneymaker, Chris Ferguson, and Layne Flack at my table. That was my first real cash and 11 away from a million, but what a great first experience.
Your bar in Madison, Player’s Bar, is now a sponsor of the PPC. What role will your establishment play? Will you be sending players to Aruba?
I'm going to run a couple of satellites at my bar over the next few months for the PPC. The exact dates are not set yet, but we hope to get five to eight players to Aruba. Next year though I really think we, along with other properties, will send 100 players from Wisconsin.
I understand another friend of yours, Jon Green, is also getting involved. What can you tell us about that?
Jon Green at Kearns Motor Car is running a promo to send his customers to Aruba to support Wisconsin poker players. It's a really cool promo with local radio station 93.1 Jamz. Anyone that buys a car in August gets a three-night stay at the Rui Palace Aruba Resort, which is all-inclusive and an official PPC Aruba property for the series in addition to the Radisson. Plus, the radio station is sending their DJ, "Fish," and one of their listeners to Aruba. It should be fun.
What would you tell those who are on the fence about traveling to Aruba for the PPC?
The cool part about the PPC is the Main Event is a $2,200 buy-in $200,000 guarantee, but the five days leading up to it has a lot of $100-$300 buy-ins. The hotel is all inclusive, so it’s very affordable for players that win their way in. Plus, they can bring their friends to play as there are plenty of satellites in Aruba. Finally, unlike any other place, if and when you get knocked out, instead of taking that long walk back to the room, you can head to the beach and have a drink. You really can't lose.
For more information on the PPC Aruba World Championship, visit PPCPokerTour.com.