The PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventure (PCA) at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas becomes a tropical Mecca for poker players every January. The best of the best in the world converge onto tiny Paradise Island to compete in the largest non-WSOP prize pool. Rounders from all over the planet battled it out at the 2009 PCA. A horde of online qualifiers, particularly the premier online poker pros in the world, made up the bulk of the 1,347 player field. An amateur player and student from Canada named Poorya Nazari won the $10,000 buy-in main event championship. He collected a cool $3 million for his hard work at the tables. Nazari bested a final table that included former WPT champion Kevin "BelowAbove" Saul and a two bracelet winners in Dan Heimiller and Brazil's Alexandre Gomes.
In addition to the main event championship, the 2009 PCA had expanded to include several side events featuring a $5,000 NL tournament and a $25,000 High Rollers Event. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier won the 2008 PCA championship but failed to defend his crown this year. The Team PokerStars Pro from France did not leave the Bahamas empty handed. He won the first ever $25,000 High Rollers side event at the PCA. A total of 48 players entered the High Rollers event and competed for a total prize pool worth over $1.2 million. The deep field featured former WSOP champions Greg Raymer, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson and Joe Hachem. Also playing in the high rollers event were Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Dario Minieri, Erik Seidel, Antonio Esfandiari, and tennis legend Boris Becker.
ElkY's final table that included a couple tough veteran high stakes cash game players in Danny Alaei and Eli Elezra. Also at the final table were young guns Nick Schulman and Scott Seiver, and the always highly entertaining Humberto Brenes. ElkY eventually beat Will Molson (from the famous Molson beer royal family in Canada) heads up for the victory. ElkY collected $433,500 for first place and threw a wild party at the nightclub in Atlantis a couple hours after he had won.
"It feels great," said ElkY. "Last year's main event was bigger but this means a lot. The field was so prestigious and I played very well against good players. This will be a great memory for me."
Hevad "RainKahn" Khan won one of the other side events. Prior to the 2007 WSOP main event where he made the final table, Khan was most known as the guy who got his account frozen by PokerStars because they thought he was a bot since he played so many tables at once they did not think it was humanly possible. Khan sent the security team at PokerStars a video of himself playing 24 simultaneous SNG tables and they quickly unfroze his account. At the 2009 PCA, Khan faded a field of 439 players to win the $2,000 NL event. He collected $200,000 after he beat Rick Fuller heads up for the win. Khan is on a mission this year... and that is to become the 2009 Player of the Year. He's off to a positive start with his victory in one of the PCA side events.
2009 WSOP main event champion Peter Eastgate won his first major tournament since he bested his November Nine counterparts a couple of months ago in Las Vegas. Eastgate won the $5,000 NL side event at the PCA which featured an impressive 373 runners. Eastgate collected $343,000 for his victory. The 22-year old from Denmark wasn't going to play in the $5K and intended to relax on the beach and enjoy some fun in the sun. When he woke up that morning of the $5K, he realized that it was cloudy outside, so he decided to play the tournament instead. The bad weather resulted in a nice score for Eastgate. I wonder if he tipped the local weatherman?
Paul "Dr. Pauly" McGuire is a writer, poker player, and avid traveler from New York City. He's the author of the Tao of Poker blog which can be found at taopoker.blogspot.com. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.