The Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure Is No More
After 16 years, most of which spent one of the leading live stops on the international poker scene, PokerStars has decided to end the event, according to reports from PocketFives.
The phrase comes at the end of the linked piece, in a quote from PokerStars Marketing Director Eric Hollreiser.
“It’s no secret that the PCA lost momentum after 15 successful years, and there’s more and more criticism of the situation,” said Hollreiser. “As such, we will not return to Paradise Island in 2020.”
History of the PCA
PCA began as a partnership with the World Poker Tour, which took place in 2004 on a cruise ship and housed a field of 221 players. Poker legend Gus Hansen would ship the opening event, then a buy-in worth $ 7,500, for $ 455,780.
The following year, the PCA moved to its famous home at Atlantis Resort, the sprawling and opulent set-up that occupies nearly half of Paradise Island.
Over the years there, the series would eventually become part of the PokerStars’ European Poker Tour, with buy-in bites developing up to 10,300 DOLLARS. It would eventually stand as one of only a few remaining 10K major events on the entire live schedule, though the buy-in fell to $ 5,300 for a few years, including one year, the event was held in PokerStars Championship Bahamas in the year Renamed in 2017.
The PCA reached its peak in terms of prizes awarded in 2009, when little-known Canadian Poorya Nazari won a monstrous official first place of $ 3 million, although it was widely reported that a deal had been hit at some point before the finish was. In terms of entries, the PCA Main Event reached its peak in the two following years, when 1,529 and 1,560 respectively emerged.
The main event was far from the only big draw at PCA. It also hosted some of the first and biggest 100K events in poker before that was just another tournament in the procession of the High Roller. The 25K High Roller was also usually one of the best-visited in the calendar.
Falling Number Of Participants
While the PCA has been counting itself as a first-class live poker stop for years, it has been down to some tough times in recent years.
With visitor numbers peaking in 2011, the lack of online satellites for North American gamblers helped drive visitor numbers down to 1,072 in 2012 – about two-thirds of the year-ago total. As the poker environment hardened and the margins shrank, so did the appeal of an expensive stay at an island resort.
Another decline of about 20 percent – from 1,031 to 816 – in 2015 convinced PokerStars Messing to try to lower the buy-in to the $ 5,300 mentioned above. The move did little, as a push of about 100 submissions only meant that the prize pool dropped massively and awarded its first winner prize under seven digits since 2005.
It only got worse the following year, and the $ 10,300 return in 2018 dropped the number of entries to 582, a level that has not been seen since 2005.
The PCA got a big shot in the arm in 2019 when the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship was announced. While the seminal event would run parallel to the PCA Main Event, the temptation of the most lucrative 25K in history was enough to bring in many grinders and push the Main Event attendance back up to 865 for Chino Rheem’s victory.
However, this always seemed to be a temporary solution as the PSPC was considered a one-time business and it seemed unlikely that it would be repeated every year. With the news that the event will move to Barcelona for 2020, it was confirmed that there would be no similar liferaft to keep the 2020 PCA afloat and PokerStars decided to end the long-term event rather than the continuing decline take risk.
Aside from restarting some time along the way, that means Rheem will go on to become the last PCA Main Event Champion, closing the books on one of poker’s longest running and most lucrative tournament series.