PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Brand

PokerStars Bringing Back PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Brand

Perhaps realizing that it was not the best idea in the world to change something that worked, PokerStars will bring back the popular PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) live tournament festival in January 2018.

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
Photo credit: PokerStars.com / Neil Stoddart

In a press release, PokerStars announced that the PCA will return to its home at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas from January 6th through January 14th, 2018.

The inaugural PCA was on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas cruise ship in 2004, moving to Atlantis the following year. It was originally part of the World Poker Tour, but moved to the European Poker Tour in 2008. When PokerStars retired the European Poker Tour brand after last year’s season and created the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival live tours, the PCA became the first tournament of the PokerStars Championship.

It was no longer called the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, though, becoming the less interesting PokerStars Championship Bahamas. There was no mention in the press release as to whether or not the PCA is now technically part of the PokerStars Championship, but it likely is, simply a renamed PokerStars Championship Bahamas. There’s certainly no way there will be two separate major events from PokerStars at the same venue at the same time.

Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications, said of the PCA:

We’re reviewing our live events and incorporating player feedback to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality experience and exceeding player expectations whenever possible.

This feedback included suggestions that we restore the PCA name and improve the quality of that event to reflect the great heritage and unique experience that made PCA one of the most-anticipated poker events of the year. We’re restoring the name and reinvigorating the event to ensure it remains a premiere poker festival.

We will also increase the promotions around PCA in order to bring even more people and make qualifying for packages as exciting as we can. We are committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event.

So yeah, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure never really went away – its name was just changed to something boring. And now it’s a big deal that it is called the PCA again.

PokerStars is doing some interesting things with the PCA this time around, though. It sounds like it will actually be a much smaller festival than was the PokerStars Championship Caribbean. The PokerStars Championship had over 90 tournaments, but in the press release, PokerStars said the PCA will have “a streamlined and tailored schedule with over 30 tournaments.” Quality over quantity, we suppose.

And contrary to how PokerStars has been trying to focus on recreational players in its core online business, it is doing some things at next year’s PCA to cater to the deep-pocketed tournament elite. There will be three High Roller tournaments at the PCA, with buy-ins of $25,000, $50,000, and $100,000 (the last is technically called the Super High Roller and kicks off the PCA). These and any other tournaments with buy-ins over $10,000 will have their administrative fees drastically reduced. Rather than the fees topping out at $2,000, $1,500, and $750, depending on the buy-in, admin fees will be capped at $300.

Additionally, tournaments with blind levels under 20 minutes will see their fees slashed by 50 percent. PokerStars estimates that these fee reductions will save players a combined $300,000.

The complete schedule for the 2018 PCA has yet to be released, but PokerStars has said that the Main Event will once again have a $10,000 buy-in ($10,300 counting fees). It was historically $10,000 throughout most of its existence since 2004, but the buy-in was cut to $5,000 in 2016, likely to try to attract more players. This didn’t really work. True, the 2016 PCA Main Event had 928 players, up from 816 the year before, but this year, the field had just 738 players, the lowest since 2006.

In 2008 through 2014, the Main Event of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure had more than 1,000 players all but one year and in that one year, 2013, there were 987 entrants. PokerStars may have realized that the problem recently wasn’t the buy-in but perhaps the festival itself.

PokerStars seems to also be trying to make things more fun, something the PCA has traditionally been known for. There will be all sorts of “player activities” and “competitions” away from the poker tables, a huge player party will be held, $200 swag bags will be distributed, and comedian/actor Kevin Hart will go heads-up against the universe’s sprint champion, Usain Bolt.

Of course, PokerStars.com will be holding all kinds of satellites in order to send “at least 400 players” to the PCA, as Hollreiser said in the earlier quote.

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