PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Folds After 16-Year Run
The Stars Group has made official the end of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, one of the longest-running live poker festivals that was directly tied to an online-poker site. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, or PCA, dates all the way back to 2004, running for 16 straight years as a post New Year’s gathering in usually sunny Nassau, in the Bahamas.
PokerStars gave the formal news of the PCA’s demise to veteran poker reporter Lance Bradley at PocketFives, while the prominent PokerStars blog featured a personal eulogy of sorts by long-time Stars blogger Brad Willis.
In its early years, when PokerStars actively served almost all of the United States, the PCA served as a major post-holidays attraction, getting most calendar years off to a flying start and making the names and careers of numerous players. Once the US was frozen out of the online-qualifier pool by the notorious 2011 “Black Friday”, the PCA became a somewhat harder sell. For several years, the stop was added to the Stars-run European Poker Tour (EPT), though being several thousand miles away from Europe, it was at best a shoehorned fit into that event family as well.
Add in some slowly increasing player dissatisfaction with the venue and certain elements of the travel necessary to reach Nassau, where the PCA was held, and the festival suffered fro slowly dwindling attendance that eventually meant the end of the PCA’s run. The devastation caused by the recent Hurricane Dorian likely had little effect on something that was already in progress for some time, meaning plans to shutter the PCA; the cataclysmic damage the storm caused was more severe in the Abacos and on Grand Bahama, which comprise the northern part of the Bahamas. Nassau and other southern Bahamas islands were spared the very worst and have already started to reopen the tourist services central to the islands’ economy.
For what it’s worth, the PCA will go down in history as having had a pretty great run, and if a significant part of the US’s population ever again gets to play on Stars-branded sites, the series could return.
“It’s no secret that after 15 successful years, the PCA [prior to last year’s PSPC] has been losing momentum and there’s been increasing player criticism of the location,” PokerStars Marketing Director Eric Hollreiser told Bradley. “As such, we will not be returning to Paradise Island in 2020. PokerStars and our players have had some great success at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas over a strong 13-year run, and we have very many fond memories of ringing in the New Year with our PCA. Our research, alongside player feedback, has shown, however, that it is time for a change to keep things fresh and give our players what they are asking for.”
In the meantime, PokerStars will focus more of its marketing and branding efforts on the PokerStars Players Champsionship (PSPC). The PSPC was held as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival but will now be spun up into its own gathering. It’s also being moved, to Barcelona, Spain, a location where Stars has had years of success in drawing big numbers of players.