It may have seemed like a lifetime ago, but the tournament poker world has only been on hiatus for about two weeks. That slight respite from play has left hundreds of players itching to get back to the felt and the only thing that will scratch that itch is one of poker’s major tournaments. That’s right…the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is set to open play today, with a plethora of action available.
Once again back in its home at the Atlantis Resort Spa on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, the 2018 PCA is back in full swing after a one-year “dream” as the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. The PCA has traditionally been the “kickoff” for tournament poker in the New Year and 2018 isn’t breaking that tradition. In fact, the 2018 PCA is wasting no time in getting the eyes of the poker world focused on it.
Saturday will mark the start of the $100,000 Super High Roller event, which is expected to draw defending champion Jason Koon and a host of the biggest names in poker. Bryn Kenney, who made these High Roller events his specialty in 2017 (and led many Player of the Year races before being passed in December by Adrian Mateos), is already on the grounds in the Bahamas and looking to make another run at a High Roller championship (he won a $50,000 High Roller tournament at the 2017 running of this event). You can also expect to see players like Koray Aldemir, Daniel Dvoress and others picking up chips for this tournament.
Although poker may be the reason for everyone being on the island, officials with PokerStars are not making the same mistake as last year. Instead of facing a 90+ tournament schedule as they did in 2017, the 2018 PCA is a scaled back affair with 31 tournaments on the roster. That will allow for Team PokerStars Pros such as Daniel Negreanu, Jake Cody, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree and celebrity Team PokerStars members comedian Kevin Hart and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt to take part is some of the non-poker outlets at Atlantis.
As far as the Main Event, more than 300 players have already earned their seats online to be a part of the action when it begins on Wednesday. For this year, the PCA Main Event will go back to its $10,000 buy in (it had been dropped to $5000 for last year’s tournament) and, in a refreshing change for a major championship, the tournament does not allow for re-entry. Once the final players come in from the online arena and the number of tournament poker professionals come into the tournament room, it promises to be a strong turnout (estimation is difficult because of the change in buy-in; in 2017, 738 runners came to the line but, in year’s past, the numbers have been bigger).
In 2017, the then-PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event final table was one for the ages. The table featured a historic run by John Dibella, who won the PCA back in 2014 and was looking to repeat. While Dibella ran out of gas in eighth place, former “November Niner” Cliff Josephy ran through the table to reach heads up action against another top pro, Christian Harder. In what turned out to be a frenetic fight Harder, who despite a lengthy poker resume had never taken a major poker title, was able to vanquish the veteran Josephy to capture the championship and the $429,664 payday.
For a look at the full schedule for the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – including the other High Roller tournaments and side events – visit their dedicated website. There will also be a list of those tournaments that will be live streamed over PokerStars TV. After a couple of weeks of slumber, the tournament poker world is coming back to life with the start of the 2018 PCA.