PokerStars has dominated the online poker market for over a decade and has made significant strides in making a big impression on the live circuit with a number of popular tournaments. One of the brand’s most popular tournaments was the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) which has been around since its launch in 2004.
Over the years, the PCA has been through a number of changes as PokerStars tried different ways to improve the tournament and make it more attractive to players from around the world. Those efforts haven’t paid off as well as PokerStars would have liked and as a result it appears that PokerStars has decided to put an end to the PCA.
Eric Hollreiser, MD for PokerStars said that the PCA had been a very popular stop for the brand for the last 15 years but the tournament has continued to lose steam with each passing year and there were player complaints about the location of the PCA. The brand made a decision to stop returning to Paradise Island and wind up the PCA.
Why Was The PCA So Popular with Players
The PCA partnered with the World Poker Tour (WPT) to launch the inaugural edition of the tournament on a cruise ship. It received a decent response as 221 players paid the $7,500 buy-and created a nice prize pool. The event was taken down by Gus Hansen who walked away with $455,780. The PCA received the publicity it wanted and the next year it moved to Atlantis Resort located in Paradise Island.
The PCA generally took place at the start of each year and it was a great opportunity for poker players to head down to the Bahamas and start their year with a beach holiday and some fun poker action. PokerStars would go on to place the PCA under the European Poker Tour (EPT) banner and raise the Main Event buy-in to $10,300. The PCA was one of the few main events that continued to have a $10,000 plus buy-in and tended to attract high stake poker players from around the world.
PCA Has Struggled For Sometime
For a poker tournament to be truly successful, it needs to keep growing each year. In this regard, the PCA failed and PokerStars tried its best to experiment and make changes to see if it can boost player participation but it wasn’t able to turn things around.
PokerStars dropped the buy-in from $10,300 to $5,300 for two editions of the tournament but the lower buy-in did not make much of a difference. The PCA was also rebranded into the PokerStars Championship Bahamas and changes were made to the different events on offer but that did not go down well with the players and PokerStars changed it back to the PCA in 2018.
While the PCA Main Event was the biggest draw on the schedule, there were also a number of other popular events that took place over the years including the $25K High Roller. Despite a string of attractive events, player participation continued to decline especially from 2011.
One main reason for the big drop in player registrations in 2012 was due to the lack of online satellites available to US players. This was due to the infamous Black Friday situation. Numbers dropped by nearly 60 percent and the PCA was never the same after this. The 2015 PCA saw numbers drop by another 20 percent as only 816 players registered.
The 2018 edition of the PCA saw only 582 player registrations which was the lowest level since 2005. PokerStars tried to give the PCA new life by launching its inaugural PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) in Jan 2019 in the Bahamas. The PSPC had a $25,000 buy-in and helped in boosting the 2019 PCA Main Event numbers back to 865.
PCA Comes To An End
PokerStars will run a second edition of the PSPC but this time around it will not take place in the Bahamas as it is scheduled to be held in August 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. With no PSPC to boost the PCA in 2020, PokerStars decided to pull the plug on the PCA.