The first ever PokerStars Championship event kicks off Friday January 6 in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. The new “Championship” branding which replaces stops on the European Poker Tour, North American Poker Tour, Latin American Poker Tour and Asia-Pacific Poker Tour immediately becomes one of the premier poker tours in the world.
Players From Around The Globe
Demonstrating the popularity of the stop in the Bahamas—formerly the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), more than 259 online qualifiers from over 40 countries won their into the Main Event including a record 135 qualifiers that will make their way to the Atlantis after playing special $10 Spin & Go satellites on PokerStars. The Spin & Go prize package included a Main Event seat and an additional $5000 for travel and accommodations.
Corey Cawdell-Howland will be one of two players travelling over 10,000 miles to attend the event. “Currently I am not working, I am travelling down the coast of Australia,” Cawdell-Howland said.
“I grew up on Vancouver Island living between Victoria and Comox Valley but I have been traveling down under the last year and a half,” he continued. “This is my first major live event, and the chance to travel to the Bahamas to play poker is pretty crazy to me. I’m excited to see the atmosphere and also being able to bring a friend down who I haven’t seen in a couple years is going to be great.”
26 year old Marek Vosang, who qualified in a Spin & Go and lists his occupation as “backpacker in Australia,” opened his PokerStars account only six months ago. “My biggest win is under 100 dollars,” Vosang admits. “Spin & Go is one of my favorite [games]. I really like to play and try to win different amounts.”
Vosang, originally from Estonia, has only seen the Bahamas in photographs. “To go there, taste their local food and try different traditions is a very big deal for me. I like to see local life and people. This will be my first ever PokerStars event. I’m so excited to see and try my luck over there. Hopefully everything will go well. It’s a very big deal for me to play at the same event as so many famous players.”
The only qualifier from India, 36 year old Sacheen Ramchandani, has never played in a live poker tournament. On qualifying, Ramchandani said: “Honestly it was a fluke. I was like let’s see what this is all about and I played $27 Satellite.”
Like many recreational poker players, Ramchandani is most looking forward to “meeting the pros.”
PokerStars Pros expected to be in attendance include Daniel Negreanu, who tops the all-time money list with more than $32.6 million in live poker tournament winnings, Jason Somerville, Vanessa Selbst, Andre Akkari, Jason Mercier, Liv Boeree, Fatima Moreira De Melo, Bertrand 'ElkY’ Grospellier, Chris Moneymaker, Celina Lin, Barry Greenstein, Victor Ramdin, Jake Cody and Felipe 'Mojave’ Ramos.
PokerStars Championship Bahamas Attracts All Ages
At 19, Peter Thosgaard from Denmark is the youngest qualifier to win his way to the Bahamas. In what will be his first ever live event, Thosgaard admitted: “I’m a bit nervous.”
Canada produced the oldest qualifier, as Morris Dadoun clocks in at an amazing 84 years young. Though Dadoun has been playing poker home games for more than 40 years, the PokerStars Championship Bahamas will be his first official live poker event.
“I would like to meet some champions and have the opportunity to play poker with them,” Dadoun said.
63 year old Wayne Gerichten from Toms River, New Jersey won his way to the Bahamas via a freeroll on PokerStars.
After taking the chip lead midway through the tournament, Gerichten could feel things were going his way. “I was so confident in the final 50 players, that I was already researching the accommodations and the itinerary of going to the PokerStars Championship Bahamas,” Gerichten said.
“My son had called me and wished me luck through the last couple tables, but he told me not to get ahead of myself and concentrate, LOL, little did he know, that nothing could stop me from steamrolling all the way through to the win :)”