PokerStars will end the extended PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2019 (PCA) on a high, with a five-year prize pool record at its $10k Main Event.
Carlos Monti - Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.

PokerStars will end the extended PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2019 (PCA) on a high, with a five-year prize pool record at its $10k Main Event.

In total, 771 players entered the PCA Main, of which 94 re-entered. Combined, the 865 entries built a prize pool of $8,390,500, its largest since 2015.

In represents a near 50% increase on the turnout of the event last year, and it nudges out the previous high in 2015 when 816 players entered the tournament.

The data is a little skewed as the Main Event was cut to a $5000 buy-in in 2016 and 2017, resulting in a smaller prize pools but higher turnouts. Yet even by that metric, 2019 stands up admirably. Despite it costing twice as much, it attracted more entries than in 2017, during its ill-fated Championship Bahamas rebrand, which attracted on 738 players.

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PokerStars will be relieved at the high turnout of the PCA events. It was unknown whether the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) would have a positive or negative knock-on effect on attendance in the PCA events, most of which started after the PSPC concluded.

On one hand, the PSPC, via its Platinum Pass system, attracted hundreds of players who would otherwise not come to The Bahamas; some of these—particularly those who had success at the $25,000 buy-in event—may well have been tempted to stick around to play PCA events.

That, in turn, could attract many serious poker players back to the Atlantis Resort & Casino to play the whole series, many who have skipped the annual PCA series in years past.

On the other hand, it has extended the total duration of poker in The Bahamas by an extra five days. Players may have been attracted to play the PSPC but flown home rather than stick around for more events.

The data now shows that the former is the case—the PSPC has had a positive impact on the turnout at the other events. Not only has the Main Event hit a five-year high, but the $100,000 Super High Roller also set a similar record.

For players on the felt, there is still a lot of action remaining. The Main Event is currently on Day 3 with, at the time of writing, 35 players remaining. We are already deep into cashes, with the top 127 spots making the money.

A few more levels will play today; then tomorrow, Day 4 will likely play down to 6 or 8 players. On Wednesday, January 16, the Final Table will conclude with a winner. The first place prize is set at $1,567,100. Second place will pay just under $1 million.

Currently leading the pack is Canada’s Scott Wellenbach. He has had some success before—most notably, an 18th place finish at the Championship Barcelona last year for $70,000. But he is here in The Bahamas as a PokerStars qualifier. If he were to win, it would be another dream result for PokerStars, still riding the high of the Ramon Colillas win.

Also getting underway today is the $25,000 High Roller. A high turnout in this event is now expected given the number of players who are clearly still in The Bahamas to play high stakes poker.

You can watch the official PokerStars live stream of Day 3 of the PCA Main Event below.