No doubt that PCA has been one of the famous destinations for live poker enthusiasts for the past sixteen years. Sadly, the event won’t leave to celebrate its second decade after reports have emerged of its closure. PocketFives reported that the event would be discontinued beginning next year. The move means that Sam Greenwood will go down in history as the last poker player to win at the venue. Greenwood claimed this year’s event and won $1775460 in the process.
The announcement comes at a backdrop of the link report that emanated from the PokerStars Managing Director Eric Hollreiser. The MD admitted that
“PCA has been losing momentum,” especially after coming under “increasing players’ criticism” regarding its location. Hollreiser began his statement by acknowledging that the “fifteen successful years” of the PCA cannot be wished away. It was at this point that the MD made the announcement that saw a massive blow for the poker industry. “We will not be returning to Paradise in 2020,” a part of his statement revealed.
The announcement means that the event that launched luxuriously several years ago will cease to be a major poker destination. PCA came to birth in 2004 after a partnership deal with World Poker Tour. The event that graced PCA was hosted in a cruise ship before the venue shifted to the now-popular Atlantis Resort. The first PCA event attracted 221 participants in a $7500 buy-in competition. Poker legend Gus Hansen was the player who landed the maiden glory that was worth $455780.
As aforementioned, the venue of the event then went to the magnificent Paradise Island a year after the inaugural contest. In the same location, the series nourished over a couple of years and consequently becoming part of the prestigious European Poker Tour. With such growth, the stake rose to $10300 buy-in for the experience. It’s worth noting that Atlantis Resort remained the destination for $10K live main events for a considerable period. However, the buy-in would go again to the debuting stake of $10300 for some years. In fact, the rebranding of the series to become PokerStars Championship Bahamas in 2017 found when it was a $10300 buy-in event.
2009 will remain the most memorable year in the event’s calendar that saw a player win a staggering $3 million. The little-known Canadian, Poorya Nazari stunned the other seasoned poker players to bag the highest amount the series has ever offered. However, the event attracted some controversies with several observers claiming that a deal had been reached before the contest had concluded.
The massive win for the Canadian made the series to entice more entries over the two years that followed. The PCA Main Event in the 2010 version attracted 1529 players, then a year later the event witnessed its peak 1560 participants turning up. The real climax of the series happened when the venue began hosting High Rollers $10000 buy-in events. Furthermore, PCA convened $25000 buy-in High Roller challenges, which received excellent attendance.
The beginning of the fall of PCA
After rising to such great heights, the fall of PCA was becoming imminent. It emerged that the peak period that PCA can boast of happened at the time when online poker satellites were only found in North America. As a result, PCA was enjoying some level of monopoly in the region that diminished when alternative poker arenas started cropping up.
Unconducive poker environment can be said to be another reason that contributed to the decline in entries. The year after the peak event saw the attendance shrink from 1560 to a meager 1072 entries in 2012. The event continued to struggle despite the effort that the management put to attract the crowd by lowering the wagering fee. It became vivid that the event couldn’t be revived when the entries dropped to 582 in 2018. This happened after the buy-in was adjusted back to $10300. The decline in attendance in that year was the all-time lowest since 2005 when a paltry 461 players graced operations at Atlantis Casino.