PokerStars Releases Major PSPC Details

PokerStars Releases Major PSPC Details

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has been a staple in the live poker tournament circuit for more than a decade. Starting in 2004, the live series has brought online players from PokerStars to the live tables in the Bahamas – at the Atlantis Casino and Resort, no less – to compete for millions of dollars. The associated tours have changed from the World Poker Tour to the European Poker Tour, and the name of the series even changed at one point to the PokerStars Championship, but the setting and spirit of it has remained the same.

In 2019, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – commonly known as the PCA – will return to the Bahamas in January. The lineup of tournaments will boast of the same diversity in buy-ins and poker variants as it has through the years.

The PCA has always offered a main event that awarded millions in prize money, starting with Gus Hansen winning it in 2004 for more than $1.6 million and topping off in 2011 with Galen Hall taking home more than $15.1 million for the win. The last several years have also featured high roller and super high roller tournaments with buy-ins of up to $100K. But the 2019 series is going to top them all with the inaugural PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).

Details Revealed

The overall PCA schedule will begin on January 5, 2019, and it will continue through January 16. Over the course of those 12 days, a total of 41 tournaments will take place, as well as numerous satellites and cash games.

Action will begin on the first Saturday of the new year with Event 1, a $2,700 buy-in NLHE Turbo Qualifier for a $25K PSPC seat. Some of the highlighted tournaments set for the series include the two-day $5,300 NLHE Turbo (January 7-8), two-day $1,100 PCA National (January 10-11), and the six-day $10K Main Event (January 11-16). The higher buy-in events include the single-day $50K High Roller (January 9), three-day $100K Super High Roller (January 10-12), single-day $100K Super high Roller (January 12), and three-day $25K High Roller (January 14-16).

The featured tournament will be the PSPC, one that has been advertised throughout 2018 for what PokerStars hopes will be the largest-ever $25K buy-in poker tournament in history. The PSPC will require a $25K buy-in and run January 6-10 with only one starting day and registration closing at the start of the second day. There will be no reentries, and levels will be 60 minutes each until three-handed play, at which point the levels will be reduced to 30 minutes each.

The unique features of the event include no rake for PokerStars or the casino, and the addition of $1 million to the final prize pool by PokerStars.

Hundreds of Seats Awarded

Throughout 2018, PokerStars has been awarding Platinum Passes, which are essentially PSPC prize packages. Players who have won a Platinum Pass now have a $25K seat into the PSPC in January, as well as six nights of accommodations at the Atlantis Resort and $2K in travel and resort expenses. The passes are worth $30K each.

More than 300 players will hold Platinum Passes before the year is over. They have been awarded to winners of major live events around the world, winners of events on the Moneymaker PSPC Tour currently traveling the United States, online events like the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), and even through contests. It has given players in all parts of the world a chance to win.

Players Have Their Say

In an effort to make the PSPC a tournament that is by the players as much as for them, PokerStars opened up a “Have Your Say” campaign to encourage feedback. There were numerous questions posed in a survey that players could take anonymously in order to determine everything from the structure to the payouts. They had two weeks to take the survey, which was available in seven languages.

The results were tallied by weighted averages, and numerous people were consulted to iron out any final decisions. Those people included Director of Live Events Marta Norton, Tournament Director Mike Ward, PokerStars LIVE staff members, and players Maria Konnikova, Daniel Dvoress, David Peters, Shaun Deeb, and Dragos Trofimov.

Last week, the results were announced. And the questions and answers are as follows:

  1. Should the event be eight- or nine-handed? Nine-handed to start and eight-handed by the start of Day 2

  2. Should players play for eight or ten hours each day? Eight hours per day

  3. Should the eight-hour day include a dinner break? Dinner breaks will likely be implemented on Day 3

  4. What percentage of the field should be paid? Top 15%

  5. What percentage of the prize pool should be paid to first place before PokerStars adds $1 million? 5% if 600 players, 17.05% if 750 players, 16.8% for 900 players

  6. Should the PSPC use a shot clock? Yes, at the in-the-money stage, probably late on Day 2

  7. Should the PSPC use the Big Blind Ante format? Yes

  8. How many big blinds should be in a starting stack? 300 big blinds, starting stack of 60,000 and starting blinds of 100/200

  9. How much should a min-cash be worth? $34,222 if 600 players with 87 in the money, $32,974 if 750 players and 111 in the money, $32,038 if 900 players and 135 in the money

  10. What’s most important: first place, min-cash, or percentage of field paid? Percent of field paid

With the entire PCA only a few months away, players are beginning to make plans to head to the Bahamas in January, especially those with Platinum Passes. Some of their stories are chronicled here.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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