Aditya Kumar goes from zero to PCA package in one weekend
What would your first reaction be if you'd just won a package to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure?
To some it's the thought of playing against some of the best players in the game. To others it's all about the destination itself, time spent exploring a literal Paradise in the Bahamas, while to others it's the anticipation of nine full days of some of the best poker there is to play.
To Aditya Kumar it was all three.
Kumar became one of the latest players to book a seat to the PCA in January, winning a package via the Ultra Satellite last weekend. He has quite a story to go with it too.
"I won the ticket on a free giveaway on the PokerStars Twitter page. I was lucky to win a free ticket and then somehow even managed to ship the ultra-satellite."
To recap, that's a free ticket from Twitter on the Saturday, and a free package to the PCA on the Sunday. Not a bad weekend, even for a five-year pro like Kumar.
"This is the biggest achievement in my poker career. One my friends asked me some time back if I had the choice to attend just one big live event [what would I choose]? I said the PCA any day, if only because of the ultra-sick location."
Kumar, 29, is one of 100 players who won packages in the Ultra Satellite on Sunday. He's also a member of a fledgling Indian poker community, making up for the lack of live poker by playing on PokerStars, and in Goa three or four times a year.
"I learnt poker in college in 2010 but I only used to play for tiny money. Then I started playing live cash games in 2011 and made decent money. In 2014 I shifted to purely playing MTTs. The buzz and thrill you get in a tournament can't [be matched] by a cash game."
Since then Kumar has had a successful time of it on the PokerStars tables, but this ranks as one of his best achievements so far, not least because of the effort involved in securing a seat.
"[The hardest part] was in the end when about 115 players were left and 100 people won a package," said Kumar. "I was in the semi-danger zone. At one point my rank was 62/115 - then I folded five hands and was [suddenly] 95/113! I was sweating big time. I remember I made a button steal shove when I was 97/108, as I was not 100 per cent guaranteed to win the seat. When it went through it was a big relief for me."
Kumar celebrated in the usual fashion, with friends railing him through to the end. It was a good night all round, with a friend ensuring he'll have company for the trip.
"One of my poker mates who is from the same city was also in the satellite and we both won the package together! My friends were happy and jealous of me at the same time as it's every poker player's dream to go there one time."
All of which takes us back to where we started, and what is now a long to-do list when he touches down at the PCA in January.
"a) Meet all the top pros who I only saw on TV. Hell yeah!!"
"b) Go out as much as I can and explore Paradise Island. (Hopefully I don't get to do this as I want to make it to the final table of the Main Event!)."
"c) If I bust the Main Event early I will try to play some side events."
"d) Do everything there is to do on the island."
"It's a dream destination so for the nine days when I am there I will be in fantasy land, just trying to absorb the whole experience."
Not a bad plan at all.
You can join him, and hundreds of other players who have already won packages to the PCA, via any one of the satellites running in the PokerStars Lobby. Each package, worth nearly $16,000, includes your Main Event seat, accommodation at the Atlantis Resort, return flights to the Bahamas as well as spending money when you get there. Check out the PCA page on PokerStarsLive for details.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.