I've been lucky enough to work for PokerStars for five years. Precisely five years to the day, in fact. A lot has changed since I started in January 2008. I'm older, although I like to think a little wiser. I got married. I got way more grey hairs (those last two things are perhaps closely related). And all the while, PokerStars has continued to grow and grow.
My job is to write about all the great online promotions and live events we have on offer, with the aim being to make you want to take part. This means that for five years straight I've found myself writing about just how amazing the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is.
I write about the millions of dollars on the line. I write about how great The Bahamas and the Atlantis is. I write about all the incredible poker pros and celebrities that take part every year. It's exciting stuff, but here's the rub: I've never actually had the chance to go and experience for myself just how true my words are.
That is until now. For the past couple of years, PokerStars has been handing out PCA trips to staff members as a reward for their day-to-day work. In return for a few hours of grind helping out at the event, the chosen staff get to sample everything the venue has to offer, and this time, they chose me.
At last I get to see what all the fuss is about, and as I sit here writing this in The Bahamas, in a room full of the world's best poker players, it hasn't taken me long to figure out that everything I've ever said about this event is true.
I've been to my share of other live poker tournaments. I'm a regular in the low-stakes tourneys in London, sometimes competing against a few of the players here in the PCA main event. The fact they are here as players and I as a writer speaks volumes about my actual success at the tables however. I've also watched from the rail at some of PokerStars other major events, but I've never before witnessed anything quite like the PCA.
The main event is now in full swing, and from where I sit I can see the biggest names in poker taking part. Every other major pro is either playing the Super High Roller, the Open-Face Chinese tourney, or they are killing time as they wait for Day 1B. Their wives/girlfriends/boyfriends are outside meanwhile, enjoying the beautiful Bahamian weather and the luxury of the Atlantis (among them my own wife, because those grey hairs she gives me weren't a good enough reason not to bring her along).
This is an incredible event in a spectacular venue, with players from around the world. There's so much going on and so much excitement, even those staying at the Atlantis with no interest in poker seem to want to find out what's happening. Being here has also given me chance to see how hard my colleagues work to make these events a reality, and it's their dedication that helps make it such a success.
I always like to think that I've played some small part in the growth of the PCA in the five years I've been writing about it, and that it is was perhaps some of my content that inspired players to try and win their seat. Now I've seen it for myself, I can safely say that all the hundreds of positive adjectives I've ever used to the describe the PCA have been far from hyperbole. Here's to another five years of making you want to come here too.