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PCA 2013: On and off the beaten track

There are few venues on the poker calendar which your arrival at is met with powerful blasts of heat. In Las Vegas it's a scorching flash that makes you sweat three hours later, while at the PCA the warm air is soaked with moisture, as are your clothes. Both encourage thoughts of adventure.

But what does the visitor to New Providence do to start this quest? Well a good place to start is with these...













But, is the beaten path all that it's cracked up to be, or is there an alternative, a less trodden place where the Bahamas really comes to life? Until we find out we've put together a few alternative suggestions to boat trips and water slides...

Stare at rich people
Wealth and extravagant spending is never far away in the Bahamas, but to get a glimpse of the where the lavish call home you need to head out to Lyford Cay, the furthest point west on New Providence, where the beautiful people live. Here you'll find a mix of the superrich and famous, including fashion house owner Peter Nygaard (whose "N Force" jet was parked at the airport) and actor Sean Connery, who came here to film casino scenes in Thunderball. Former residents have included the Aga Khan, Prince Rainier III and the founder of Toys R Us Charles Lazarus. Just keep off the grass.

Get weird
Lakeview Cemetary is the principle resting place on the island and is where the 39-year-old Anna Nicole Smith is buried for eternity. The former Playmate of the Month died in 2007 and is buried on the island where she was a permanent resident.

Eat like a Bahamian
Like fish? Like butter? Then the Fish Fry is your best option for great Bahamian food. Located a short taxi ride away, the Fish Fry will serve you fresh fish, served to your exact specifications, provided it involves a lot of butter. It'll increase your health insurance premiums and take you a week to work it off, but it's worth every penny.

Re-enact history
Nassau harbour is the location of one of the forgotten dates in US military history. Get yourself a boat, point it towards the harbour and relive the first ever amphibious landing by US marines (then known as the Continental Marines) during the Battle of Nassau in 1776. Americans will remember it as a great victory, while the British will simply not talk about it. Check out Fort Montagu on the eastern end of the island to see what they won.

Go looking for James Bond
The rich and famous have made the Bahamas their own for decades, and film makers looking for somewhere elegant and expensive have used it for all types of movie classics, including the 1964 dolphin vehicle Flipper's New Adventure, Cocoon and the 1996 dolphin vehicle Flipper. The Bahamas has also hosted the making of seven James Bond films, most recently here on Paradise Island where scenes from Casino Royale were shot. Try the One and Only Ocean Club, where you can enjoy a martini while pretending to be Daniel Craig.

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Bobbing along in the harbour

Live dangerously
For most players at the PCA Paradise Island is everything they could wish for, boasting all the bars, tattoo parlours and gift shops stocked with Tylenol that a fun loving youngster could ever need. For others though the temptation to cross the bridge is strong, and a trip into Nassau is certainly worth the cab fare.

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A policeman directing traffic north

But what about those looking even further afield, to places not featured on the local crime rather than tourist map. That place is known as "Over the Hill", south of Shirley Street, where the people who sold you your travel insurance would tell you is a land of ruffians, tomfools and gangster types. There may be a few of these characters lurking there at night, but there's also all sorts of other interesting things that we'd tell you about had we the courage to go there ourselves.

Live like the Duke of Windsor
After a little trouble involving the Nazis, a potential court-martial and some loose lips, the Duke of Windsor was made Governor of the Bahamas for most of the Second World War. The former King wasn't exactly complimentary about his hosts, but while longing for action elsewhere he and his wife Wallis indulged themselves at various destinations around the Island.

As well as Government House, painted in vibrant pink, the couple spent a lot of time at Cable Beach, to the west of Nassau, staying in Westbourne, the home of Sir Harry Oakes, a gold mine owner who was murdered in 1943. It's a case that remains unsolved.

Steer clear of trying to solve the case yourself. Those who try have been known to come to some sort of grief. And while you're at it wait until you have an invitation to Government House before you walk in and helped yourself to the gin cabinet.

Find buried treasure
If you're looking for a short cut to the high life then buried treasure might be the only logical solution.

It's thought that there remain large quantities of buried treasure in various locations around the Bahamas, hidden there by Henry Morgan, a seventeenth century Royal Navy admiral and pirate in his spare time. Morgan buried his loot in numerous corners of the islands. It's thought much of it is on Cat Island, but there could easily be loot on the beaches of Paradise. It's most likely entirely fruitless to try, but taking a spade to the beach could make the optimists among you very rich.

Live it up
If you find the treasure you might like to wash the sand off your feet at the Balmoral Club. Also known as the Immoral Club in its day, for various reasons, the walls of the 18-room mansion have witnessed some celebrated guests, including The Beatles, who stayed there while filming scenes for the 1965 film "Help!" You may require help getting in, however, with two references required along with a completed application form. A box full of treasure might help speed up any administration.

So there you have it. A week of poker and exploration await.

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