PCA Memories: Curse of the Caribbean Adventure

Curse of the Caribbean Adventure? Sounds like the next generation of the Jack Sparrow tales, doesn't it?

Well, it would if this were Hollywood. It's not, though. This is all real.

The year the PCA arrived at Atlantis, everything followed so close to the plan, it was almost spooky. Almost as if PokerStars and its players were being led to the slaughter. Not only did PokerStars and the World Poker Tour decide to tape the final table outside, they had decided to do it on a place that sounded decidedly spooky: The Dragon Deck.

At 11:22am on the final day of 2005 play, the cards went in the air. For a moment, it seemed as though nothing coould go wrong. The skies were blue, the smiles were big, and the dealer was shuffling up. Even better, just a few hands into play, the entire table stood up and sang Happy Birthday to Miami John Cernudo. It was a joyous time.

It lasted eight minutes.

The World Poker Tour set-up on the Dragon Deck in 2005

By 11:30am, the WPT was suffering from a technical problem with one of their cameras. It was an issue that only last five minutes. That, however, was long enough to get people wondering if there wasn't some other odd force in the air. At 11:39 am, only 17 minutes after the first hand began, the curse finally struck. Eventual runner-up Alex Ballandin had just come in from the cutoff for a raise when everything went dark.

Well, not actually dark. It was midday in the Bahamas, after all. However, the power had gone out, effectively killing all the TV lights and cameras. At first, we thought the WPT's big lights had blown a fuse. It soon became clear, the curse was much bigger than first thought.

The power on the entire island was down.

It would only take half an hour to get everything up and running again on an Atlantis generator. Still, the curse had presented itself like a real-life Brady Bunch Hawaiian vacation.

So, now you're sitting there and saying, "So, what? The power went out."

Well, yeah, it didn't seem so significant at the time.

It seemed a lot more significant a year later at 2:32pm, when I asked--and not rehetorically--"Um...who turned out the lights?"

Once again, right in the middle of the final table, the whole of the casino's power grid went south. It took a full half hour to send the curse packing. Indeed, PokerStars had spent a full 20 days over two years at the Atlantis Resort and Casino. The power had remained on for the entire time...except for when the final tables were underway.

In 2007, the power managed to stay on and that turned out to be a very good thing. It was well after dark on an inordinately cold night when Ryan Daut sent Isaac Haxton to the rail in second place. The curse, however, did not take a vacation.

Let me preface this by saying, the Atlantis is usually a very nice, well-kept, and well-maintained hotel. Got it? Okay. That's my way of saying, I've never seen anything like this at Atlantis...before or since.

The final table began at 10:49am. The players got in a full hour of play before taking a break to warm up. During the break, a smell began to settle across the casino floor--a sulphurous, eye-stinging, make you wish you'd died that morning kind of smell. A quick call to a paranormalist plumber revealed that the curse had struck in the casino's bathroom. An entire wall of urinals in the men's room had essentially exploded from the inside. It was, to be quite polite, a mess. Despite the cold wind, we were pretty happy to get back outside for the completion of the final table.

This year, the Curse of the Caribbean Adventure is going to have to work harder to cause problems at the final table. Now that the PCA is a European Poker Tour event, organizers have decided to move the final table indoors to a television set. The move will allow more people to watch the final table live, both in person and on EPT Live.

That said, I'm not entirely sure the Curse is an exclusively outdoor pet. So, if you're joining everybody at this year's PCA, watch your back...and your power cords.