PCA Memories: The making of Mikael Westerlund
In advance of the 2008 PCA, we're looking back at some of the more fun moments and people of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure's history.
The PCA has been a launching pad of sorts for many a poker career. From 2005 winner John Gale to 2006 winner (and, now, Team PokerStars Pro) Steve Paul-Ambrose, the PCA is the tournament that launched a bunch of poker players into the pro-playing world.
Beyond the champions, however, there have been many other people who have made final tables or gone exceptionally deep and used the money to go on to bigger and better things. Among those people was a Swedish guy named Mikael Westerlund.
The PCA was actually the middle of Westerlund's career-launching rush. In 2005, he won a big online tournament, then won the biggest tournament his hometown had ever hosted. On a whim (and because he was dealing with the cold Swedish winter), Westerlund flew to the Bahamas and entered the PCA main event.
"It's hot and I like hot," he said at the time. Westerlund wanted nothing more than to get to the tropics. The hotel was almost full. He couldn't find a flight. Somehow, he made it happen, made it to the Bahamas, and made it to the cage in time to buy in to the event.
He made it all the way to the final table, finished in third place, and won more than $300,000.
Shortly after finishing up at the PCA, I decided to go on the road and start writing about poker all the time. My first stop was the EPT event in Copenhagen, Denmark. There I found none other than Mikael Westerlund. What's more, he again made it all the way to the final table.
Since then, I've seen Westerlund all over the world. Just recently, Westerlund came very close to making the final table of the EPT Warsaw Open. While he's not the biggest poker star in the world, he's still making the rounds three years after his first big PCA finish.
I wonder if I'll see him this year?
2008 PCA Primer
PCA Memories: Behind the Scenes
PCA Memories: Gentleman John Gale