2009 PCA: Full-fat wrap
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure might have outgrown its name these days. Really it's more of an extravaganza than a plain old adventure: countless tournaments, thousands of players, millions of bucks.
We're only just through the first of six days and we've already seen enough action to last right through 2009. We kicked off on Paradise Island with a photo-shoot for tomorrow's World Cup of Poker, then 660 players filed into the room for day 1A of the $10,000 main event.
The Usual Suspects, Team PokerStars Pro style
Add to that a nine-handed battle for our friends from colder climes known as the Nordic PokerStars Expedition, and then there was Battle Boris, where all-comers took on the former tennis champion Boris Becker heads-up for a seat in the main event.
And even if we focus solely on that big dance, there's probably not enough room in cyberspace to note all the subtle intricacies of a full day's intriguing play. In its most basic form, here's the story of day 1a: 660 started, 188 remain after eight 75-minute levels.
From Team PokerStars Pro, the following live to fight another day: Marcin Horecki, Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, Vicky Coren, Tom McEvoy, Lee Nelson, Vanessa Rousso. The happiest of all of them will be the Polish professional Horecki, who hit quad aces on the way from a short stack to more than 150,000. McEvoy has plenty and Greenstein has ground his way to a big stack.
On the flip-side, the party is sadly over for the following: Daniel Negreanu, Luca Pagano, Chad Brown, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Joe Hachem, Alex Kravchenko and Gavin Griffin. Each departed at various junctures of this characteristically unforgiving day of competition.
We were also joined in the Bahamas by a fine showing of the PokerStars Million Dollar Men, those World Series final table players who earned themselves a fortune in November. Although Dennis Phillips and Darus Suharto departed, Ylon Schwartz flew up the chip ladder early on and remained there until sundown and beyond.
Late on this evening, the room filled with Brazilians, which in the absence of a soccer game, a blazing sun or a bag of nuts could only mean one thing: one of their own was prospering around the tables.
So it proved, with the PokerStars qualifier Felipe Ramos, previously known as the first Brazilian ever to cash on the EPT, racing into a late-day chip lead. Ramos stayed there until the players began bagging up chips this evening, and will spend a day on the sand tomorrow feeling very comfortable indeed.
The chip leading duo of Marcin Horecki and Felipe Ramos
Also among the leaders breathing down Ramos's neck are David Baker, Jeff Madsen and Courtland Twyman, all from the United States. Then there's the PokerStars ShootingStar George Danzer, from Germany, Ludovic Lacay, and Edward Sabat.
All of those will be coming back for day two on Wednesday, but not before we've gone through Tuesday, which will be a lot like today. Join us at 10am EST for the start of the World Cup, followed by day 1b of the main event.
And if you're in the mood to stay up all night, then why not look back at all of today's action with any of the following quick clicks.
Five years on Paradise Island
As big as it gets
Team PokerStars Pros
A peek at paradise
The online invasion
Honorary members of the team
A sample of the field
Fossilman on the up
A tale of two Gavins
Not the softest table
Of all the tables in the room, he sits down at mine
Some words with the Bear
The four corners
D'Amato on the stump
A Polish drama
The Tom McEvoy experiment
The estimated chip counts for some notable players can be found on the chip count page. These will be magically replaced overnight by the full official counts, as and when they are made available from tournament officials.
There's also all this in numerous indecipherable languages, which you might like to click through to, provided you understand it. In which case, there's German, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian and Polish. Fill your boots.
All of today's photography comes from either Joe Giron/IMPD or Neil Stoddart - as it will do for the rest of the week. And there's also plenty of moving pictures over at PokerStars.tv
Thanks for your attention and see you all tomorrow for more from Paradise.