2009 PCA: Party on

"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi se soir?" No? I don't blame you. And here's why.

Even though the house band crank out this most rhetorical of questions numerous times on a fitting night of excess, this is not the occasion that you settle for fifth, fourth, third or even second best. You are standing on the Royal Deck of the Atlantis Hotel and Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. And by getting there you have already stated your claim to the big time.

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You're here because you've noticed that there's two million bucks up for grabs to the winner of a poker tournament. Of course it's not just any poker tournament: it's the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). But the winner of that won't just coucher avec anyone tonight because that's not why we're here. This, folks, is the most important poker tournament hosted anywhere outside of the United States. And doesn't everyone just know it.

Tomorrow more than a thousand players will attempt to parlay their monstrous buy in into something even more ridiculously sized. But tonight all of those competitors and their guests joined the characteristically Bahamian-styled party, which meant dancing, gorping, pondering and drinking until we couldn't do it no more.

A friend departed to the bar and we expected him to return wearing a headdress of white feathers when he brought the rum back to our table. Another compadre suggested she was hungry - she turned around and walked two paces and there was everything she could eat. "Where are all the poker players?" another newcomer queried. He turned around and saw Daniel Negreanu with his arm around a tourist posing for a photo. No one actually opened their mouth to answer. This was the PCA.

All of this by way of introduction to Paradise Island. Tonight we had the PokerStars welcome party. And if anyone was ever in any doubt that this represents the good time, then the bar-b-qs, bars and their gleeful patrons could stand witness to the greatest poker party in the world.

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As the parade snaked past the wave-pool on the Royal Deck, Greg Raymer mingled with the pretenders to his World Champion status. Joe Hachem checked that the meat was cooked to the degree of perfection expected of grillers from Melbourne to Nassau. Isabelle Mercier, Bill Chen and Noah Boeken chatted merrily to anyone who took to their shoulder; these were some of the only people I could see among the ocean of revelers, each and every one with their story to tell.

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And yet I know there were more. The whole of Team PokerStars Pro is here and enjoying their passport to the Bahamas. And what do Peter Eastgate, Ivan Demidov, Dennis Phillips, Ylon Schwartz, Chino Rheem and Darus Suharto have in common? Yep, all the PokerStars Million Dollar Men were here at the welcome party to the latest renewal of the PCA.

Over the coming week, we hope to bring a number of the less heralded stories to you as well. The PCA is where everyone can write their own fairy-tale. The main event starts tomorrow alongside the Battle Boris (Becker) tournament and we'll have coverage of both. And that's by no means all. We have the PokerStars battleship tournament. We have the $25,000 High Rollers event. And we have the World Cup of Poker, which also plays to its conclusion this week. It is the most concentrated week of poker action that we've known.

So let's forgive the party-goers wearing feather headdresses. Let's praise the revelers knee-deep in rum. Let's take off our hats to the festival of poker we're about to experience. If you're here, we'll be here too,

The competition begins at noon tomorrow EST. See you then.