PCA 2012: Bernstein's $260,000 poker vacation

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgJust a month ago, PokerStars player David Bernstein was dreaming of making the big time. He loved the game, but as he had never so much as played a live tournament, his chances of success were somewhat slim. Then something rather cool happened. After finishing up work one day, he got entered into a free draw by Ukash, the payment services provider, and won himself a free seat into the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, plus flights and accommodation at Atlantis.

Speaking to the PokerStars Blog at the start of this 10-day festival of poker, the largest outside of Las Vegas, Bernstein said that although the trip was a little surreal, he now wanted to win the PCA and take the money home to his family. With no disrespect to the 30-year-old salesman, who works in a brewery back home in Toronto, he didn't really expect to make it deep enough to make any meaningful cash.

But after 1,072 players sat down to play, and the days passed and eliminations grew, things started shaping up rather nicely. Day 3 passed, and then Day 4 finished and Bernstein was still in the hunt, bagging up chips at the end of the night. Then, during yesterday's Day 5 he kept his head made it through to today's final table.

david_bernstein_pca_final.JPG

David Bernstein at the PCA final table

It was a dream come true, and even going out in seventh a short while ago was not too much of a disappointment. After all, he had just turned an investment of absolutely nothing into a prize of $260,000. That is a spectacular score in anyone's book.

"It feels like a great accomplishment," Bernstein said. "I think I played really well to get this far but that I made a small mistake at the end (pushing all-in with pocket fours against John Dibella's aces). But it was a great ride, and because this was my first live tournament I am very happy with my performance.

"This has been some vacation for me. It's been a super time against some great players and I hope to do it again."

david_bernstein_smile_final_pca.JPG

Bernstein won't get carried away, however. He has a sensible head on his shoulders, and while saying he would like to gain more experience by playing some cash and more live tournaments, he will always treat his poker as recreational.

"This is just a hobby for me," he said. "But I would like to improve my game."

Congratulations, David, on a stellar performance here in the Bahamas.