PCA 2012: Caribbean booty, the PCA player bag


Qualifying online for the PCA main event gets you entry into the $10,000 main event at a heavily discounted price. It also gets you a room at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island for the week and enough spending money on your room's folio to keep you fed and watered during your time in the sun. Now, that's all well and good but the early qualifying clamour is all about one thing: the player bag.

The PCA has always provided a bountiful bag of goodies for PokerStars online qualfiers and this year is no different. After a series of interviews, questions, radio mike conversations and an unhealthy period of self-effacing grovelling of which I am not proud, I finally managed to get the go ahead to get my grubby mitts on one of the hallowed player bags.

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The PCA bag spills its secrets

Juan, just one member of the hordes of PokerStars support here at Atlantis, looked up at me across the welcome desk with a look finely balanced between a warm I'm-here-to-help simper and a hostile look of suspicious . Yes, I had been cleared for security clearance to take one of these bags on behalf of the PokerStars blog but Juan was having none of of it. They have heard it all before.

"You're not on the list," said Juan.

I explained that I wasn't a qualifier. I wouldn't be on the list. It was for the blog, I pleaded.

"Only qualifiers get bags," Juan started to explain (again) before his colleague Emma arrived with a clipboard - a dead giveaway that she held seniority - and gave me the nod. Juan gently lifted the bag from a table behind him, like a midwife lifting up a newborn baby, and presented it to me. I had achieved the impossible, you simply do not get these things unless you're a qualifier - and for good reason, they're jam-packed full of PCA treasure. Let us explore:

  • One pair of PokerStars 'Silly Ears' headphones
  • Three PCA t-shirts, one of which photographer Neil Stoddart proudly held aloft saying: "That's my picture from last year."
  • One PCA hoodie: white, warm and perfect for getting ensconced in for a nine-level grind.
  • One travel document wallet (that's the elasticated crisscross thing)
  • One USB hub
  • One 84-page PCA magazine containing interviews, competitions, festival schedules and blind structures (and lots of pretty pictures).
  • Two decks of Copag playing cards
  • One travel adapter
  • One PCA cap, which will come in handy outside if you've forgotten to bring: a) any headwear, b) any suntan lotion, or, like me, c) headwear or suntan lotion.
  • And the main event....
  • One heavy duty PCA bag with laptop slot and six, yes six, side pockets. It may look a little bit like a parachute but, do not be confused, it will not break your fall should you leap from the Bridge Suite of the Royal Towers.

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Photographer Neil Stoddart models his own work

Most PokerStars events award player bags to qualifying so if you're yet to play a regional tour event then you should start your qualification campaign today. You can win entry into a host of tournaments the world over. Get clicking.