PCA 2013: Size matters

A couple of months ago, I turned on my television to watch my college alma mater play in a basketball tournament. I took a step back from the television with my mouth agape.

"I know that carpet!" I said.

There, in high definition, I saw the familiar startling floor covering of the Atlantis Imperial Ballroom. You, too, can see it under the feet of these basketball players at the :22 mark of this video:

I knew the tournament was being played at Atlantis (the name "Battle for Atlantis" gave it away), but it never occurred to me that it would take place in the Imperial Ballroom. I mean, that's where the PCA is. Can it possibly be true?

Yep. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is that damned big.

This festival takes place in and absolutely fills a room big enough to host a bigtime basketball tournament. That's what it takes to host this gigantic festival.

The Imperial Ballroom is the biggest conference hall at this massive resort. It has 50,000 square feet of floor space. It's ceilings are 26 feet high. It is a gigantic place. There are two people I've known for a nearly decade standing on the other side of the room. If I hadn't walked by them a minute ago, I would have no idea who they were. They are that far away.

NEIL5548_PCA2013_Tournament_Room_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The Imperial Ballroom (we are in the top right of this photo...can you find us?)

Back in 2005 when the PCA moved to Atlantis, it did so to make room for the growing interest in the festival. Fewer than 230 people showed up for the 2004 PCA. The next year that number doubled to necessitated using a small ballroom on the resort. The next year...another bigger ballroom. And now for the past few years, the PCA has filled the only place big enough to hold it. Good thing that my fellow writer Stephen Bartley brought his bird watching gear. It's the only way to keep tabs on everything without running so much we need hydration and a medical team.


Today, we have it easy. There are only 50 or so people to watch. Starting Monday, every seat in that picture will be full. That's when we'll need our nurse.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging