PCA 2015: A stranger in paradise

In the spirit of poker confessions, it's time for me to come clean: this is not only my first time at the PCA, but my first visit to any major tournament series, on the European Poker Tour or elsewhere (in fact, it was only recently that I discovered The Bahamas was even in Europe). As a newcomer to this epic party - now in its 11th year - I hope that my take on the PCA might offer something a little different to that of my more grizzled experienced colleagues.

I'll start by saying that if you love poker at all, Paradise Island is aptly named. The Tournament Room here at Atlantis features well over 100 tables, a cash games area, a players' lounge where you can glean some useful tips from some of the best in the biz, and of course action. Lots of action. There's a tangible buzz in the air, accompanied by the sound of thousands of chips being riffled at once, like badly co-ordinated crickets at dusk. At this early stage of the PCA, very few have experienced defeat at the table: everyone in the room is a potential world-beater. Hope springs eternal. You can taste it.

A short walk from the card room, the Atlantis resort spreads out before you: a sprawl of marble corridors, tree-lined walkways, waterslides and inviting pools. There are hidden gems around seemingly every corner, as I discovered while out exploring on my first day. Taking a stroll along a quieter stretch of the island, I peered through a clutch of palm trees and spied a small, deserted white beach on an inland lagoon. Fancying the chance to cool my feet in the water and for a moment or two of solitude, I looked for a way onto the beach. There was none. That's when I saw the hammerhead shark meander past. I kept walking.

I had a similar feeling when I walked into a coffee shop for a morning hit of caffeine and almost stumbled headlong into the imposing figure of Steve O'Dwyer, currently making waves of his own in the Super High Roller.

Steve_O'Dwyer_PCA 2015_SHR2.jpgHelpful hint: watch out for sharks...and Steve O'Dwyer

There's another lagoon nearby, in which those animals born at Atlantis are free to swim and grow to maturity, before going to rub fins with their bigger brethren in the larger pools. These smaller, younger creatures may not have the experience of their elders, but their teeth look just as sharp. One in particular caught my eye - I call him 'Panka'.

Every inch of Atlantis is filled with the promise of fun and adventure, and whether you're at the tables or off them, you never know when you'll stumble across a lethal predator.

Atlantis GV_PCA 2015.jpg

Follow all the action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at PokerStars Blog. Head to the Super High Roller page to see hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top of the page, with feature articles below. Action starts soon on EPT Live.

Adam Hampton is a copywriter for PokerStars.