In news announced on Friday, the buy-in for the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Eventwill be cut from $10,300 to $5,300. PokerStars said the halved price tag was “in line with European Poker Tour Main Events.” The 2016 PCA schedule features a record 104 events and kicks off on January 6 from the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
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Edgar Stuchly, Director of PokerStars Live Events, commented, “We have seen extraordinary growth in our live events in Europe and we’re excited about emulating this success at the PCA. EPT Barcelona, which is running right now, is breaking records on a daily basis and our aim is to give PCA players the same kind of experience. We will do this by tripling the number of tournaments and offering a wider variety of buy-in levels to suit every player.”
To put the 104-event schedule in perspective, the 2015 PCA had a 35-event slate, meaning the tournament series is literally tripling in size.
Besides making the PCA Main Event more in line with other EPT events, PokerStars dropping the Main Event buy-in by half could also have to do with dwindling attendance over the years. In fact, Main Event attendance has been declining since its apex in 2011:
2004: 211 entries
2005: 461 entries
2006: 724 entries
2007: 937 entries
2008: 1,136 entries
2009: 1,347 entries
2010: 1,529 entries
2011: 1,560 entries
2012: 1,072 entries
2013: 987 entries
2014: 1,031 entries
2015: 816 entries
Kevin Schulz won the 2015 PCA Main Event and earned almost $1.5 million.
According to PokerStars, “The packed schedule features a ton of fun and exciting variants including Win the Button and Deuces Wild, HOSE, PLO, and bounty tournaments. For high-stakes players, there will be plenty of prestigious events to tempt them off the beaches. The flagship $100k Super High Roller will start off the nine-day festival… with $50k and $25k High Roller events also on the schedule later on.”
The buy-in for the LAPT Bahamas event, which debuted last year, has also been reduced. In 2015, LAPT Bahamas had a $3,000 buy-in; in 2016, it will be $2,200.
The PCA faces plenty of competition from local poker series that crisscross the United States like the MSPT and WSOP Circuit. Staying at Atlantis (pictured) can also be a costly proposition for players who do not win packages. As one user on TripAdvisor put it, “For dinner only for 2 adults, 2 kids (age 8 & 5), our bill was usually $150 (without drinks). If you eat at one of their upscale resort restaurants, it can easily be way over $200 for one meal! A take-out pizza is $30!”
Dwindling attendance in the Bahamas also likely has to do with a lack of satellites for US players, who are in close proximity to the island nation. PokerStars withdrew from the US on Black Friday.
Visit PokerStars for more details on the 2016 PCA.