The series will begin this Thursday, and PokerStars will be sending over 250 poker players to the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas main event at Atlantis Resort. More than half of those qualifiers won their way to Atlantis for just $10 by playing special Spin & Go satellites on PokerStars. The Spin & Go prize package included a Main Event seat and an additional $5,000 for travel and accommodations.
The qualifiers range from experienced players to rank amateurs. They embody poker’s ability to bring a diverse group of people together from across the globe.
As Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars’ Director of Live Events, said: “We’re very excited about the first PokerStars Championship stop. Our aim is to host an event that will be enjoyed by players of all kinds — from the world’s biggest high rollers to recreational players who have perhaps never played at a live event before.
“With over 90 tournaments on offer, this year’s schedule adopts a ‘something for everyone’ formula. So, for all our regulars, as well as newcomers, we extend a very warm welcome to the Bahamas and hope a great experience is enjoyed by all – both on and off the tables.”
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting players heading to the Bahamas after qualifying online at PokerStars.
Young and old at PCB
The youngest of the 250-plus qualifiers is a 19 year-old from Denmark who will be playing in his first live event. When he realized he had hit a Spin & Go jackpot and would be playing for the PokerStars Championship Bahamas package he said, “The adrenaline rushed through my body like crazy, I was shaking so much.”
On the other end of the age spectrum is Morris Dadoun, an 84-year old insurance broker and financial advisor from Canada who qualified via a charity tournament. Morris has been playing poker for over 40 years, but the PCB will also be his first live major tournament.
Dadoun took a shot at qualifying because he dreamed of participating in a big tournament after years of watching tournaments on TV. When asked what he’s most looking forward to, he said he wants to, “meet some champions and have the opportunity to play with them.”
From PokerStars New Jersey…
There were a total of three qualifiers from PokerStars’ New Jersey site, including 55 year-old Wayne Geritchen, who won his way to the Bahamas through a freeroll. Remarkably, Geritchen also qualified for the inaugural PokerStars Festival New Jersey held at Resorts in September by way of a freeroll. He went on to cash in the main event for $2,300.
Geritchen’s son also plays poker, and happens to manage the pool hall across the street. That led to Geritchen, unbeknownst to him, having an impromptu rail for his big win.
“The minute I won the freeroll, my phone exploded because my son was immediately calling me telling me how everyone at the pool hall across the street was watching live online,”Geritchen said.
“He immediately demanded that I come over and celebrate (with the rail that was watching me, that I didn’t even know existed, as I was playing).
“The five minutes it took me to walk across the street I felt like I was floating on a cloud, and then when I walk through the door of the pool hall everybody was hugging me and shaking my hand and congratulating me like I had already won a championship.”
…to PokerStars players from the other side of the world
Several online qualifiers will be flying some 10,000 miles to play in the PCBs Main Event, as a small contingent of players from Australia won online satellites.
One player who will also be taking a very long flight to the Bahamas is Sacheen Ramchandani from India. Like so many qualifiers, he has never played in a live poker tournament.
Ramchandani is the only qualifier from India, but that will likely change in the coming years as India is in the midst of its own poker boom.
“Poker has picked up a lot in India,” Ramchandani said. “It’s like every third person you meet knows or plays poker.”
This could be a huge development for poker globally, considering India is the second most populous nation in the world with 1.25 billion (with a B) people.
Ramchandani’s path to the Bahamas began with a $27 Step satellite, and from there things took a bit of a Moneymaker-esque turn.
“The funny thing is I totally forgot about the next stage and I was almost asleep,” Ramchandani said. “I was like, hang on, I think I have a game where I qualified, let me check if it’s today or next week.”
It’s a good thing he checked, because the tournament was just two hours away. That meant an already tired Ramchandani would be staying up all night… which turned out to be worth it. Sacheen won his ticket to the Bahamas at 4 a.m.