Shirley Rosario
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Caribbean Poker Adventure

My 2009 PCA Experience

by Shirley Rosario

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Caribbean Poker AdventureJanuary 5th
My New Year started out great with a trip to the Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas for the annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament. I headed out on Saturday night and arrived early Sunday morning. Unfortunately, my room wasn't ready and I had to sit around in the lobby for a couple of hours while waiting. I was so tired and the only thing I could think about was going to bed. I approached the lady at the counter several times telling her that I know she has heard it from everyone, but I really needed a bed. I think she got tired of me because she worked some magic and I was allowed to go to my room and get the rest I needed.

The PokerStars party was a lot of fun and I was amazed at how many people were there. It took me awhile to find somebody that I knew and was relieved when I saw Brad (Otis) and Pauly. I stayed with them and some other writers including Alex Villegas and Ruairidh from SikTilt. The night was long because after the Stars party, we headed to one of the hotel bars to continue our fun. I always enjoy hanging out with the writers and this night was no different.

The tournament started at noon the following day and I showed up about 15 minutes late. I woke up a little late and didn't want to go down to play without eating breakfast. My breakfast got there about 5 minutes to noon and I ate quickly and then ran out the door. When I finally arrived at the table, the players said they thought that Phil Hellmuth was going to be joining them. I laughed a little and said that I won't cry as much as he does.

My table was extremely tight and nobody was getting out of line. I noticed plenty of players being eliminated at the tables around me, but nobody at my table had busted. As a matter of fact, there wasn't even an all-in confrontation for a long time. Even though we started with 20k in chips, I never saw that many in my stack. By the time I arrived at the tournament, I lost $300 and my stack kept going down. At one point, I was down to 6k and then shortly before dinner, I got back up to 19k. I lost a few thousand in chips and then we went on dinner break. I went up to my room and relaxed and then headed back down to the tournament room refreshed and ready to play. About thirty minutes after I sat back down, I was eliminated when I got all of my chips in preflop against my opponent who had AK. I had 99. He flopped a king and turned another king and I was eliminated. I thought I played the hand fine, but after talking with a couple of my friends, I realized there is always so much to learn about the game and there are always several ways to play a hand. My friend Nick is a whiz with numbers and he evaluated the hand in several different ways. I could have pushed there over the top of the original raiser (like I did) and increased my stack by 30% uncontested if he folded. I could also just flat call and see a flop. He thought seeing a flop and pushing over the top of him regardless of what flopped could have been a better move. His thoughts were that I had more than 3 times his likely continuation bet, so an over the top all-in would get him to lay down his hand in certain situations (like if he missed the flop or if an overcard came) and sometimes he would lay down a hand that had me beat. For example, if he held JJ against my 99 and the flop came out K62 pushed on the flop over the top, he might lay down. If he did call me, his hand would have been such that he would have called my all in bet preflop anyway. I also talked with Steve Badger and David Huber about the hand and both thought the push was reasonable considering the guyís range of hands was so huge. The bottom line is I was eliminated on day one of the first PCA event I have played in and that is disappointing.

January 6
I have met so many people during my tournament travels and the majority of the ones that I have grown closest to are on the business side of poker. That means that once I am eliminated, I donít have my buddies to hang out with because they are still working the event. So today, I spent the day by myself taking an inner-tube ride around the Lazy River. It was relaxing, but also a bit lonely and I kept wishing that a few of my Los Angeles friends could have made the trip with me. Several of them tried to win their way into the event, but werenít successful. Others couldnít go for other reasons. I made sure to tell them that they have to next year because the event is fantastic and the hotel is beautiful.

Once I finished lounging around the hotel, I went up to my room and showered so I could go eat. I ran into Barry Greensteinís girlfriend and Alex and asked her if she wanted to join me. She said she just finished eating with Barry, but make sure to look her up later because she is usually bored while Barry is playing. I went out to eat and then went to the tournament area to check on my good friend, Mark Seif. He ended up finishing the day with chips and so did my friend Andrew Li who was my pick to win the PCA main event. On the first night, ten of us made a bet and picked one player who we thought would win the event. If our player won, the others would have to pay $100. I picked Andrew because I wanted to choose somebody who was a successful online player and he is the only person I know (personally) who is a Supernova Elite.

January 7
I played in the 2k event today and was really glad that I was able to fit in a little more poker while in the Bahamas. The resort is amazing and I love the pool area, but there is only so much you can do when you are by yourself for a week.

The tournament started out great and by the second level, I built my 8k stack up to 28k. I then played a hand like a total bonehead and lost 14k of it. During the second level, all players folded to me in the small blind and I limped with 98 of hearts. The guy raised to $600 and I called because I love suited connectors when me and my opponent are deep stacked. The flop was AT7 with one heart giving me the open end straight draw and backdoor flush draw. I checked, he bet $1200 and I called. The turn was a three of hearts giving me the flush draw. I checked, he bet $2200 and I pushed and he insta called with AQ. The problem with the way I played the hand was that the reason I got involved in the hand was that I was hoping to stack him. By pushing on the turn, I was trying to blow him out of the water which means that I wouldnít have stacked him unless he decided to call and if he called, I would have to hit my draw. There were so many ways I could have played the hand and once again, Nick was eager to point out that he hated the way I played it from the start when I limped in. There are a lot of different things I could have done with that hand and I think that I made several mistakes. Itís just another lesson in my No Limit career.

I lasted for some time after that and once again I was eliminated after dinner break when I got all of my chips in against a dominating hand. I had 88 and my opponent had 99. I went out and hung out with a couple friends once I was eliminated and had a great time.

January 8
Atlantis Water SlideI woke up in the early morning and immediately went down to the pool area. I had already decided that the whole day was going to be spent going on the waterslides and seeing the attractions at the hotel. Even though spent the day by myself, it was so much fun. I have always been an adrenaline junkie and am basically a kid at heart, so big waterslides are right up my alley. I ended up spending hours on the slides and went on a total of seven of them (I think that is all they had) and made multiple runs down each one. The best thing I liked about the way they had it set up was that several of them were connected and you didnít even need to get out of the water if you were in a lazy mood. When you got let off a ride on your tube, you would take a river rafting trip around to the other slide and then would go up the conveyer belt and it would take you to another slide. I was too impatient though and as soon as I was let off a ride, I would get out and walk back up to the top because it was faster (plus a little exercise is always good).

After my great day in the water, I went up to my room and showered so I could go check on my friends that were still in the tournament. The last I heard, Mark and Andrew were still in and doing alright. By the time I got down to the tournament area, both of them had been eliminated. Mark finished in 58th and Andrew finished in 56th. I was the last person standing in our pool, but I didnít win the bet because Andrew didnít win the tournament (bummer for both of us, but more for him since first prize was 3mil).

I ended up hanging around the tournament area talking with a few of my friends who work for PokerStars. They were going to be finished for the night once 4 more players were eliminated from the tournament and after that we were going to go to the sushi bar, Nobu.

Dinner was fantastic and we went to the lobby bar when finished. All of us hung out for a couple more hours because it was my last night there. I had a wonderful time playing in the tournament and hanging out with all the friends I have made on the circuit. I also enjoyed meeting several new friends. My adventures are always so much fun, but it is also so nice to get home and I was looking forward to it.

See also 2010 Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure