PokerStars launched the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship (PSPC) in 2019 during the PCA and it was a huge success thanks to various Platinum passes that players from all over the world had a chance to win at the tables and in other creative ways. The PSPC was a way for PokerStars to give back to the community as part of the blowback the company received when they screwed over their top grinders by removing their privileges earned by achieving Super Nova Elite.
With the PSPC a huge hit, the suits at the red spade headquarters intended the PSPC to replace the PCA as its marquee event of the season.
At the inaugural PSPC at Atlantis, the $25K buy-in tournament, set records as the richest tournament of all time with $26.4 million in prizes. Ramon Colillas, aka the Spanish Chris Moneymaker, faded a field of 1,039 runners. He fired away a modest investment on PokerStars to win a Platinum Pass, which he parlayed into $5.1 million. Not too shabby, eh?
The PCA had become a relic of the past, but at one point, it was one of the events on the global circuit that many pros/amateurs attempted to win a seat to the PCA Main Event and trip package. Poker pros took advantage of the Caribbean in the winter as a place to take their significant others and family. Pros with kids loved the PCA because it gave their family something to do while they grinded away in a tournament. If you worked for PokerStars, especially in the London office, you knew the winters in England were dreary so a working holiday to the Bahamas was something that everyone got excited about. For members of the poker media, a trip to the PCA was both a blessing and a curse because who doesn't love a little fun in the sun? But Island Time didn't mesh with tournament time when you're working hard to cover a tournament, and everything was so damn expensive for poker reporters on a budget.
PokerStars shutdown the PCA officially and called in quits in the fall of 2019. That meant the 2019 PCA would be its last. As flawed and annoying the PCA could be, many poker players actually missed it. It was a sad moment when PokerStars made the decision to shutter the PCA without a proper send off and goodbye for staff and players, many of whom invested a significant portion of their lives to the planning, promotion, execution, and coverage of the PCA.
Had PokerStars went ahead with a 2020 PCA as the grand finale, PokerStars could've hosted one crazy blowout in the Caribbean. Heck, I would've even gone out of respect. Considering what we know happened during the rest of 2020 with the pandemic, PokerStars could've hosted the last great live poker event before the pandemic wiped out the live tournament circuit.
Nonetheless... the show must go on, but not this year. PokerStars will bring the PSPC back eventually and they're diligently working behind the scenes to set up the second installment of the PSPC to the Casino Barcelona in Spain. Stay tuned for more details.
If you won a Platinum Pass, don't fret because it will still be good... whenever the PSPC runs. Overall, PokerStars intends to give away at least 400 Platinum Passes... but who knows if they'll add more.
"We are committed to running the PSPC at Casino Barcelona and making it a true celebration of poker, and to ensure everyone has the best experience we need to have a safe, healthy and comfortable environment," said PokerStars in their statement on PokerStars Blog. "This event is one of a kind, therefore we don't want to settle for anything less than an amazing experience for those currently with a Platinum Pass, and those yet to win one. And we truly can't wait to see all our players, and run this event as it should be."