The PokerListings tournament reporting team arrived a few days ago in this tropical utopia, and we've been using our free time to scope out the island, the casino, and the tournament setting - in between marathon tan sessions at the beach, of course. St. Kitts is located in the British West Indies, where, along with its sister island of Nevis, it makes up the tiny country of St. Kitts and Nevis (no surprises there). The two-island nation was for many years dependant upon sugar cane as its primary economic resource, but has seen the industry dry up in recent years and now derives most of its income from the streams of tourists who arrive by plane and cruise ship to sample the exotic Caribbean delights.
During this time of year, they also come to play poker, as we discovered when we arrived at the Marriott earlier in the week. It seems that almost the entire field of players - most of them, by all appearances, European, and many of them having won their seats through online satellites - had decided to arrive on the same day as we had, and we waded through their all-expenses-paid-free-for-all as they lined up to register and drink free alcohol, and we searched for a restaurant with a half-decent cheeseburger.
Amidst the hordes of stylish young couples with funny accents, we also saw a number of professionals wandering around the hotel, including Simon Trumper. No doubt more professionals will come out of the woodwork when the main event begins tomorrow.
Although the $6,000 + $300 event gets underway on the 29th of November, the Caribbean Poker Classic actually got started on the 25th, with a $200 + $20 No-Limit Hold'em event that the PokerListings.com tournament staff decided to take a peek at - from a player's eye view. Unfortunately, our dreams of poker immortality were shattered when who else but Kathy Liebert should sit down at our table, directly on Matt's left.
Kathy was as charming and gregarious as she was during her final-table run at Foxwoods a few weeks ago, but that didn't stop her from sending Matt to the rail with trip queens an hour or so into the competition. I lasted another hour before deciding my tan was more important than a card game and busted out with pocket tens against ace-eight suited when two aces hit the flop. I'd outlasted Matt, so I wasn't exactly devastated by the loss.
But who needs bad-beat stories from a couple of shiftless tournament reporters when you can hear about what's happening with the pros? The action starts tomorrow and our live-updates are sure to be scintillating, so come back soon, pull up a beach chair and stay awhile. In the meantime, you can catch us on the beach with a couple of cool drinks, watching the tide come in. The weather is warm, and there's poker in the air - wish you were here!