Players cruise for cash at Caribbean Poker Classic


The Fifth Annual Caribbean Poker Classic set sail this week with poker players climbing aboard the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship in Miami to explore the Caribbean and play some poker.

The ship left port Sunday and will hit locations in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten before returning back to Miami this Sunday. For poker players, however, the action is all on board.

Only a few hours after disembarking, the action got started in the cruise ship's poker room with a No-Limit Hold'em supersatellite. Since then, Caribbean Poker Classic has also hosted a $300 and a $400 No-Limit Hold'em event, as well as another supersatellite.

Today there is a $500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament as players settle in one more time before the $2,500 main event kicks off on Friday. The main event is where the big action will be.

Poker players from all over the world won prize packages for the main event in online poker qualifiers. Some players won packages that just got them on the seven-day cruise and some cash for travel and expenses. Others won full $10,000 packages that included the cruise, money for travel and the buy-in for the main event, plus $2,300 in tournament vouchers.

In previous years the Caribbean Poker Classic has taken place on land. The past three years it was hosted at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and The Royal Beach Casino. Before that it was at the Maho Beach Casino Resort in St. Maarten.

No matter where it's been, however, the money has always been good for participants.

In 2004 at the Maho Beach Casino Resort, the buy-in was set at $2,500 and the event drew 104 players. They competed for a $150,800 prize pool, and Grant Lang from Danbury, Conn., walked away the winner with $111,000.

With a change of venue to St. Kitts in 2005, the event also saw a boosted buy-in. Players posted a $6,300 buy-in, and when all 249 players were settled in, the prize pool was $1,458,480.

Bjorn Arild Wiik, from Norway, was the winner that year. He earned a $347,880 top prize.

In 2006, 155 players put up the $6,300 to play, resulting in a slightly lower $930,000 prize pool this time around. Fredrik Haugen from Gothenburg, Sweden, got the best of that prize pool, taking home the $221,000 first-place prize.

Last year, the prize pool was $970,000 after 153 players came out to play. Brian Jensen, from Denmark, picked up $237,500 for the win.

On Friday, poker fans can find out how many players came out for the 2008 Caribbean Poker Classic and who will triumph over them as our very own Matt Showell sails the open waters to cover the event for the Live Tournaments section.


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