Eugene Katchalov Eyeing up PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

PokerStars Caribbean AdventureThere is only six days to go before the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) kicks off on the beautiful Paradise Island in The Bahamas – and that thought has Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov raring to get going.

Eugene Katchalov, the one-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, will be aiming next Thursday to defend his $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller event from last year, when he picked up $1.5 million for defeating fellow Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu – as well as outlasting 36 other players – in their heads-up clash for the top cash from a prize pool of $3,743,000.

The Ukrainian enjoyed a fantastic 2011 PCA as, just 10 days later, he finished second in the $10,000 High Roller (six max) event to Russian Alexander Kostritsyn to add another $131,920 to his live earnings.

Now, with the opening event of 41 so close at the Atlantis Resort and Casino, Katchalov is eager to get to the tables in anticipation of another successful trip to the Caribbean for what will once again by a thrilling 10 days of action.

Katchalov “really excited” About 2012 PCA

The 30-year-old spoke at PokerStarsBlog about the upcoming event, saying: “I am really excited about the 2012 PCA. It is always fun defending a title and I would love to repeat the win – even though successfully defending a title is so rare in a poker tournament.”

But Katchalov is sure to face tough competition as some of the world’s best-known players have already signed up for the event, including high stakes specialist Bryan Colin, Canadian star Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald and Japanese businessman Masaaki Kagawa, as well as Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier, Jonathan Duhamel and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier.

However, the star just needs to look back to January of this year for inspiration and said: “It felt amazing to win the Super High Roller. In that tournament, you are playing the best players in the world and that forces you to play your A game.”

Katchalov Found 2011 Final Table “very tough”

As should be expected at such an event, Katchalov found it to be “a very tough final table – everyone there was really good”.

However, while the Brooklyn-based pro was thrilled to win the title, he would have been happier facing someone other than Canadian superstar Negreanu.

He added: “My best friend, Nick Schulman, made the final, too, and we were kind of hoping we would end up heads-up, but Nick finished fourth.

“I knew it would be hard to play Daniel because, at the time, he was training to play Viktor Blom in the Super Star Showdown on PokerStars.

“Because of that, he had been really focusing on heads-up and talking to a lot of good heads-up players.

“At the start of the heads-up, we were about even in chips. I took the lead in the first half-hour, but Daniel is great as a short stack and it lasted for nearly three hours.”

PokerStars Sign Up This Year’s PCA Champion

Katchalov – who took down event #5, a $1,500 buy-in Seven Card Stud tournament for $122,909 at this summer’s WSOP in Las Vegas – was signed up by PokerStars not long after his PCA success.

But the Ukrainian – whose biggest win came in December of 2007 at the World Poker Tour (WPT) $15,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em event at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic – was at pains to point out that he was previously in discussion with the poker website about joining their team of pros.

With a smile crossing his face, Katchalov added that “maybe that win sealed the deal”.

Whether that’s true or not is unimportant as Katchalov, who has about $7 million in live tournament earnings from his career, will be sporting the PokerStars livery once again next week in the Caribbean.

Galen Hall Out to Retain Main Event Crown

San Francisco’s Galen Hall left with $2,300,000 from this year’s $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event – with the 1,560 entries creating a prize pool over more than $15 million – and will also be aiming to retain his crown come next Saturday.

Over 200 entrants left with cash from that event – and there is every likelihood that the prize pool will be even more impressive once the winner is revealed on Friday, January 13, as organisers expect an even bigger turnout next week.

All you poker fans out there can tune in to see how the American gets on as Day 1b onwards will be televised.

Incredibly, the vast majority of players who have signed up for the main event won their seats via PokerStars – and poker fanatics the world over will most certainly recognise many of the names already on the starters sheet.

Team PokerStars Pros Out in Numbers

Included on this illustrious list are players such as Team PokerStars Pros Victor Ramdin, Pat Pezzin, Toni Judet, Matthias De Meulder and Vanessa Selbst, as well as Nicolas Chouity – the European Poker Tour (EPT) season six Grand Final winner from Monte Carlo – this year’s EPT Barcelona main event champ Martin Schleich, EPT Tallinn main event winner Ronny Kaiser, 2008 EPT Dortmund champ McDonald, 2004 EPT London winner John Shipley, last year’s EPT Berlin champion Kevin MacPhee, and Greek PokerStars Challengers Georgios Kapalas and Stavros Kalfas.

The entry list also includes Chris Oliver, this year’s PCA main event runner-up, PCA $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller champ Will Molson, Kenny Hicks, Alex Fitzgerald, Andrew Lichtenberger, Govert Metaal, Dominik Nitsche, Bryn Kenney, Dominykas Karmazinas, Matt Stout, Russell Carson and Soren Kongsgaard Nielsen.

Some players also won their PCA places through the PokerStars’ 10th Anniversary Giveaway, and they include EPT High Roller star Philipp Gruissem, 2009 EPT Vilamoura champ Antonio Matias and Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg.

Additionally, a trio of PokerStars Team Online players have also registered and they are Shane Schleger, Anders Berg and Kevin Thurman.

PCA Satellites Running Until Sunday

The 2012 Mega-Path satellites have provided numerous players with places – valued at almost $15,000 – at the PCA, including Konstantin Aleynik, Jonathan Grubb, Juan Carlos, Jesus Sanchez, Gabriel Rausch and Garry Rogerson.

While that sextet secured their places back in March, the PCA qualifiers are still running with two more events still to come after today.

Tomorrow will see a $215 buy-in satellite run from 12:30 at PokerStars, while a $33+Rebuy-3xT buy-in event begins at 16:41. Both of these tournaments will provide two packages to the PCA.

Then, on Sunday, at 05:00 there is a $320 buy-in satellite that supplies one PCA place, before a $700 buy-in satellite offers 30 packages. The penultimate qualifier is at 16:41 and is a $33+Rebuy event that guarantees one place, while the last satellite arrives at 18:00 and is a $530 buy-in event that will see two players flying out the Caribbean.

2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule

Thursday, January 5:

12:00, $98,500+$1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller (eight max) Re-Entry Day 1

Friday, January 6:

12:00, $98,500+$1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller (eight max) Re-Entry Day 2 (TV coverage)

17:00, $1,040+$60 No-Limit One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event

19:00, $1,040+$60 No-Limit One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event

Saturday, January 7:

12:00, $98,500+$1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller (eight max) Re-Entry Final Day (TV coverage)

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 1a

14:00, $5,000+$200 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Turbo (eight max)

17:00, $1,040+$60 buy-in No-Limit One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event

19:00, $1,040+$60 buy-in No-Limit One Rebuy Super Satellite to Main Event

Sunday, January 8:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 1b (TV coverage)

14:00, $5,000+$200 buy-in No-Limit Turbo (eight max)

18:00, $1,000+$1,000+$150 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Bounty

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha 8 Turbo

Monday, January 9:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 2 (TV coverage)

12:00, Invitation-only No-Limit Canada Cup (live final table)

13:00, $5,000+$250 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Day 1 (eight max)

15:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in H.O.E. Day 1 (Hold’em, Omaha 8, Stud Eight, $25,000 guaranteed)

17:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Win The Button Day 1

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Turbo

Tuesday, January 10:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 3 (TV coverage)

12:00, $2,000+$150 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Day 1

13:00, $5,000+$250 buy-in PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha Championships Day 1 (eight max)

15:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in Omaha 8/Stud 8 Day 1 ($25,000 guaranteed)

17:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Survivor ($10,000 prize, 20-minute levels)

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in No-Limit Turbo

Wednesday, January 11:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 4 (play down to 24 players, TV coverage)

12:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Day 1 (six max)

13:00, $5,000+$250 buy-in PokerStars 8 Game Championships Day 1

17:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Ante Only Day 1

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in No-Limit Turbo

Thursday, January 12:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Day 5 (play down to eight players, TV coverage)

12:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Day 1

13:00, $25,000+$500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Re-Entry Day 1 (eight max)

15:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Dealer’s Choice Four or Five Cards Day 1 (eight max)

17:00, $2,000+$150 buy-in No-Limit Turbo

18:00, $200+$20 buy-in No-Limit Super Satellite to $1,000+$100 buy-in Women’s Event (three seats added)

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in No-Limit Turbo

Friday, January 13:

12:00, $10,000+$300 buy-in Main Event Final Day (TV and webcast coverage)

12:00, Invitation-only World Cup of Poker Day 1

12:00, $1,000+$1,000+$150 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Bounty

13:00, $5,000+$250 buy-in PokerStars Heads-Up Championships Day 1 (64-player maximum)

14:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Women’s Event Day 1

15:00, $550+$50 buy-in Players Choice Event

17:00, $1,000+$100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Rivers Day 1

19:00, $270+$30 buy-in No-Limit Turbo

19:00, Invitation-only No-Limit PokerStars VIP Club Freeroll

Saturday, January 14:

12:00, $2,000+$100 buy-in PCA Battleship Main Event

12:00, $270+$30 buy-in No-Limit Turbo Edition of PCA Main Event (15-minute levels, $25,000 guaranteed)

13:00, $10,000+$200 buy-in No-Limit Turbo High Roller (six max)

20:30, Invitation-only PokerStars PCA Party