PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship

The PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish.

The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous.

The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays.

If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament.

Here’s a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level.

2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750
Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415)
2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250
Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165)
2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250
Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140)
2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000
Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150)
2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000
Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000)
2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000
Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356)
2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500
Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960)
2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852
Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059)
2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825
Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499)
2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000
Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040)

Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It’s more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn’t happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here’s a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA.

2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000
Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000)
2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800
Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000)
2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400
Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000)
2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400
Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000)
2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700
Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096)
2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900
Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000)
2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976
Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000)
2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200
Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580)
2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842
Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255)
2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000
Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040)

The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall.

The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event.

So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship’s figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize.

Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event’s final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.