PokerStars History

2004: The Start of PokerStars Live Tournaments

2004 began with the first PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which was held on the Voyager of the Seas cruise ship. The ship had no poker room; the PokerStars staff built the room from scratch (including a cashier area) from a conference suite. Along with the main tournament event, there were cash games and sit and go tournaments.

The main tournament had a $7,500 buy-in and 221 players participated for a total prize pool of $1,657,500. The final table of the tournament was held on the ship’s ice rink, which was covered over with wooden flooring, but it was still noticeably chilly in the venue. The entire final table (and the tournament leading up to it) was televised by the WPT; it was PokerStars first TV show.

PokerStars Caribbean Aventure Logos

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure logos

The final three players were Gus Hansen, Hoyt Corkins, and Daniel Negreanu. Hansen won the first prize of $455,780, defeating Corkins in the heads-up finale.

This trip also featured the first World Cup of Poker (WCP), an event in which five-player teams compete on behalf of their home nation. The inaugural WCP was won by Costa Rica.

World Series of Poker* Presence

315 people qualified on PokerStars for the WSOP Main Event in June, making up 12% of the total field of 2,576 players. The PokerStars qualifiers took home over 40% of the prize pool and four of the nine players at the final table were PokerStars qualifiers. Eventually the tournament got down to heads-up between Greg Raymer and David Williams - both PokerStars qualifiers. Raymer won the bracelet and shortly thereafter became one of PokerStars brand ambassadors. David Williams would later become a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

WCOOP Keeps Growing

The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) ran during August and consisted of 12 events with a total prize pool of over $6,000,000. Over 10,000 players from 40 countries participated. The Main Event prize pool was $2.1 million and players from six different countries were seated at the final table. The winner was ‘Ragde’ from Norway, who took home almost $425,000.

EPT Comes to Life

PokerStars partnered with Poker Millions winner John Duthie to launch the European Poker Tour (EPT), a series of live poker tournaments in Europe which would go on to become the world’s richest poker tour. The first event was EPT Barcelona during September, with a buy-in of €1,000. The event attracted 229 players and first prize was won by Swedish player Alexander Stevic.

The first season of EPT had seven events:

The season total prize pool was almost $4.8 million.

The First Billionth Hand

During December, PokerStars dealt its one billionth hand. That’s 1,000,000,000 (one thousand million) poker hands.

*World Series of Poker and WSOP are trademarks of Caesars License Company, LLC ("Caesars"). Caesars does not sponsor or endorse, and is not associated or affiliated with PokerStars or its products, services, promotions or tournaments.