Do you love to play poker, eat good food, see the sites of the world, and be able to spend quality time with your friends and loved ones while the kids are having a ball? Of course you do! No, you have not died and gone to Heaven, this all takes place on earth and we have just the trip for you A Card Player Cruises poker vacation! We have a fantastic UFA team assembled and guaranteed to make your cruising experience one to remember and repeat time and time again. It doesn’t matter if you don’t yet play poker as WSOP champion Linda Johnson holds a beginners class so you don’t have to play with the big boys and girls if you don’t want to. After the class, we will spread a beginner game for newbies only! I have just written a short piece on our last trip, which was to the Western Caribbean, to give you all an insight into the wonderful world of poker cruising. So sit back and enjoy and let’s sail away into the sunset of a future cruise together.
New Orleans was the ideal port from which to depart and the partying was in full swing long before the start of the recent seven-day adventure on The Card Player Cruise to the Western Caribbean. Many passengers took the opportunity to spend a little time in the Big Easy prior to boarding the Celebration on Sept. 10th. There was so much to see and do in New Orleans: gawking at the sights on Bourbon Street, riding the trolley cars, sampling Creole cuisine, shopping, and listening to the jazz selections from many local bars. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
After settling into their cabins and exploring the ship, several hundred cruisers got together for the first time at the welcome aboard party. Here, Linda Johnson (well known and respected figure in the poker world) gave some helpful cruise tips and introduced the great team of staff that will ensure your trip is enjoyable. Guests also received gifts of T-shirts and waterproof safes suitable for carrying their valuables while swimming. Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres helped to get the festivities going.
Following the first of many delicious meals, the poker room opened and quickly filled up with 11 games. Throughout the cruise, the action consisted of hold’em at limits of $1-$2, $2-$4, $4-$8, $6-$12, $10-$20, $15-$30, and $20-$40, Omaha/8 at $4-$8, $10-$20, and $20-$40, and $1-$5 stud. H.O.E. (H.O.E. is a round each of hold ’em, Omaha and eight or better) at $20-$40 or $30-$60. Even a $10 a point Chinese poker game was spread on the last night of the cruise.
The Tournament of Champions is one of the most prestigious tournaments held each year in the USA and it attracts players from all over the world. On this 7-day poker cruise we held 3 TOC-qualifying tournaments.
Following are the winners and money finishers in each of the three events.
Al Giardina & Arnold Cohen Al Giardina and Arnold Cohen
Arnold Cohen (right) was the Limit hold’em TOC qualifer. Al Giardina (left) placed 2nd.
$230 (Buy-In) Limit hold’em Tournament
- Arnold Cohen TOC qualifier $3,420
- Al Giardina $1,900
- Mike O’Malley $1,140
- Mark Legros $760
- Scott Ward $380
Roy Zimmerman and Darnell Jones Roy Zimmerman and Darnell Jones
Darnell Jones (right) was the (Buy-in) Omaha/8 Tournament TOC qualifer. Roy Zimmerman (left) placed 2nd.
$230 (Buy-in) Omaha/8 Tournament
- Darnell Jones TOC qualifier $2,000
- Roy Zimmerman $1,200
- Dick Douglas $800
Mike O’Malley and Danny Fell Mike O’Malley and Danny Fell
Danny Fell (right) was the (Buy-in) No-limit hold’em Tournament TOC qualifer. Mike O’Malley (left) placed 2nd.
$60 (Buy-in) No-limit hold’em Tournament with rebuys
- Danny Fell TOC qualifier $2,415
- Mike O’Malley $1,208
- Rebecca Emmons $604
- Scott Rankin $483
- Jesse Hollander $423
- Joni Hynek $302
- Richard Henson $242
- Frank Mattorocci $211
- Dan Lumello $151
Card Player Cruises are also offered many exciting excursions exclusively for its passengers in each port. In Montego Bay, Jamaica, we offered the ever-popular raft trip on the Martha Brae River as well as a trip to a private beach club. Following this was a visit to the wild and crazy Margaritaville. This popular tourist hangout is one to be remembered for its wild drinks, loud music, over the water trampoline, and water slide. Needless to say, it was a fun day! On the beautiful island of Grand Cayman, passengers had the opportunity to either snorkel with stingrays on a shallow sandbar or tour the island with stops at a local turtle farm and the city of Hell. Here, sending home a postcard was the thing to do. Where else could you get a postcard postmarked from hell?
In Cozumel, many cruisers chose to take the jungle jeep safari trip. This was a true adventure through the mud and mire into the remote jungle full of wildlife and tropical brush.
As usual, there was much to do on the ship for the nonpoker players. Every night, a Vegas-style show was offered and many nights featured an X-rated comedy show at midnight. There was dancing in many lounges, karaoke, ping pong, shuffleboard, bingo, a sushi bar, full casino, pools and Jacuzzis, games, trivia, and a Nautica spa for massage and general overall pampering to name a few of the activities. Camp Carnival counselors were available to entertain the children all day with scavenger hunts, pool games, crafts, movies, video games, and much, much more.