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Poker News | Casino Poker | News

World Poker - The Bahamas

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Formally known as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, this English speaking country consists of 700 islands and 2,000 cays which form an archipelago. By the time Columbus set foot on San Salvador Island in 1492, there were over 40,000 Lucayans inhabiting the islands. Within two decades, the Lucayan society ceased to exist in The Bahamas, due to the natives being shipped to Hispaniola and forced into slavery. The islands virtually remained uninhabited until 1947 when English settlers migrated from Bermuda.

In 1717 The Bahamas became a British crown colony, and in 1964, the British made the islands completely self governing. In 1973, The Bahamas became fully independent, while retaining their membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Their legal and political traditions are based on those of the UK. While Queen Elizabeth II is the ceremonial head of state, The Bahamas are officially represented by a Bahamian Governor General.

Known around the world for their incredibly crystal clear, aqua seas and white sand beaches, the beautiful islands of the Bahamas have long been a favored vacation spot. The islands, located a short hop by air just east of Florida, are a popular residence for the world’s wealthy as well. Other than the beautiful locale, the wealthy class also benefits from the favorable financial advantages the Bahamas has to offer. Along with being one of the largest banking centers in the world, the islands are also tax-free. This tax-free status includes income tax, sales tax and capitol gains taxes.

Bahamian immigration laws also favor the wealthy. Anyone who has a spare $500,000 to invest in real property will automatically qualify for permanent Bahamian resident status. With 700 islands in the Bahamas, the wealthy have no problem buying a piece of legal residency. Among the famous faces who can boast owning an island in the Bahamas are: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Johnny Depp, and Nicolas Cage. Other well known estate owners who are at least part time residents include: Tiger Woods, Sean Connery, Sidney Poitier, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, David Copperfield, John Travolta, Eddie Murphy, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Lenny Kravitz, Joseph Lewis, Daniel Nestor, and Shakira Mebarak.

For the not so well heeled, obtaining permanent residency is much more complex, and the law requires non-residents to return to visit their homeland every six months. Employment opportunities are also restricted for non-residents. The only jobs available to immigrants are those in professional fields such as doctors, nurses, and lawyers. Bahamians typically do not have the means to obtain higher educations, and most are employed in the service industry. Therefore, popular service jobs like driving a Taxi, waiting tables, and working in hotels, are reserved solely for the locals.

Although the official sport is Cricket, sports activities are endless in the Bahamas, including Parasailing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Visitors agree however, the beaches and water are the biggest attraction in the Bahamas. Since there are no rivers on the islands, there is no pollution or run off to make the waters murky. It is said the water is so clear, you can see a dime at 30 feet. Since the water is so pristine, it is warmed from the sun’s rays, making water sports even more enjoyable.

The Bahamas, like most Caribbean islands, depends largely on tourism for their economic survival. The nightlife on the island is hot, hot, hot, as tourists and locals dance to the unique sounds of steel drum bands while drinking Bahama Mamas and Pina Coladas.

For those looking for indoor excitement, the larger islands, like Grand Bahama, Great Exuma, Paradise Island , and New Providence, offer gambling in at least one casino. Unfortunately, poker players who were looking for some green felt action had to settle for casino games like Caribbean Stud, blackjack, pai gow or craps.

Then in January of 2004, Poker officially arrived in the Bahamas when the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) which is now part of the European Poker Tour (EPT), premiered at the Atlanits Casino on Paradise Island. For the first time in the island’s history, there was week long, non-stop, hot poker action.

Following the huge success of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event, the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino started making plans for a $6.7 million casino renovation project. The plans for the casino face lift also included space for a new Poker Room.

History was made on September 1st 2005, when The Crystal Palace Casino opened the doors of the first Poker Room ever in The Bahamas. Located at Cable Beach/Nassau on New Providence Island, the Crystal Palace is now one of the largest casino properties in the Bahamas and the only one to offer poker. The newly revamped casino and poker room opened to rave reviews and the delight of both locals and tourists. Bahamian law allowed locals to work in casinos, but banned them from gambling in them. But, unlike other casino games, Bahamians are allowed to play poker.

With the huge popularity poker is experiencing around the world, it may be only a matter of time until all Bahamian casinos start opening poker rooms and cashing in on the poker boom.

Check out PokerWorks’ online sites where you can play freeroll tournaments, live money games, free games, and chat your poker experiences – wins and beats - and play with people from around the globe, even some Bahamians!

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