The Platinum Pass is back. PokerStars announced on Tuesday that the popular promotion would be returning for another year.
Poker fans around the world can win a coveted pass into the €22,500 buy-in ($25,000) PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), this time set for Aug. 20-24, 2020, in Barcelona.
The announcement came as part of festivities at the EPT Barcelona, which is underway now.
What is a Platinum Pass?
Winners of the 2018-19 Platinum Pass promotion earned a $25,000 entry into the PSPC through various contests and promotions. PokerStars Ambassador Chris Moneymaker also crisscrossed the country hosting $86 tournaments as part of the Moneymaker Tour.
In 2003, he paid the same amount in a PokerStars online qualifier to get into the World Series of Poker. It made poker history when the amateur won the bracelet and $2.5 million.
Moneymaker Tour winners earned a $25,000 entry into the tournament, which was held as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January. Winners also earned a free trip and amenities in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort.
The online poker site is attempting to recapture some of the goodwill and publicity that came with the promotion. In addition to the $25,000 tournament ticket entry, winners earn:
- A six-night hotel stay
- Airfare and transfers
- Other expenses for themselves and a guest
PokerStars managing director and commercial officer Severin Rasset spoke about the event in a news release:
“The inaugural PSPC was an amazing success, and featured hundreds of Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event.
“The PSPC demonstrates our commitment to cultivating and growing the game, not only by creating opportunities for poker fans of all levels to win life-changing sums of money but also by showcasing poker and the entertainment it provides.”
A fun mix of pros and amateurs
What made the PSPC interesting is the complete mix of high-level professional poker players and recreational players. PokerStars’ contests featured amateur players earning trips to the PSPC, but also pros ponying up the hefty buy-in as well.
Some of the recreational players had never even played in a major tournament before. Indiana’s Matt Kiefer won his entry through a vlogging contest.
Kiefer’s mix of humor, storytelling, and high-quality production skills helped earn the Bahamas trip. It also helped motivate him to be more of a content creator outside of his day job in video production.
Kiefer commented on the experience:
“The PSPC Bahamas was a dream come true. Not just playing in the tournament but meeting my poker heroes I’ve seen on TV. The vlogger competition gave me the push to start creating content.
“And it’s plugged me into the poker content scene instantly. It also surprised me that I’ve kept in touch with so many friends I’ve made along the way.”
Manuscript to money
Jacki Burkhart was another Platinum Pass winner. The dental hygienist and recreational poker player from Oregon won a Platinum Pass for writing and submitting her poker story.
The tale of growing up and playing with family earned accolades from author and PokerStars ambassador Maria Konnikova.
Not only did she earn her trip to the PSPC, but Burkhart also made a massive run in the event. She ultimately finished 38th for $86,400 – making the vacation even sweeter. Burkhart described her experience:
“My experience was amazing. It was the best time of my life, such a wonderful opportunity.
“Even if I busted without a penny it would have been the best time of my life, but making the money and donating to an Alzheimer’s charity was even better.”
Online players can qualify – including in New Jersey
Throughout 2018, players could qualify for the PSPC online as well. That included players on the site’s New Jersey platform. Qualifying tournaments should be available again for the 2020 PSPC.
Pennsylvania will likely have online poker by next year. And while West Virginia has legalized online poker, residents will likely miss out on the opportunity to earn a pass in the Mountain State. Online casino gambling in West Virginia is tentatively scheduled for 2021.
All of this means more opportunities for US poker players.
Spain’s Ramon Colillas won the inaugural event and it ended up being the largest $25,000 buy-in tournament in history. He was one of the 320 Platinum Pass winners and topped a field of 1,039 entries for $5.1 million.
Colillas, now a PokerStars ambassador said:
“From the lead-up to the tournament to the event itself, and now wearing the PokerStars patch, it has been a dream come true. I’m so happy it’s back again and I get to be a part of an event that could change someone’s life.”
PokerStars has already given out five Platinum Passes with more coming soon. Those winners received their passes in Barcelona as part of the “Chase Your Dream” competition.
The five winners believed they would be playing Stars ambassadors and celebrities for a chance at €10,000. Instead, they earned 2020 Platinum Passes which took them completely by surprise.
While he may not have cashed in the Bahamas, Matt Kiefer is awaiting a shot to chase his own dream again. He hopes to make it back-to-back trips to the PSPC.
“I honestly don’t know much about Barcelona, but my wife, three kids, and I bought our passports for the Bahamas and it would be great to use them again. I’ll be waiting for a video competition unless my Platinum Pass hasn’t expired!”