The inaugural PokerStars’ Players Championship (PSPC) came to an end on Jan. 10 after five days of incredible action in the Bahamas. At the end of the tournament, which mixed 1,039 entrants of every skill level and nationality, Spanish poker pro Ramon Colillas came out on top.
Colillas, a pro who previously had only about $10,000 in live tournament earnings, won his entry to the PSPC by virtue of a Platinum Pass. He gained his entry package after winning the site’s Campeonato de España de Poker leaderboard.
Along with his championship, Colillas scored the largest poker prize ever collected by a player from Spain. He took home $5.1 million in cash for his first-place finish.
The eventual champion entered heads-up play with a more than 2-to-1 chip advantage over runner-up Julien Martini. The two players battled for over an hour while Martini struggled to gain traction.
Martini, a Frenchman who had previously posted about $1 million in live tournament winnings, took home $2.97 million for second place.
“A lot of players were saying this was the most important tournament in history,” said Colillas. “So, now it’s only about happiness and enjoying the moment.”
Platinum Pass winners ran well at the PSPC
Colillas wasn’t the only Platinum Pass winner who made a deep run. Another Platinum Pass winner, Marc Rivera, took third for $2.17 million.
The Platinum Pass promotion was unique in the world of poker. PokerStars awarded $30,000 PSPC packages in live and online tournaments, various competitions, and through others’ events throughout 2018.
Platinum Pass winners were from all walks of life. Many were recreational players living a dream of playing in a major event they might not otherwise have the bankroll to play.
Platinum Passes spread across the world in 2018
In the US, former world champion Chris Moneymaker traveled to dozens of casinos and card rooms across the country last year. He hosted a series of $86 Moneymaker Tour tournaments and awarded passes to the winners.
PokerStars ran the Platinum Pass promotion as it sought to build buzz and enthusiasm for its signature event, PokerStars’ Caribbean Adventure (PCA). The company seems to have been successful in that pursuit, with players and pass winners thrilled both to live a dream at the poker table and to secure a dream vacation in paradise.
As 2018 progressed, the passes became some of the most coveted items in poker. The company gave away 320 passes in 50 different countries. As a result, the event built a massive prize pool of $26.5 million, and 43 Platinum Pass winners made money.
Lest one think that PokerStars was stingy at any point, the company reportedly spent more than $9 million on the PokerStars’ Players Championship and the Platinum Pass promotion. In fact, Colillas’s winnings alone included an added $1 million from PokerStars.
“We couldn’t have scripted a better outcome for the tournament and PokerStars congratulates Ramon and all of the competitors for making this an historic event,” said PokerStars Director of Poker Marketing Eric Hollreiser. “Ramon’s victory is a reminder that with a dream, some talent and a little luck, poker can change your life. We’re proud to have created a special experience for more than a thousand players, but especially for those like Ramon who had never previously dreamed of playing in such a tournament.”
The PCA is still cranking
Though the PSPC is over, PokerStars’ grand celebration of poker doesn’t stop. The PCA will continue through Jan. 16. For those interested, the $10,300 Main Event will kick off Jan. 11, and the $25,000 High Roller event is set to run Jan. 14-16.
Those interested in checking out some of the PCA action can head to PokerStars’ live streaming offerings at PokerStars TV and Twitch. Day 2 of the $100,000 Super High Roller will stream Jan. 11.
Please visit PokerStars for a complete list of the remaining PCA events.
Photo courtesy of PokerStars and Neil Stoddart.