Wednesday, 27th September 2023 05:23
Home / PSPC / Craigen steam-rolls through PSPC to life-changing min-cash

By their own estimation, the PokerStars television crew have recorded close to 50 interviews with players during this PCA/PSPC festival. But the guy who has operated the clapperboard on all of them just ended a recent chat with Glen Craigen with the words, “That’s my favourite one of them all.”

Four people — a cameraman, a make-up artist, an interviewer and a reporter — all had goosebumps as Craigen, the man from Lamont, near Edmonton, Alberta, positively bounced out of the room having told his life story.

The most recent chapter of that story involves what he describes as a “life-changing min-cash” at the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).

Craigen, 44, is a construction worker, who lays asphalt on the highway. He enjoys playing poker in his spare time, both at local casinos and on PokerStars, and he had been dabbling in a few qualifying events to the PSPC.

He won a couple of freerolls and ended with a $1,000 satellite ticket to the final PSPC qualifier — an event that took place on a Sunday.

But he was due to work.

ROLLING ASPHALT, WINNING PLATINUM

Craigen operates a steam roller. It’s a job where you need to be focused. But happily, it’s also a job where you occasionally need to climb down from the cab and wait for a little while as the asphalt dries.

These are the circumstances in which Craigen won his Platinum Pass. He climbed into the cab and did some work. Then he climbed down and played a bit of poker on his phone. He said his hope was to be in the final percent that would earn another $1,000 ticket, so he could play the tournament again the next week, while he was at home and could focus.

But as the 59-strong starting field continued to shrink, Craigen was still among them. He was still rolling asphalt, pausing, playing poker. Rolling asphalt, pausing, playing poker.

And then with four players left, he won a huge pot through the chip leader with a dominated ace, spiking a miracle seven, and essentially could force the others all in every hand until he was the champion.

A relieved Glen Craigen, just after tripling up

“I was walking across the grass and it said on my phone, ‘You have won a Platinum Pass’,” Craigen says. “I started yelling and jumping up and my foreman was the only guy at work who didn’t know I was playing poker. You’re not going to tell your boss you’re playing poker.

“He came running over thinking there was an injury or an accident or something, asking if I was OK. I said, ‘I just won $30,000!’ He was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I showed him. He wasn’t upset. I wouldn’t play while I was running my machine, and I even told me afterwards, make sure you’re off your equipment. Be safe about it. And here we are.”

“Here we are” is deep on Day 3 of the PSPC, where Craigen’s freeroll now seems certain to earn him at least $35,100. That’s because he won an enormous three-way all-in, tripling his stack to around 370,000 — enough to allow Craigen to step away from the table and not play another hand until the bubble is burst.

A CRUCIAL TRIPLE-UP

“Holy f***, man!” Craigen shouted from the table. “Holy f***!. I freerolled into this! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, man!”

The hand in question came about when Craigen shoved his last 25 big blinds in with KJ and he picked up two callers, both with ace-king. He didn’t even look at the flop as he was trying to get his phone ready to capture the moment, but Sean Winter told him that he’d hit his jack.

“Holy f***, man!”

Craigen’s very literal prayers had been answered.

As he explained later, Craigen’s mother Wanda passed away two months before he won his Platinum Pass. She developed cancer and was unable to beat it, but Craigen said she was not in pain and the family were able to say goodbye.

He wears a necklace containing her ashes and said he held it and prayed this morning, asking for a double-up. “I got a triple,” he says.

Craigen’s prayers were answered

Craigen explains that he is not a rich man, and that the money he is set to win means an enormous amount to him. But until today, he had been able to focus purely on making the right plays, without thinking of the money.

“It was just a game until today,” he says. “And today it became real. And after I tripled up, it’s really real. It’s just amazing.”

‘YOU CAN WIN AGAINST THE PROS’

He added that the pressure has got a little more intense as the bubble approaches, but he decided to step away to lock up that min-cash and surrender only blinds, rather than anything more significant.

He says he’s been working on his game, but accepts that he’s still an underdog against some of the elite talents in the tournament too.

“I’m a normal person, but you can play against the pros and you can win,” he says. “Everybody gets dealt two cards and if you play, you know a little bit, you can win.”

As Craigen steam-rolls on, he continues to think of his mom and how she would be excited to watch his progress.

“She would tell me she’s proud of me,” he says. “She’s say, ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ She’s always been positive and that’s how I am. The more positive you are, the better things are. This is a blast. I’m still on cloud nine right now.”

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