Finally, it’s almost here. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) to return for a second instalment, right?
But while the downtime dragged at times, it’s actually worked out for the best.
More time to build up to the event has meant that more Platinum Passes have been awarded to poker players around the world. And through a variety of different methods.
And that’s what makes the PSPC such a special event. Hundreds of poker players and fans who would never usually play in a $25,000 buy-in tournament will now get the chance to do just that. In the Bahamas, no less.
But what exactly is a Platinum Pass? How many have been won so far? And through what methods did people win them?
What is Platinum Pass?
In a nutshell, a Platinum Pass is a free package worth $30,000 to go to the Bahamas and compete in the $25,000 buy-in PSPC 2023.
- Buy-in to the $25,000 PSPC
- Six nights hotel accommodation for winner and a guest in the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel
- Airport transfer
- $1,900 expense money
- Platinum Pass Winner experiences during the event
The winner of the inaugural PSPC back in 2019 was Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas, now a PokerStars Team Pro.
The former fitness trainer from Barcelona bagged his Pass by winning a Spanish poker tour leader board. He collected points for high finishes in a series of small buy-in events across his home country.
He then took that Pass, flew to the Bahamas, and beat a 1,039-player field to win $5.1 million.
How many Platinum Passes have been won?
For the 2019 edition, 320 Platinum Passes were given out. That tallied up to $9 million added to the prize pool (including the extra $1 million PokerStars added to the first-place prize).
In total, Platinum Pass winners cashed for $9,790,450 in the tournament.
So, will we see that beaten in 2023?
Well, the number of Platinum Passes given out this time around is a lot bigger. So if another Platinum Pass winner can follow in Colillas’ footsteps, there’s certainly a chance.
At the time of writing, more than 400 Platinum Passes have been awarded for the PSPC 2023.
That means more than $10.2 million is already guaranteed in the prize pool before anyone else has even registered.
Methods for winning a Platinum Pass
Platinum Passes have been won through a diverse mix of methods, far too many to list here. But let’s pick out a few to highlight.
The Mega Path route was popular, allowing those playing on PokerStars to win a Platinum Pass for as little as $0.50. Here’s how it worked:
Step 0 – $0.50 Spin & Go or Sit & Go tournament (buy-in or ticket, on-demand)
Step 1 – $1.50 or $5 Sit & Go tournament (buy-in or ticket, on-demand)
Step 2 – $20 MTT (buy-in or ticket, on-demand)
Step 3 – $100 MTT (buy-in or ticket, twice each week)
Step 4 – $1,000 MTT (ticket only, each Sunday)
Of course, many players skipped the first stage by getting hold of a freeroll ticket. That’s what Pass holder Stephen Gray did. The oil rig worker then went all the way, playing each step on his mobile phone while on a work trip. He played the final stage in his hotel room. Upon winning he celebrated so loudly that another guest made a noise complaint.
Mats Rosen won his Platinum Pass in a similar way, albeit with a bit of a head start. He received a free $20 ticket in a PokerStars Chest and spun it up into a package worth $30,000.
Military veteran Karl Robinson had stopped playing poker entirely until he heard about the Mega Path. The prospect of qualifying for the PSPC from $20 satellites reignited his love of poker and he went on to book himself a seat in the $25K buy-in event.
And two-time Platinum Pass winner Jennifer Carter won her second Pass through the Mega Path back in October 2019. A lot has changed for her since then, but the Pass has remained her beacon of hope.
The first five players to win Platinum Passes were competition winners.
Back in August 2019, at the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona, five winners of the Chase Your Dream promotion–where entrants were invited to submit an audition video, showcasing their personalities and what makes them stand out from the crowd–gathered to play a sit & go in front of the PokerStars cameras.
The five winners were paired with a PokerStars Ambassador hailing from their region to be their coach and mentor as they battled to win a €10,000 prize.
At least that’s what the prize was.
It turns out all five had already won themselves a Platinum Pass worth $30,000. One of those winners, teaching assistant Danielle Summer, is now buzzing to finally get the chance to play three and a half years later.
Then there was the Dare2Stream competition which not only came with a PokerStars Team Pro contract for the winner but a surprise Platinum Pass too. Sebastian “peace&loove” Huber took it down and so he’ll be in the Bahamas with his PokerStars patches attached.
And this week we saw Matt Glassman’s moving ode to home games win Jennifer Shahade’s #PlatinumPokerHand competition, bagging himself a last-minute Platinum Pass.
Add in all the Twitch giveaways and social media contests, and many of the Pass winners booked their seats in the PSPC 2023 by winning competitions.
Winning a poker tournament is one thing. But winning a poker tournament as well as a Platinum Pass on top of your prize money? That’s the dream.
And that’s what happened to many of our Platinum Pass winners.
Andy Barham took down Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC London event in October 2019, winning £7,501, a Platinum Pass and getting Chris Moneymaker to agree to become his dealer.
In January 2020, Florencio Campomanes, a crusher on the high roller circuit in Asia, enjoyed a week-long sun run at the Red Dragon Manila, the kind that most players can only dream of. First, he finished second in the ₱500,000 Super High Roller for ₱3.6 million ($70,400). Then he entered the ₱100,000 Red Dragon Main Event and his table was randomly selected to take part in a Crazy Pineapple Flipout for a Platinum Pass. He won that too.
These are just two of many players whose tournament poker skills and results led them to win a Platinum Pass.
So, to sum up:
418 Platinum Passes have been won.
That’s $10.2 million already guaranteed in the prize pool.
Now there’s nothing left to do but wait and countdown to the PSPC 2023.
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