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  1. There are still plenty of PokerStars Platinum Passes left to be won in 2018. However, only five more Platinum Passes are available to be earned as a part of the PokerStars Platinum Pass Adventure. The program enables PokerStars ambassadors to create unique ways for players to win their way to the 2019 $25,000 PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship. Now PokerStars personalities Daniel Negreanu, Maria Konnikova, Jeff Gross, Jen Shahade and Lex Veldhuis will be handing out passes. Each ambassador tasks their fanbase to perform something unique in an effort to be one of the people selected at a shot to win millions in the Bahamas. Negreanu Asks "Who Do You Play For?" Daniel Negreanu’s challenge is asking the poker community the question “Who are you playing for?” Negreanu understands that players are likely hoping for a score to change their own lives, but he’s asking for more. His challenge requires people to create a short video discussing a motivating charity, cause or foundation that would also benefit from having you playing in the PSPC. “You can make a huge difference for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. So…who do you play for?” Negreanu said. Submit the video using the social media hashtag #DonateWithDaniel by September 30. Negreanu will select his top five finalists and then, on October 13 award the Platinum Pass. The four finalist videos that are not selected will all earn $1,000 for the charities or causes discussed. If the winner of the challenge cashes or, even wins, they will donate 50% of their earnings to the charity in their video. Konnikova's Poker Story Maria Konnikova’s poker story is incredibly unique. After having set out to write a book about what it takes to become a professional poker player, she actually lived it out. She turned a victory in the $1,500 2018 PokerStars PCA National event for $84,000 into a sponsorship deal with PokerStars. Now, she’s giving away a Platinum Pass to someone else who has a story to tell. “I truly believe that creativity and storytelling are among the most valuable and most often overlooked skills in poker - and I can’t wait to see you embrace those skills in this challenge,” Konnikova said. Konnikova's #mypokerstory challenge is looking for the most compelling story of what it means to be a good poker player. Are You Ready For Your Close Up? The social media savvy Jeff Gross has been creating YouTube vlogs for years and now he’s looking to inspire someone else to pick up a camera and begin to document their journey. “To have the opportunity to encourage someone to create something they are passionate about and give away a once in a lifetime experience trip to the PSPC means the world to me,” said Gross. “This is an event that will go down in history as one of the most special poker tournaments of our time.” Visit Gross' YouTube Channel for more details on his challenge. Create The Ultimate Game Of Skill Chess expert Jennifer Shahade found her way to to the felt by way of the chess board. Now, she’s hoping to find the next poker superstar among those who also share a love for both games. The #MyChessPokerGame challenge is asking the community to create a new game that incorporates elements of both chess and poker. “Poker is not just a game, but a passion, a science and a community, just like my first love, chess,” said Shahade. Shahade will select the finalists and a panel of poker and chess professionals will help select the winner, including Negreanu, Live Boeree and International Chess Master Danny Mensch. Pay It Forward Team PokerStars Online Pro Lex Veldhuis has also opted for a person of charity to receive his Platinum Pass. Hoping to find someone who will pay it forward, Veldhuis is looking for someone who will take action by documenting themselves spending 20 hours for a charitable cause. “When thinking about this challenge I really wanted to encompass what makes Twitch special for me. Then it became very simple. It’s people anonymously doing stuff for others. Going out of their way to do something nice or be there for someone,” Veldhuis said. “It’s a win-win contest as those who do not win a Pass will still feel like that have won by doing something they cherish, and people will have received something nice because of them.” Winners of each of the five Platinum Passes will earn a ticket to the $25,000 tournament plus an additional $5,000. Additionally, they will receive coaching and be mentored by the Ambassador who selected them. The PokerStars’ PSPC will take place January 6-10, 2019 during the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas.
  2. It's time for another major tournament series in the Garden State. The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker returns to PokerStarsNJ from September 29 to October 15. The online series stretches over 18 days and features 47 different events with $1.5 million total guaranteed prize pool. NJCOOP offers a wide variety of tournaments with buy-ins that range from $25 up to the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em High Roller. Platinum Passes “I’m looking forward to playing and streaming another great online tournament series in New Jersey with over $1 million in guaranteed prize pools, hoping the recent success from NJSCOOP continues into this tournament series,” said Chris Moneymaker. “The Main Event, as well as the $86 Moneymaker PSPC Tournament, is a great opportunity for New Jersey players to win big and get their hands on a $30,000 PokerStars Platinum Pass.” PokerStars will be awarding three Platinum Passes to their upcoming PokerStars Poker Players Championship. For the initiated, the Platinum Pass covers the $25,000 buy-in to what is likely to be the largest tournament of that size in history as well as an additional $5,000 to cover the expenses of traveling to the Bahamas, where the event will take place. There are three ways for players to get their hands on the pass. The first Platinum Pass will be awarded to the winner of the $86 Moneymaker Tour event which takes place on Sunday, September 30 online at PokerStarsNJ. On the back end of the NJCOOP schedule, two more passes will be handed out. One pass will be awarded to the winner of the ‘NJCOOP Main Event Entrants All-in Shootout’. This tournament will take place on October 16 at 8 pm ET. The champion of the 'NJCOOP Entrants All-In Shootout' will win the final $30K pass. This event begins an hour later on the same day at 9:00 pm ET. Continued Growth NJCOOP looks to expand on their successful 2017 campaign in 2018. PokerStars is adding another event to the schedule. Additionally, the total prize pool guarantee is getting a $300,000 boost above the $1.2 million that they promised in 2017. It was just last year that PocketFiver Dan ‘R@zzleDazz1e’ DiZenzo took home the Main Event title by defeating a field of 420 runners in the $200,000 NJCOOP Main Event for a career-high payday of over $36,000. Finishing right behind him in second place was Ryan ‘ACpoker0271’ Lee who also banked a career-high cash, his being for just over $26,000. The 2017 series ended up with a total prize pool of $1.45 million. PokerStars is going to need plenty of qualifiers if they want to make sure they don’t have overlay this year. Plenty of Chances To Play Satellites for events will begin on September 18 with buy-ins starting as low as $1. They will also be running Second Chance Freerolls. When a player registers for an event during NJCOOP and bust outside of the money, they will automatically receive a ticket into the Second Chance Freeroll. The freeroll awards tickets into other NJCOOP events as well as tickets into satellites. The Second Chance Freerolls run just about every day from September 30 - October 15. NJCOOP is also a good time to reload. Players who deposit $50 or more before 6:59 pm ET on October 13 will receive a free ticket into the NJCOOP $10K Main Event Depositor freeroll. This tournament gives the top 20 players a $500 NJCOOP Main Event entry. EVENT # TOURNAMENT DATE TIME GTD 1 $100 NL Hold'em (Nightly Stars - NJCOOP Warm-Up) Sept. 29 6:00 PM $20,000 2 $200 NL Hold'em (Turbo - NJCOOP Warm-Up) Sept. 29 8:00 PM $12,000 3 $200 NL Hold'em (Progressive SuperKO) Sept. 30 2:00 PM $22,000 4 $150 NL Hold'em (Deepstack, 8-Max) Sept. 30 3:30 PM $20,000 5 $250 NL Hold'em (Sunday Special SE) Sept. 30 5:00 PM $60,000 6 $86 Moneymaker Tour Event ($30K Platinum Pass ADDED) Sept. 30 7:00 PM $30,000 7 $100 PL Omaha (8-Max) Sept. 30 9:00 PM $10,000 8 $150 NL Hold'em (Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo) Sept. 30 10:00 PM $15,000 9 $100 NL Hold'em (Speed-Down) Oct. 1 6:30 PM $14,000 10 $75+R PL Omaha Hi/Lo (8-Max) Oct. 1 8:00 PM $12,000 11 $250 NL Hold'em (Super Tuesday SE) Oct. 2 7:00 PM $30,000 12 $150 NL Hold'em Escalating Antes Oct. 2 8:00 PM $15,000 13 $100 NL Hold'em (Bubble Rush) Oct. 2 9:30 PM $10,000 14 $100 NL Holdem (Progressive SuperKO) Oct. 3 6:30 PM $22,000 15 $200 FL Holdem (6-Max) Oct. 3 8:00 PM $10,000 16 $300 Eight-Game (6-Max) Oct. 4 6:30 PM $12,000 17 $50+R NL Hold'em Oct. 4 8:00 PM $18,000 18 $100 NL Hold'em (Turbo) Oct. 4 9:30 PM $12,000 19 $200 Triple Stud Oct. 5 8:00 PM $7,000 20 $50+R NL Hold'em (3-Max, Hyper-Turbo) Oct. 5 9:30 PM $8,000 21 $100 NL Hold'em (Deepstack, 8-Max) Oct. 6 5:00 PM $15,000 22 $200 NL Hold'em (Bigstack Turbo) Oct. 6 8:00 PM $15,000 23 $100 Mixed NLHE/PLO (6-Max) Oct. 7 2:00 PM $10,000 24 $150 NL Hold'em (Win the Button) Oct. 7 3:30 PM $18,000 25 $350 NL Hold'em (Sunday Special SE) Oct. 7 5:00 PM $70,000 26 $200 NL Hold'em (Progressive SuperKO) Oct. 7 7:00 PM $35,000 27 $100 NL Hold'em (Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo) Oct. 7 9:00 PM $10,000 28 $300 NL Hold'em (4-Max) Oct. 8 6:30 PM $30,000 29 $500 PL Omaha (High-Roller, 6-max) Oct. 8 8:00 PM $18,000 30 $150 NL Hold'em (1R1A) Oct. 9 6:30 PM $12,000 31 $1,000 NL Hold'em (High-Roller) Oct. 9 7:00 PM $50,000 32 $100 No Limit Omaha Hi/Lo (8-Max) Oct. 9 8:00 PM $8,000 33 $25+R NL Holdem Oct. 10 6:30 PM $10,000 34 $200 NL Hold'em (Win the Button) Oct. 10 7:00 PM $18,000 35 $50+R PL Omaha (6-Max) Oct. 11 6:30 PM $8,000 36 $150 NL Hold'em (Turbo) Oct. 11 9:00 PM $16,000 37 $100 PL 5-Card Omaha (8-Max) Oct. 12 8:00 PM $8,000 38 $200 NL Hold'em (Deep, Hyper-Turbo) Oct. 12 9:00 PM $10,000 39 $300 NL Hold'em (6-Max) Oct. 13 6:00 PM $25,000 40 $75 NL Hold'em (Zoom) Oct. 13 9:00 PM $12,000 41 $100 NL Hold'em (Big Antes) Oct. 14 2:00 PM $12,000 42 $500 NL Holdem (Main Event, 2-Day Event) Oct. 14 5:00 PM $150,000 43 $50 NL Hold'em (Main Event Structure) Oct. 14 6:00 PM $25,000 44 $100 NL Hold'em (Win the Button) Oct. 14 8:00 PM $15,000 45 $75 NL Hold'em (Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo) Oct. 14 10:00 PM $10,000 46 $150 NL Hold'em (Nightly Stars SE - NJCOOP Wrap-Up) Oct. 15 7:00 PM $22,000 47 $100 NL Hold'em (Deep, Hyper-Turbo, 6-Max) Oct. 15 9:00 PM $10,000
  3. Over ten months after announcing what is expected to be the largest $25,000 tournament in history, PokerStars has finally revealed what players can expect when they take their seat at the upcoming PokerStars Players Championship. Everything from the tournament structure to the payout percentage was designed for the players by the players as well as members of the PokerStars team. The field is expected to be a mix of elite high-rolling players and the 300 participants that freerolled into the contest by way of winning a Platinum Pass. In total, the prize pool should soar past $10,000,000 with the winner of the inaugural PSPC becoming a millionaire many times over. How Players Helped The Process The only two aspects of the PSPC that was determined before consulting the players was that the event will take five days and it will be a freezeout. There will be no re-entries. After that, PokerStars sent surveys to players who will actually be participating in the event - both Platinum Pass winners as well as players that are expected to buy-in directly. In addition, a five-player panel was consulted that includes, former PocketFives #1-ranked player Shaun Deeb, 2018 PCA High Roller winner David Dvoress, high roller circuit grinder David Peters, author-turned-PokerStars sponsored player Maria Konnikova and Dragos Trofimov - those three all have already won a Platinum Pass this year. The surveyed players, the player representatives, as well as members of the PokerStars team, evaluated just about every aspect of the tournament. With all opinions accounted for the details of the event began to take shape. Player Comfort The question of whether play would begin eight or nine-handed was seemingly split down the middle. It was decided that Day 1 of the PSPC will play nine-handed. Then, as players bust the tournament, tables will be scaled down to eight-handed “at the start of Day 2 by the latest.” With the event taking place in the Bahamas, players overwhelmingly also opted for a shorter playing day. Roughly 70% of the players wanted to play for eight hours a day versus a ten hour day. The first two days of play will not have dinner breaks but will be introduced later in the tournament depending on field size. Places Paid PokerStars popularized the current trend of paying 15% and the polled players agreed that's what the PSPC should pay. However, since there is no rake for this event, the money that would have gone to rake will be redistributed to the prize pool. Before reaching what would be a traditional min-cash, there will be some players receiving their $25,000 buy-in back. For Platinum Pass winners, this will be a $25,000 profit as they will not have paid out-of-pocket to be in the tournament. Other prize pool numbers that have been revealed include first place paying out somewhere between 16.8%-17.5%. Though the survey favored a slightly higher percentage for first place, the player panel and the PokerStars team determined that with the additional $1,000,000 added to first place, a flatter payout structure would benefit more players. Tournament Details All of today’s modern high roller conventions will be enlisted during the PSPC. The big blind ante, which is currently used in all of PokerStars LIVE events, will be used. The tournament will also shift to a shot clock as soon as the money is reached, which is expected to be late in Day 2. The structure features 60-minute levels throughout the tournament. The starting stack of 60,000 at 100/200 starting blinds provides 300 big blinds when the first hand is dealt. The min-cash will be based on the total number of players who end up registering. The calculation will likely be between 1.27 and 1.45 the buy-in. This calculates into a min-cash of roughly $32,000 on the low end and $34,000 on the high end.
  4. The PokerStars European Poker Tour returns to the winter wonderland of Prague in the Czech Republic from December 7-18. Taking place in the Casino Atrium Prague at the Hilton Prague, the festival features 43 events, two PokerStars Player Championship $25K Platinum Passes and millions of dollars in prize pools. Like many great festival schedules, there are tournament offerings for players with every size bankroll. That said, there are a few contests that players need to take note of that makes this EPT stop worth getting in one more poker vacation before the end of the year. EPT National The EPT National tournament is the first major tournament of the festival taking place from December 8-12. It carries a €1,100 buy-in and, while players cannot re-enter in any given starting flight, should you bust you are allowed to re-enter in any of the three subsequent starting flights. That makes for the opportunity to fire plenty of shots into what will undoubtedly be a high-value tournament. In 2017, during the short time the tour was branded the PokerStars Championship, this particular tournament drew 2,117 entries. It created a prize pool of over $2.4 million and awarded the winner Georgics Vrakas a career-high score of €338,000 ($398,472). EPT Super High Roller With the PokerStars Players Championship right around the corner and the Super High Roller Bowl set to take place in mid-December, it’s clear the thirst for big buy-in tournaments is at a bit of a fever pitch. The €50,000 Super High Roller features all the tournament norms that elite players have come to expect from their tournaments. A 30-second shot clock from the start of level one, time bank tiles, big blind ante and the ability to fire away with unlimited re-entry. The tournament has 60-minute levels turning this into a 3-day event. In 2017, this event drew 34 of the world’s very best with Canadian Timothy Adams hauling in €555,000 ($652,526) for first after besting high-roller superstar Mikita Badziakouski during heads-up play. The Super High Roller takes place from December 10-12. EPT Main Event Next up on the schedule is the main attraction, the €5,300 EPT Prague Main Event. After taking a year off, an official European Poker Tour title is back up for grabs. There’s no doubt that the field will be flush with players hoping to bring home a major six-figure score for the holidays. There are two starting flights for the Main Event with a single re-entry. The structure is everything one could hope for in a Main Event. 300 big blinds and one hour levels plus a shot clock once the tournament makes its way into the money. In 2017, 855 players packed the field generating a prize pool of over €4.1 million. France’s Kalidou Sow took home the trophy and the €675,000 ($795,456) first place prize. EPT High Roller(s) Looking for a high-priced trip saver? The €10,300 EPT High Roller may not only put you in the black for the trip, it might just make you profitable for the entire year. Even though there is one officially branded "EPT High Roller", there are actually two €10K’s happening at (roughly) the same time for you to choose from. The first is the EPT High Roller, a single re-entry that starts on December 16. It’s a three-day affair with play wrapping up on the final day of the festival, December 18. In the meantime, on December 17, should you have deep pockets and the bad luck to have busted the official High Roller, there’s another two-day 10K with a single re-entry. The official EPT High Roller has 45-minute levels, while the two-day event has 30-minute levels. One should expect a good amount of action in both. Just last year Daniel Tang took down the PokerStars Championship High Roller by defeating a field of 256 players. His take home was €381,000 ($448,732). While the second €10K is not likely to have as many runners, a good percentage of those who are unable to bag chips in the High Roller will look to get it in good on December 17. These are just a few of the key events scattered on a schedule full of tournament action. Buy-ins can be found for as little as €220 with many events happening on a daily basis.
  5. When PokerStars first announced the creation of the PokerStars Players Championship and began giving away the coveted Platinum Passes, it was unclear how the Americans would be included. With PokerStars only real U.S. presence in New Jersey, it looked like there may be limited opportunities for U.S. based players to win their way into what will very likely be the largest $25K buy-in tournament of all time. However, after plenty of creative ways to include the U.S. player base, including the popular Moneymaker PSPC tour, PokerStars has now accumulated quite a number of Americans with Platinum Passes in hand. The PCA’s Team USA consists of recreational players, grinders, top-tier pros and even a few celebrities. Some of poker’s more notable names found their way to receiving a platinum pass. Super high roller David Peters was one of the first to win his way in when he picked up his pass through a random draw at the 2018 PCA. Other well-known poker names from the U.S. include vlogger Andrew Neeme, the First Lady of Poker Linda Johnson, author turned poker pro Maria Konnikova and poker's minister of information Kevin Mathers. Longtime pro Kenny Tran won one through the Moneymaker PSPC Tour in Los Angeles. Luke Vrabel picked one up at Foxwoods and Joey Ingram’s pass was part of a feel-good PokerStars promotion. So, while those players will garner plenty of attention there are plenty of other players on Team USA that have the potential to make some noise at the PSPC. New Jersey’s Anthony ’tonydatiger’ Maio has spent some time in the spotlight, having made the final table of a World Poker Tour Borgata event on more than one occasion. In the midst of a red-hot 2018, Maio closed out the year by picking up his Platinum Pass during NJCOOP. Maio’s online prowess was never in doubt. With $3.4 million in online earnings, he’s one of NJ’s most prolific grinders. A strong showing in the PSPC could really take his career to the next level. A deep run could push him up over the $1 million in live career earnings mark. Thai 'thaiha91' Ha may have lucked out to win his Platinum Pass, but he certainly hasn’t luckboxed his way to over $900,000 in live earnings. At the PCA in 2018, one of the first passes was determined by an all-in flip at a random table. Everyone at the table was seated, except for Ha. Running just a bit late, Ha got to the table just in time to see his seat win the pass on the river. Since picking up his pass, Ha has spent the better part of 2018 playing a ton of poker. He finished in second place in the Big Stax 1500 for over $78,000. He also had a final table finish this summer at the Planet Hollywood 2018 Goliath $2,200 Main Event for over $75,000. Perhaps the player on Team USA who fought the hardest for their pass was Brookyln’s Nathan Manuel. Dedicated to winning his way into the PSPC, Manuel took shots whenever he could. He flew to London to compete, followed the Moneymaker PSPC tour in the U.S. and even tried to learn a new language in order to win a pass. In the end, he defeated a field of 825 players in October’s Run It Up Reno event to book his trip to the Bahamas. Manuel has a live earnings total of roughly $170,000 and he is no stranger to traveling to play poker. In addition to his globetrotting for the Platinum Pass, Manuel has recorded cashes in the UK, Bahamas, Canada, and Australia - where he picked up a career-high cash of over $33,000 at the Aussie Millions. One member of Team USA that everyone will be keeping close tabs on is Jeremy Hilsercop. Hlisercop’s heartwarming story of a gift to the WSOP which turned into a trip to the Bahamas was the talk of poker community during the holiday season. What was once just a dream is turning into a reality for the man who’s largest tournament buy-in to date is $170. He and his wife Randi will be hoping to turn this Christmas gift into a life-changing sum of money. In addition to the 28 players that picked up a pass through a victory or promotion. PokerStars has handed out a number of passes to U.S. based celebrities. UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, NBA great Paul Pierce, comedians Norm MacDonald and Clayton Fletcher, reality star Tyson Apostle and legendary skater Tony Hawk will all be in attendance. Keep tabs on the entire slate of U.S. based players when PSPC play gets underway on January 6. PokerStars PSPC Team USA PLAYERS Jacqueline Burkhart Andrew Canfield Tenzin Chakdor Tom Chiarella Clifford Ellefson Damon Ferrante Thai Ha Jeremy Hilsercop Joey Ingram (not on the website) Linda Johnson Matt Keifer Maria Konnikova Derik Li Anthony Maio Nathan Manuel Kevin Mathers Ronald Mici Jahngir (John) Mokhtari Andrew Neeme Michael Page David Peters Andres (Andy) Risquez Kenny Tran Nitis Udornpim Luke Vrabel Brandon Welter Arthur White Alice Zheng Tyson Apostol Bruce Buffer Clayton Fletcher Tony Hawk Norm Macdonald Paul Pierce
  6. The PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish. The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1078708641665073152 The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays. If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. Here's a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750 Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415) 2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250 Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165) 2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250 Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140) 2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000 Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150) 2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000 Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000) 2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000 Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356) 2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500 Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960) 2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852 Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059) 2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825 Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It's more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn't happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here's a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000 Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000) 2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800 Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000) 2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400 Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000) 2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400 Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000) 2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700 Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096) 2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900 Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000) 2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976 Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000) 2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200 Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580) 2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842 Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall. The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event. So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship's figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  7. In a storybook ending to the historic PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas defeated WSOP bracelet winner Julien Martini to become the first-ever PSPC champion, earning $5.1 million. "A lot of players were saying that this was the most important tournament in history," Colillas said in the afterglow of the victory. "So now, it's only about happiness and enjoying the moment." But before the Spaniard was able to celebrate, Colillas, as a Platinum Pass winner, needed to navigate a difficult final table full of seasoned pros. The final table of the largest $25,000 tournament of all time took only five-and-a-half hours to play to a winner. However, it took roughly an hour and a half before the first player hit the rail. Talal Shakerchi and France's Julien Martini were the first to clash in a battle of big hands. The action started as Marc Rivera opened, only to be three-bet by Martini who was holding the [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. Farid Jattin, holding a pocket pair in the small blind, found a fold, however Shakerchi woke up with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] in the big blind. Shakerchi moved all in and was called by Martini. The flop came [poker card="3c"][poker card="ks"][poker card="2h"], giving little life to Martini. However, the [poker card="ts"] on the turn opened a number of backdoor outs for the Frenchman. The river provided Martini the flush as the [poker card="5s"] completed the board. Shakerchi’s run ended in eighth place for $509,000. Marc Perrault was sitting on roughly two big blinds, which made the next elimination so surprising. In the hijack seat, Martini opened holding the [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. Jattin looked down at the [poker card="as"][poker card="js"] and went deep into the tank. Finally, he decided to shove over Martini, allowing Perrault to get out of the way in the small blind. Start-of-day chip leader Scott Baumstein folded the [poker card="8s"][poker card="8c"] and Martini snap-called. Jattin, all in and at risk, was dominated, but the flop provided some life. It came [poker card="6s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2d"], giving Jattin a wealth of additional outs. The [poker card="qd"] arrived on the turn and the [poker card="tc"] on the river closed the door on Jattin’s tournament. Jattin earned a career-high cash of $746,000 for his seventh-place run, propelling him to more than $3.5 million in total live earnings. After the hand, Martini pulled away from the field to hold nearly three times as many chips as anyone left. With six players left and running on fumes, it was finally time for Perrault to make his stand. After laddering two spots, he found himself all in and at risk holding the [poker card="6c"][poker card="3d"] against Colillas' [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"]. The board [poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="4s"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4h"] ran out clean for Colillas. Perrault, who started the day as the shortest stack, ended his day as a millionaire. The Canadian turned his $25,000 entry into $1,012,000 for his sixth-place finish. Jason Koonce had been picking his spots, but after being forced to fold in a hand right before the first break of the day he found himself on a short stack. On one of the first hands after the break, he made his move by shipping his stack on the button holding the [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"]. Colillas called him from the big blind holding [poker card="5s"][poker card="5h"]. Koonce needed to catch, but when the board ran out [poker card="2c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="6d"], it provided him with no help. The Colorado sports memorabilia aficionado’s dream run ended in fifth place with a $1,304,000 "consolation prize." His previous career live earnings were just over $6,000. Shortly thereafter, Martini continued to gain momentum after a clash with Baumstein. Martini opened under the gun with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] and when it folded back to Baumstein, he shipped his short stack in the middle with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"]. Martini made the call and Baumstein was at risk. The flop of [poker card="ks"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3h"] favored Martini and left Baumstein looking for an ace or backdoor hearts. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and the river fell the [poker card="ts"]. Baumstein, the longtime New York pro, was rewarded with a career-best $1,657,000 score for his fourth-place finish. With three players left, Martini held a comfortable chip lead over both Colillas and Rivera, the remaining Platinum Pass winners. The three played roughly six orbits before Rivera made his final stand. Martini, with his large chip lead, opened the button with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"] and Rivera pushed in his 16-big blind stack with the [poker card="as"][poker card="3d"]. Martini snap-called and Rivera needed some serious help. The flop had none for him as it came [poker card="qs"][poker card="7h"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="ts"] on the turn left Rivera searching or a three. The river was the last of Rivera’s tournament, it came the [poker card="td"], and sent the Platinum Pass winner to the rail in third place with a massive $2,168,000 score. Headed into heads-up play Martini held a roughly 2:1 chip lead over Colillas. After Colillas began to close in Martini the pair played what would be the pivotal hand of the heads-up match. Martini opened holding the [poker card="9h"][poker card="6h"] and Colillas called with the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="5s"]. The flop was perfect for Martini, [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"][poker card="qh"] for the flopped flush. Colillas with flopped middle pair called Martini’s bet. The turn was the [poker card="qd"] improving Colillas to trips. Martini placed a large bet, Colillas called. The river turned out to be one of the most pivotal cards of the tournament - the [poker card="5d"] giving Colillas a backdoor full house to Martini’s flopped flush. Colillas checked, Martini shoved, Colillas snapped and secured a massive double up reducing Martini’s stack to roughly 20 big blinds. In the end, after his stack had trended downwards, Martini made a stand on the button with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="9c"] and Colillas made the call with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5s"]. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"][poker card="8h"] giving both a pair but putting Colillas in position to secure a historic victory. The turn was the [poker card="2c"]. Colillas and Martini then saw the championship card of the [poker card="5d"] fall. Colillas was the champion and Martini's PSPC dream run ended in second place for $2,974,000. Ramon Colillas made his way to his rail and was quickly engulfed by supporters. The Platinum Pass winner, with $10,000 in recorded live cashes according to his Hendon Mob page, became the inaugural PSPC champion, earning the life-changing sum of $5.1 million for the victory. PSPC Final Table Payouts Ramon Colillas - $5,100,000 Julien Martini - $2,974,000 Marc Rivera - $2,168,000 Scott Baumstein - $1,657,000 Jason Koonce - $1,304,000 Marc Perrault - $1,012,000 Farid Jattin - $746,000 Talal Shakerchi - $509,000
  8. The final table for the PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship is set. On Thursday, the final eight players will take their seats to play for a massive $5.1 million first-place prize in what is the largest $25,000 tournament of all time. New York tournament professional Scott Baumstein once again finished the day as the overnight chip leader with 10,725,000 chips. Baumstein, had a roller coaster ride on Day 4, even finding himself all in, at risk and behind only to survive and go on an incredible heater. “It’s a little surreal at the moment, with all of the chips, getting lucky,” said Baumstein in an interview with PocketFives. Two Platinum Pass winners have made the final table including Marc Rivera, who sits right behind Baumstein in terms of chips (10,350,000). Rivera won his Platinum Pass by winning the APPT Manila National in August 2018 and is representing the Philippines at the final table. Rivera and Baumstein are the only two players of the final eight to have more than 10 million in chips which equates to more than 40 big blinds. France’s Julien Martini (8,600,000) continues to find himself towards the top of the end of day chip counts as he has since the completion of Day 2. Colombian pro Farid Jattin (8,525,000), the Day 2 chip leader, also had a very swingy day. He started Day 3 with his chip stack 36th out of 38. However, and with his well-timed aggression and plenty of rungood he, at one point, soared into the chip lead. Jattin finishes the day fourth in chips. The second of the Platinum Pass winners, Ramon Colillas (8,300,000) along with the U.S's Jason Koonce (7,125,000), Day 1 chip leader Talal Shakerchi and Canada’s Marc Perrault (2,275,000) fill out what looks to be an entertaining final table. Those players that were unable to make it through the day but still secured very healthy paydays by making the final two tables include Florian Duta (9th for $405,000), PocketFiver Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha (10th, $328,500), Kristen ‘krissyb24’ Bicknell (11th, $328,500), Jake Schwartz (12th, $261,750) and Former PocketFives #1-ranked Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger (14th, $229,700). Other notable names who made it to Day 4 but were knocked out throughout the day include Scott Stewart ($202,400), Platinum Pass winner Michael Robionek ($150,600), Marvin Rettenmaier ($126,000), Dan O’Brien ($105,000), Mikita Badziakouski ($88,600), Tony Gregg ($86,400) and Platinum Pass winner from Boring, Oregon Jackie Burkhart who finished in 38th place for a career-high score of $86,400. There is still $15.4 million of the over $26.4 million prize pool to be fought over. Six of the top eight will earn themselves no less than $1 million. The final day of play in the PSPC resumes on Thursday a noon ET. 2019 PSPC Final Table Chip Counts 1. Scott Baumstein - 10,725,000 2. Marc Rivera - 10,350,000 3. Julien Martini - 8,600,000 4. Farid Jattin - 8,525,000 5. Ramon Colillas - 8,3000,000 6. Jason Koonce - 7,125,000 7. Talal Shakerchi - 5,500,000 8. Marc Perrault - 2,275,000
  9. There are only 38 players left to pursue the $5.1 million first-place prize of the $25,000 PokerStars NL Hold’em Championship. Day 3 of the record-setting tournament started with 207 players of which only 181 would make the money. By the end of the day, New York tournament pro Scott Baumstein flew into the chip lead with 4.24 million in chips, followed closely by Yiannis Liperis (4.21 million). However, before the stacks could reach such heights, there was a money bubble that needed popping. As one might expect in a tournament where there were over 300 players who gifted their $25K entry, plenty of players were hanging tough to pick up the $25,450 min-cash. With four players left to the actual bubble, the remaining 185 players went hand for hand. It took roughly an hour, plus a 20-minute break in the middle, but eventually, Team Ireland’s Paul Leckey ran pocket kings into Tianle Wang’s pocket aces. Leckey didn’t go home empty-handed though, as the official bubble boy received an EPT package worth over $11,000. After that, the bustouts were fast and furious, with the next pay ladder happening faster than tournament officials could break and rebalance tables. At the conclusion of Day 3, only Baumstein and Liperis have eclipsed the 4 million chip mark, but there’s plenty of top-flight competition left in the field. France’s Julien Martini (3,250,000), Canada’s Louis Boutin (3,040,000) and Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas (2,895,000) from Spain complete the top 5 chip leaders. Other notables still left in the field include Mikita Badziakouski (1,910,000), Dan O’Brien (1,765,000), Griffin Benger (1,560,000), Day 1 chip leader Talal Shakerchi (1,330,000), Brazil’s Pedro Padilha (1,315,000), Kristen Bicknell (1,115,000), Tony Gregg (905,000), Platinum Pass winner Jackie Burkhart (660,000) and Day 2 chipleader Farid Jattin (640,000). By the end of the day, 143 players found their way to the cashier to pick up their earnings. Including Felix Schneiders ($69,100), Max and Sam Greenwood ($69,100), Mustapha Kanit ($56,800), Christoph Vogelsang ($56,800), Ryan Reiss ($56,800), former PocketFives #1-ranked Bryan Piccioli ($56,800), Blair Hinkle ($56,800), Athanasios Polychronopoulos ($45,700), Victor Ramdin ($45,700), Benjamin Pollak ($45,700), Dan Shak ($45,700), Brandon Adams ($39,500), Darren Elias ($39,500), Christian Harder ($39,500), Dylan Linde ($39,500) and Matt Affleck ($35,000). Three of the winners of the $86 Moneymaker PSPC Tour made the money, however, all three failed to bag at the end of the day. Clifford Ellefson ($39,500), Anthony Maio ($35,000) and Ori Kossonogi ($35,000) all found a way to turn their Platinum Passes into five-figure scores. Additionally, there were plenty of big name pros who made the money but were unable to ladder up. Parker Talbot, Sam Grafton, JC Alvarado, Frank Kassel, and Sean Winter were just a few of the roughly 30 players to settle for the min-cash of $25,450. Play in the PSPC resumes when 38 players will play down to the final table at noon ET.
  10. The PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship kicked off Sunday at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas. Anticipation for the event was through the roof in the days leading up to its start, and the energy only heightened as the hundreds of poker players shuffled into the tournament room before the start of play. All day long, there has been an electric buzz in the Bahamian air and PocketFives spoke to a few players about the atmosphere surrounding the PSPC. "It’s crazy,” Christian Harder said of the event’s atmosphere. “I was actually talking to someone earlier and I was like, ‘Is this the biggest tournament outside of the WSOP Main Event in the history of poker?’ It's up there." Harder is no stranger to playing events of this level, but this event seems to have a different feel to it than others with a similar $25,000 price tag. “It definitely has much more of a main event feel than a high roller,” Harder, winner of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event, said. “Usually, the 25K price point is more pros or [recreational players] that are used to playing bigger buy-ins. It definitely has much more of a feel as a 5K or a 5K main event, which is great.” Another player with plenty of experience in big buy-in poker tournaments is Jason Somerville, and he’s also in the Bahamas to compete in the PSPC. Like Harder, Somerville compared the PSPC to having an atmosphere like the WSOP Main Event. “This has been amazing,” Somerville told PocketFives. “It’s very interesting. It’s kind of like the World Series of Poker Main Event. You’ve got a lot of qualifiers, people you haven’t seen before. So many people I would never see play a tournament like this have ‘reemerged.’ Most people stopped coming to the Bahamas when Black Friday happened, so it’s great to see. Awesome energy, huge prize pool - it’s awesome.” Somerville was posted up at the main feature table for the first two levels of the opening day and commented on how his table was playing after he wasn’t sure what type of playing environment the PSPC would bring. “I was just at the feature table for two hours and I think only Sam Greenwood and I talked, and Sam doesn’t talk that much,” Somerville said. “Everybody feels a little nervous. Even me when I first sat down, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is a serious poker tournament.’ I wasn’t sure if we were going to get that giddy chattiness or if you were going to get the scared silence, but my table at least was the scared silent type. It’s OK with me. I’ll just hang out, watch the Chargers win, and we’ll go from there.” Matt Stout also made the trip down to the Bahamas, as he has many times before, and in similar fashion to Harder and Somerville, he likened the PSPC to having the feel of the WSOP. “It’s obviously a lot softer,” Stout said. “It’s going to have a lot of people that have never played a 25K before and are never going to play a 25K again, but it’s also kind of cool because it has that Colossus or World Series of Poker Main Event vibe, where there’s a lot of people that this is their one and only shot. It’s a lot of fun. “I saw one guy, who was a qualifier, walking in and as he was walking past the trophy setup in the lobby I heard him say to his mother, ‘Hey, mom! Take a picture of me in front of this real quick.’ That just warmed my heart. This is just great for poker. It’s a really, really fun event. It has a special vibe to it. It’s really exciting.” Stout wasn’t always planning on coming to the PSPC, though. His first child was recently born in December, but ultimately he decided to make the trip because of the can’t-miss nature he felt regarding the PSPC. “I wasn’t planning on traveling much after the birth of my son, Asher, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play a tournament like this that’s one-of-a-kind and may literally never happen again,” Stout said.
  11. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. Over 500 players saw their PokerStars Players Championship dream die on Day 2. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters bring you a complete recap including interviews with Julien Martini, Griffin Benger and Brandon Adams. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  12. Sometimes you just have to take a shot. That’s exactly what well-travelled New Jersey grinder Michael Azzaro thought when it came to the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure schedule. One look at Azzaro’s history, both live and online, one can see the bulk of his success has come from East Coast venues in buy-ins of up to $1K. But here at the start of 2019, Azzaro has fired in the $25,000 PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship and now, he’s deep in the $10K Main Event. “I’m definitely taking a shot,” Azzaro said. “I played this Main Event last year for the first time. I’ve played the WSOP Main Event three times but have not played any other $10K. So this is definitely one of the bigger buy-ins I’ve played.” Despite not normally playing in the larger Main Events, Azzaro isn’t phased. He’s an accomplished pro, a WSOP Circuit ring winner, with results dating back to 2010. He has over $500,000 in live earnings and another $850,000 online, where the PocketFiver is known as ‘MikeyCasino.' “Actually, I wasn’t even going to play until the day before Day 1 because I was going to go somewhere else, maybe to Choctaw to find something a little softer. But I was already here and I wanted to fire it and it’s been working out so far.” It’s always good when things go your way. However, that wasn’t the case for Azzaro in the $25,000 PSPC where, despite making Day 2, he was unable to cash in. “In the $25K there were a lot of satty winners, a lot of Platinum Pass winners and I thought it was going to be one of the easiest $25Ks I was ever going to play,” Azzaro said about putting together the biggest buy-in of his career. When that didn’t work out though, Azzaro quickly made up his mind to keep taking shots. “While I was here I just had rooms booked the whole series so I was like ‘lets just give this a shot.’” He played in the $1,100 2019 PCA National and picked up a min-cash. But then the decision was made to play the Main. “I thought if things just don’t go well, I don’t play many $10Ks so I at least give myself a shot at winning some big money.” As it turned out, everything has been going well - at least through the middle of Day 3. Azzaro has been holding his own with a chip stack sitting right in the middle of the pack. “It’s been going good, I got lucky on the live stream earlier today - that was great. I just want to play well, play all my hands the best that I can and let the cards do the rest. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. I try to stay on an even keel at all times. "Even if I’m the chip leader or the shortest stack, I like to play one hand at a time and live in the moment rather than worry about the next day or two.” No small part of Azzaro’s success has been thanks to the support system of the East Coast poker community he is representing while in the Bahamas. A fixture on the scene, he’s been bombarded with support from those who he regularly tangles with on the felt. “I love it. A lot of people, a lot of friends have been hitting me up on Twitter and Facebook just telling me to play good and keep it going and ‘take it down’ and everything. I definitely have a lot of friends in the East Coast poker community and I appreciate all the support they give me.” And win or lose, what’s next for Azzaro? “After this is over…I’ll most likely be at Borgata.” UPDATE: Michael Azzaro's Main Event came to an end in 44th place earning $28,520.
  13. The remaining field in Day 2 of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event is streaming out the door on a twenty minutes break while Platinum Pass winner Dragos Trofimov contemplates his current spot. From the small blind and facing an all-in, he takes a moment - not too long - and reshoves all-in himself. Once the big blind gets out of the way, Trofimov flips over pocket kings having his opponent’s pocket jacks in serious trouble. Seconds later, after his hand holds up, Trofimov is adding to his already healthy Main Event chip stack. “That’s a nice way to go into the break,” Trofimov said. But it’s not just his chip stack that he’s adding to. With every pot he plays, Trofimov is adding to his incredible 2019 PCA journey, one that has taken this 25-year old University student from studying pharmaceuticals to playing in some of the biggest live tournaments in the world in just under two years time. “A year and a half ago I won a big satellite for the PCA Main last year [2018] and that kind of propelled me into giving poker more of a serious try,” he said. He attended the 2018 PCA and that was when PokerStars announced the PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship. “Straight after that, the Platinum Pass was announced and I looked into the whole schedule of live small tourneys to see where they would be up for grabs. Lucky enough in January there was a PokerStars London Festival and I went there with a couple friends. They took a piece of me just to make sure that I was able to play every event that awarded one of them.” One of those events was a £2,200 High Roller which awarded both a Platinum Pass and £74,990 for first. “I was lucky enough to win the £2K High Roller. I was very, very fortunate,” he said of his third recorded live cash. “That gave me a bit of leeway into bigger tournaments and into live tournaments.” With some early success and a year to prepare for the PSPC, Trofimov took a short hiatus from school to prepare. He wanted to come back to the Bahamas as ready-to-go as possible. Trofimov took the time to test his skill in festivals near his home of Moldova. He posted results at EPT Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Prague before heading back to the PCA to chase his Platinum dream. And when that time came...Trofimov did not cash. But Trofimov’s time away from his pharmaceutical studies was spent learning the ins-and-outs of the poker world and he was prepared to keep playing at the PCA. Over that year, he made new friends in the game, was able to sell pieces and build himself a schedule beyond the PSPC. The next thing he knew - Dragos was making a deep run in the 2019 PCA National. “The whole last three tables were very, very stacked. Lots of players I recognized, lots of big names,” Trofimov said referring to the likes of Chino Rheem, Leo Margets, Jack Sinclair and Conor Beresford. “The final table itself was jammed. I ran well. The start of the final table I got a super set-up against Ole Schemion with nines against eights. Top boat against second boat for infinite. That pretty much helped me navigate my way through three handed.” Eventually, Trofimov ran into a spot against eventual winner Schemion that eliminated him in third place for over $63,000. “It’s a very fortunate journey for me. I’ll be honest when I first gave it a try my goal just to play one or two $1Ks. That was my goal. I wanted to go to Barcelona and play the $1K National with 3,000 runners and hope for that bink. That was my end goal. “It’s actually nice because the story is repeating. I am, again, having a very great start to the year as I did last year. So, hopefully, I’ll keep up the momentum. I have a good stack in the Main and I’ll try my best to make it to the money and see what happens,” he said. Despite all his promising results over the past year, earning just over $245,000, Trofimov insists that all of this poker is just a little sidebar to what his future holds. “I do plan to pursue my degree mostly because my family owns a pharmacy and it’s a good business. They worked hard for it and I don’t want to let them down. I want to inherit the business going forward and still, once I finish my degree, I’ll have a lot of free time to keep playing more as a part-time thing,” he said. “I’m still a student, I’m not a professional poker player.”
  14. A little over a year and a half ago, the marketing manager of an online poker room emailed Scott Baumstein in the middle of the night to offer him a lucrative deal to be a brand ambassador. Unfortunately for Baumstein, it was a case of mistaken identity. They were actually looking for Scott Blumstein, who had just made the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Search for "Scott Baumstein" on Google and even they ask you, 'Did you mean Scott Blumstein?'. Now, with 15 players left in the PokerStars Players Championship, Baumstein has the chip lead and is in position to win $5.1 million and make sure nobody gets the two Scott's mixed up again. "It's a little surreal at the moment, with all of the chips, getting lucky," said Baumstein. "It's definitely stressful, but I'm just trying to focus and I'll worry about all of that stuff when we're done." Throughout Day 4 it's been nearly impossible for Baumstein to ignore the TV cameras that are hovering around, even from one of the secondary feature tables. The New York native believes the power of the spotlight he's under now is second only to poker's most prestigious event. "Nothing can match this except for the WSOP Main Event. This is the biggest tournament of the year outside of that," said Baumstein, who cashed in the WSOP Main Event in 2009, 2010, and 2015. The quality of players Baumstein has had to tangle with in the PSPC has changed each and every day. The Platinum Pass winners that accounted for 30% of the field on Day 1 are now mostly gone and Baumstein recognizes it's getting harder and harder to navigate through the pros that are now left. "The field, every day, in this tournament, got continually tougher. The first day I had two really great table draws," said Baumstein. "I thought it was really easy, especially for a $25K, but even for a smaller buy-in tournament. As this tournament progressed, the better players sort of stuck in there and I've had very difficult tables from Day 2 on." The elimination of Louis Boutin in 16th place also secured Baumstein a career-best cash, even if the unthinkable happens. His previous top score in January 2018 when he took down the opening event of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $220,238. Having people no longer confuse him for the 2017 WSOP Main Event champ isn't something Baumstein is concerned about, even if it felt like a bit of an unintentional needle at the time. He's just focused on maximizing the opportunity that's now in front of him. "I'm definitely playing for the money," said Baumstein. "In terms of respect, everybody knows that any idiot can get lucky in one poker tournament."
  15. In January, PokerStars made history by hosting the PokerStars Players Championship - the largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament of all time. Now, seven months later they've announced that they're bringing it back and giving it a new host city. The 2020 PokerStars Players Championship will be held in Barcelona, August 20-24 as part of the European Poker Tour stop. The first PSPC held in conjunction with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, had a field of 1,039 and a total prize pool of $26,455,500. “The inaugural PSPC generated hundreds of personal stories of achievement and ambition among the Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director & Commercial Officer at PokerStars. “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 by showcasing poker and its many inspirational stories well beyond the poker realm.” [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] The 2019 PSPC featured an additional $1 million added to the first place prize and PokerStars gave away 320 Platinum Passes that included the $25,000 buy-in. PokerStars had yet to confirm if the 2020 event will include the first place prize bump or the number of Platinum Passes they plan to award over the next year. The first five 2020 Platinum Passes were awarded Tuesday as part of the announcement. Five players who were brought to EPT Barcelona to be part of a live-streamed event with some Team PokerStars Pros. Adrian Garcia, Clement Eloy, Danielle Summer, Christoph Walkenhorst, and Daryl Inglis will be returning to Barcelona in 2020 to play the PSPC. On Wednesday, ten more passes will be awarded on PokerStars through the Stars Rewards program in Mystery Chests. Throughout 2018, PokerStars found a myriad of ways to award poker players and fans with a $30,000 Platinum Pass. This included the Moneymaker PSPC Tour which was 11 live and online tournaments with a $86 buy-in that included a Platinum Pass for the eventual winner. Other PokerStars Team Pros also held contests that gave away a Platinum Pass for completing certain tasks or creating content. Players who win or are awarded 2020 Platinum Passes will get a €22,500 buy-in to the PSPC, six nights hotel in a five-star hotel, €1,250 to cover other expenses, as well as PSPC merchandise and airport transfers. The value of each package is approximately $30,000 US. Spaniard Ramón Colillas, who earned a Platinum Pass for winning the 2018 Campeonato de España de Poker, won the 2019 PSPC for $5.1 million. One month after his victory, he became a member of Team PokerStars.
  16. Originally scheduled to take place in August, the 2020 PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by PokerStars on Friday, May 22, 2020. Last update: Friday, May 22, 2020 Where and When Is the PSPC 2020? PSPC 2020 was scheduled to take place at Casino Barcelona from August 20-24, 2020, during the European Poker Tour Barcelona time slot. The event has been postponed until 2021, as has EPT Barcelona. No exact dates have been issued, but the event is still planned to take place in Barcelona, Spain. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] How Much Does It Cost To Enter PSPC? The PSPC buy-in is priced at €22,500, which is approximately $25,000 and very much equivalent to the price tag that came with the first PSPC that was held at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. As was done for the first PSPC, PokerStars will be hosting many different ways for players to win their way to PSPC for less than €22,500, including bringing back the popular Platinum Pass promotion. What Is a Platinum Pass? With the return of the PSPC comes the return of PokerStars’ Platinum Pass promotion that will award packages to the event. Platinum Passes are tickets to PSPC that can be won by players around the world through various promotions. Each pass is valued at €26,000 (approximately $30,000) and includes more than just the buy-in to the event. For PSPC, a Platinum Pass includes the following: €22,500 buy-in to PSPC (originally scheduled for 2020 but pushed to 2021) Six nights’ hotel accommodation in a five-star hotel Airport transfers PSPC Merchandise €1,250 for expenses Platinum Pass winner experiences during the event How To Win a Platinum Pass Platinum Passes will be given out in numerous ways. If you’re not looking to spend the €22,500 (approx. $25,000) to buy one, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your hands on one for much cheaper or even for free. Players have chances to win Platinum Passes through PokerStars' live events, special promotions and contests on social media, Twitch promotions, playing on PokerStars, and more. As we saw with the first PSPC, PokerStars is more than willing to get creative with how it awards Platinum Passes. How Many Platinum Pass Winners Are There? At the time of the announcement to postpone, nearly 200 Platinum Passes had been given out, with the goal to award 320 of them. Those that have already secured a Platinum Pass can use it for the 2021 event. Additionally, PokerStars is upping the allotment of Platinum Passes by 80, pushing the total to 400 Platinum Passes to be awarded. What About New Jersey and Pennsylvania? PokerStars has activity in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, the site launched in March 2016 and has been going strong ever since. Platinum Passes were given out in the Garden State for the first edition of PSPC through PokerStarsNJ.com, and that will likely be the case for future PSPC festivals. The same goes for Pennsylvania. Although PokerStars PA was not operational to award Platinum Passes to online poker players in the Keystone State for the first-ever PSPC, PokerStars PA is running now and will likely award Platinum Passes for the next PSPC. It also wouldn't be out of the question to see a Moneymaker's Road To PSPC stop appear in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Moneymaker regularly makes his way to regulated states to play some of the bigger online series that PokerStars hosts, and we all know how successful the first run of the Moneymaker-PSPC promotion was. What Other Events Are Part of the PSPC Festival? The €22,500 buy-in PSPC event wasn't the only tournament planned as part of the highly anticipated Barcelona festival. In fact, it's PSPC that is part of the greater EPT Barcelona schedule. EPT Barcelona €1,100 National Event EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event Those are just three of the big events that were scheduled to take place as part of the EPT Barcelona festival. Although EPT Barcelona has also been postponed until 2021, we can expect to see the same sort of schedule in 2021, where there are EPT Barcelona events all around PSPC to create an enormous festival. To give you an idea of how successful EPT Barcelona has been, let's take a look at the last editions of those three events that were mentioned. The EPT Barcelona €1,100 National Event enjoyed record-breaking success in 2019, attracting a field of 4,682 entries and generating a prize pool north of €4.5 million. Markku 'markovitsus' Koplimaa, who won the PocketFives July 2019 PLB title, emerged victorious in the event for €585,500. The popular EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller always seems to attract poker’s best of the best and it’s enormous six-figure buy-in always lends itself to huge scores. In 2019, it was Sergi Reixach taking this event's title and first-place prize of €1.816 million. The event drew 64 entries. The EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event is always one that is not to be missed, and in 2019 it attracted a giant field of 1,988 entries to become the largest European Poker Tour main event in history. Sweden's Simon Brandstrom took top honors and the €1.253 million top prize. PSPC History PSPC in Barcelona will be the second-ever PokerStars Players Championship. The first was held as part of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. It had a $25,000 buy-in and became the largest $25,000 buy-in tournament of all time. The tournament attracted 1,039 entries and generated a $26.455 million prize pool. Included in the field were 320 Platinum Pass winners. One of those Platinum Pass winners was Spain's Ramon Colillas and he went on to beat WSOP bracelet winner Julien Martini to become the first-ever PSPC champion. For the win, Colillas won an incredible $5.1 million in prize money. Martini took $2.974 million for second place, with notables Scott Baumstein (4th - $1.657 million), Farid Jattin (7th - $746,000), and Talal Shakerchi (8th - $509,000) also reaching the final table.
  17. All good things must come to an end. And that end has come for the PCA. As PocketFives reported, when PokerStars announced the return of the PSPC in 2020 they also, unceremoniously, announced that the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure would not be back in 2020, ending its run of 16 years. For many, the PCA kicked off the yearly poker calendar with players making plans to escape their winter hardships for weeks of poker, sun and waterslides. At the height of the poker boom, the PCA was one of the most popular stops on the tour as winners of the Main Event added millions to their career earnings and a marquee victory to their resumes. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] However, as many tour stops experienced, the numbers began to decline after Black Friday and the fatigue of making the trip to the Atlantis Resort & Casino began to weigh on the players. Now, PokerStars has pulled the plug on one of the most enduring poker stops of the last two decades. But even though it’s gone, it certainly won’t be forgotten. With that, we’ve compiled nine of the most memorable moments in the history of the PCA. Gus Hansen’s On A Boat Before the PCA became the flagship stop for PokerStars, it has a very different look. In fact, in 2004, the first year it ever took place the PCA was then a World Poker Tour event. Also, it took place on a boat. The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas to be exact and just as poker was about to hit mainstream a young up-and-coming player from Denmark, Gus Hansen, was in the middle of making a reputation for himself, a reputation that lasts to this very day. Hansen bested the likes of Daniel Negreanu for the $455,780 first-place prize and his third WPT title. Right from the get-go, the PCA drew premier poker star power and eventually the PCA would be the engine to create that star power. Ryan Daut And Isaac Haxton Take It Outside In 2007, rising online phenom Isaac Haxton was in prime position to take down the 2007 PCA Main Event and it’s massive $1.5 million first-place prize. Ryan Daut had other ideas and the pair put on a famous heads up battle at the final table which took place…outside. The weather outside was nearly as volatile as the play on the felt. The winds whipped as evening fell and it looked like the sky was going to open up and pour at any moment. In the eye of the storm was Haxton and Daut who played an iconic hand where both players had “absolute Garfunkel!” Haxton won the famous battle of the bluffs but Daut took home the PCA title. ESPN Took The PCA Live The PCA made history in 2011 when PokerStars struck a deal with ESPN to bring ‘near-live’ coverage of the PCA final table to the network. The final table was shown on ESPN2 and online on ESPN3.com on a one-hour delay so viewers could see the hole cards. According to the PokerStars Blog, it was the first time that poker fans were able to see a final table, every hand, every decision completely unedited. “For the first time viewers at home will see a poker telecast from start to finish, with all the strategy of world class-poker players playing in real-time,” said ESPN’s Matt Volk back in 2010. Galen Hall Finds A Fold Not only did 2011 produce one of the first unedited accounts of a final table, but it also produced one of the finest folds every caught on camera. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver was cruising in the PCA Main Event and at the start of heads up play he had a 3:1 chip advantage over fellow online pro Galen Hall. On the third hand of play, the pair both make monster hands by the river. Hall rivered a straight while Oliver had just gone runner-runner to a full house. After being checked to by Oliver, Hall put out a bet and was check-raised for his tournament life. “If Hall calls it’s all over,” said commentator James Hartigan. “I don’t see Hall getting away from this hand,” declared Daniel Negreanu. After minutes in the tank, Hall makes the laydown of his poker life and ended up turning the tables on Oliver to become the 2011 PCA Main Event champion for $2.3 million. Antonio Esfandiari DQ’d From Main Event Antonio Esfandiari loves to prop bet. So does Bill Perkins. When the two of them got together at the 2016 PCA they agreed to a bet that had Esfandiari only able to perform lunges when moving for 48 hours. Sore and not wanting to lunge himself to the bathroom, Esfandiari made the unfortunate decision to go to the bathroom in a bottle…under the poker table. When officials caught wind of Esfandiari’s makeshift restroom he was quickly disqualified from the Main Event. However, the prop bet continued and he got up and lunged his way out of the tournament area. Read: Antonio Esfandiari Disqualified from PCA Main Event Vanessa Selbst’s Big Bet So the story goes…after a night of having (perhaps too much) fun in the Bahamas, Vanessa Selbst made a big bet against her friend Jason Mercier that he couldn’t win three WSOP bracelets the following summer. It’s hard enough for pros to count on winning one WSOP bracelet, much less three and so she ended up giving 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager. The bet was made in a bit of an 'altered state' and when Selbst woke up the next day, she tried to cancel it but according to Mercier, the bet was booked. She offered Mercier a $1K buy-out, he declined. Mercier went on to pick up two bracelets that summer and finish second in another tournament nearly completing the challenge that would have paid him $1.8 million. Christian Harder Battles Bax Long-time online and live pro Christian Harder became a bit of a footnote in PCA history in his 2017 Main Event win. That’s because, technically, it wasn’t the PCA. That year PokerStars shelved their popular PCA brand and tried to rebrand the tour stop the ‘PokerStars Championship Bahamas’. That is the year Harder fought through the field of 738 entries to find himself heads up for the title. When he looked up he saw he sitting across from him was his former backer (and PocketFives Legacy Award winner) Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Josephy was a bit of a mentor to Harder and had put him in the PCA in the past so when they got heads up, a deal was quickly struck between the two friends with Harder going on to take home the extra $10K and the first (and last) PSC Bahamas trophy. Maria Lampropulos First Woman Winner of PCA Argentina’s Maria Lampropulos made PCA history in 2018 by becoming the first-ever female to capture a PCA Main Event title. She overcame a 2:1 heads up chip deficit to defeat Canadian crusher Shawn Buchanan and take home the $1,081,100 first-place prize, her second seven-figure score in under 12 months. The Main Event final table was not only notable for who won the title but how she won it. Lampropulos was quite visibly extremely sick throughout the final day, having fits of coughing and seemingly struggling to stay focused. This also led to her taking a long time on many decisions, which prompted other players to call the clock on her on a number of occasions. In the end, she fought through the sickness, made the right decision and won some crucial flips to become the first (and now last) female PCA champion. The PSPC Breaks Records In 2019 PokerStars has a plan to revitalize the PCA and that was by hosting the largest ever $25,000 buy-in tournament - the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. The PSPC was the culmination of a year-long marketing campaign. One that doled out over 320 Platinum Passes, a ticket worth $30,000 that allowed players from all over the world to live their dream of playing in a tournament with life-changing money on the line. When the event got underway, the tournament room was electric with players of every skill level giddy with excitement over such a special event. The tournament exceeded all expectations with 1,039 players registering for the event creating a prize pool of $26,455,500. In fairytale fashion, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas from Spain ended up as the winner and took home the massive $5.1 million first-place prize.
  18. 320 Platinum Passes. $1 million added to first place. No rake. Those were some of the key components that made the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship the largest $25,000 buy-in event of all time. The event is coming back in 2020, this time in Barcelona, and it turns out the location is not all that will be different this time around as PokerStars attempts to top the success of the 2019 event. When that inaugural event was announced, the online poker giant promised to award 300 Platinum Passes which included the $25,000 buy-in and $5,000 for travel and other expenses. They ended up handing out 320 Passes and the tournament ballooned to 1,039 players and a $26,455,500 prize pool. Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Marketing Director, wants the sequel to outclass the original, but unlike 2019, there are no plans to award a set number of Platinum Passes for 2020. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] "We want to seed the prize pool with significant numbers of players, while also seeding excitement and storytelling throughout the year," Hollreiser said. "I can’t tell you today whether that means there will be more or fewer total Platinum Passes than last year. I can tell you that we are aiming for PSPC 2020 to be bigger and better." Hollreiser also confirmed that another staple marketing element of the first PSCP won't be back. PokerStars will not be adding the $1 million to the first-place prize for 2020. Hollreiser pointed to how the first PSPC engaged the existing poker community, inspired new players to try the game for the first time, and allowed the company to market poker through mainstream campaigns. Over the next year, the company plans on focusing their resources, financial and otherwise, toward making sure the word gets out about the event and the players playing in it via the Platinum Pass. "We’ve now turned the PSPC stories into marketing content that is reaching new audiences through campaigns on TV and digital platforms. These expose new audiences to the poker dream," Hollreiser said. "We initially launched our Dare to Dream TV campaign in Spain during Q2 and this month expanded the campaign to France and Germany (while creating new Dare to Dream ads for Spain). This campaign has shown promising results. PSPC 2020 aims to generate more of this inspirational storytelling that will likewise reach existing, lapsed and new audiences." Due to Spanish regulations, tournament organizers were forced to switch the buy-in from US dollars to Euros and the €22,500 buy-in is approximately $25,000 once the exchange rate is factored in. The value of a Platinum Pass remains roughly $30,000 and continues to include money for hotel, travel and other expenses. Once again, PokerStars won't be raking the event. "Like this year, we will not be taking rake from PSPC and we will be taking the dealers’ fee from the prize pool," Hollreiser said. One of the more popular components of the lead up to the 2019 PSPC was the Moneymaker Tour, which gave players in various US cities the chance to win a Platinum Pass in an $86 buy-in tournament - a tip of the hat to the manner in which PokerStars Team Pro Chris Moneymaker famously qualified for the 2003 WSOP Main Event. "Chris Moneymaker was the original inspiration and will remain a cornerstone of PSPC. And Chris is still relevant and loved by poker players around the world," said Hollreiser. "I believe the Moneymaker Tour was successful independent of the Platinum Pass giveaways that we provided. We have not yet provided details, but you can count on the Moneymaker Tour being a part of our plans." While PokerStars does not yet have a large foothold of the regulated US online poker scene, the states where they do have a presence will have the chance to win Platinum Passes online. In 2019, PokerStarsNJ hosted an online Moneymaker Tour event. This time, New Jersey online poker players and Pennsylvania online poker players will be able to win Platinum Passes by clicking a few buttons from their home or mobile device. Lost in the PSPC 2020 announcement was that the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which has been a mainstay on the poker calendar since 2004 and hosted the inaugural PSPC, was the final one. It’s no secret that after 15 successful years, the PCA [prior to last year’s PSPC] has been losing momentum and there’s been increasing player criticism of the location," Hollreiser said. "As such, we will not be returning to Paradise Island in 2020. PokerStars and our players have had some great success at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas over a strong 13-year run, and we have very many fond memories of ringing in the New Year with our PCA. Our research, alongside player feedback, has shown, however, that it is time for a change to keep things fresh and give our players what they are asking for."
  19. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. Even though it was August, the WSOP Main Event was back in the headlines, as a player that was disqualified from the tournament had a terrorism charge brought against him and another player was being sued over a staking deal. Ken Strauss Arrested and Charged for Terroristic Threat Ken Strauss, who was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, was taking into custody and charged with making terroristic threats against a Las Vegas casino. The charge stemmed from Strauss’ social media activity at the end of July. In a tweet, Strauss threatened the Venetian Resort. WSOP Main Event Seventh-Place Finisher Sued Another big story from August that had WSOP Main Event ties was a lawsuit involving seventh-place finisher Nick Marchington. The 21-year-old Marchington won $1.525 million for his result, but he was soon hit with a lawsuit from two men who claimed to have bought a 10% piece of his WSOP Main Event action. David Yee and Colin Hartley, partners in C Biscuit Poker Staking, alleged that Marchington attempted to back out of a staking deal after he had agreed to sell 10% of his action to them for the WSOP's $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em and Main Event tournaments. There were many questions surrounding the situation, most of which focused on the conversations had between the two parties and if the deal was on or off. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Aaron Zang Wins Poker’s Richest Tournament With a buy-in of £1.05 million, the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity became poker’s richest tournament. It was also set to award some absolutely mammoth paydays. Topping the field of 54 entries was Aaron Zang, who won £13.779 million. But, Zang wasn’t the event’s biggest winner. A heads-up deal between Zang and Bryn Kenney saw Kenney take home £16.89 million. The conversion rate put the score north of $20.4 million for Kenney, making him the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. Triton Million Results 1st: Aaron Zang - £13,779,791* 2nd: Bryn Kenney - £16,890,509* 3rd: Dan Smith - £7,200,000 4th: Stephen Chidwick - £4,410,000 5th: Vivek Rajkumar - £3,000,000 6th: Bill Perkins - £2,200,000 7th: Alfred DeCarolis - £1,720,000 8th: Timothy Adams - £1,400,000 9th: Wai Leong Chan - £1,200,000 10th: Chin Wei Lim - £1,100,000 11th: Winfred Yu - £1,100,000 *First and second prizes as a result of a heads-up deal. For more on this incredible tournament, go back and read the PocketFives recap. Bryn Kenney Doing His Own Thing and Crushing Speaking of Bryn Kenney, PocketFives’ Lance Bradley had the opportunity to sit down with Kenney for an interview. Even though he’s younger, Kenney isn’t often thought of as the same wizard-like player that his peers are. Kenney would be the first to admit it, too, but with a style all to his own he put together a tremendous year of poker in 2019. Checking in on Kenney’s stats on Hendon Mob, we can see that Kenney has more than $56 million in live tournament earnings and is atop poker’s all-time money list. As we mentioned before, he’s also the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. In 2019, Kenney won more than $30 million. Take some time and read the special feature story on this special player. PSPC Going To Barcelona in 2020 The first-ever PokerStars Players Championship was a smashing success, becoming the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history. PokerStars wanted to run it back, only in a different location, and announced that the PSPC would be heading to Barcelona, Spain. Taking place August 20-24, the 2020 PSPC will be part of the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona that is ever so popular with players. Platinum Passes are back and currently being given out through a variety of promotions from PokerStars, and this event is anticipated to be even larger than the first. ‘Girafganger7’ Wins Monthly PLB in August 'Girafganger7,' a former top-ranked online poker player in the world, earned his second PocketFives Monthly PLB title by topping the leaderboard in August. He put in a ton of volume and accumulated 2,399 points from more than 120 results. He won just over $125,000 from those results. His August was highlighted by a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $530 Bounty Builder HR for $13,519.
  20. Every poker player wants to play in the PokerStars Players Championship in Barcelona this August, but not everyone can afford to buy-in for €22,500 (approx. $25,000). Winning a PokerStars Platinum Pass - which includes the buy-in and money for travel and accommodations - could be your ticket to the big dance, and there are plenty of ways to win one. Included in the ways to win a Platinum Pass are the Mega Path qualifier promotion, PokerStars live events, Mystery Chests, and more. Here are the details on how to win a PokerStars Platinum Pass for PSPC 2020. PSPC Mega Path One of the most popular ways to try and win a Platinum Pass is through the PokerStars Mega Path. Through Mega Path, players can work their way through a four-step path that has a Platinum Pass being awarded at the end. Plus, you can get started with Mega Path for as little as $2 or 50 Stars Coin. Pierre Lewandowski is one of the many players to win a Platinum Pass via Mega Path. Lewandowski won a Platinum Pass to the first-ever PSPC by winning a MegaStack event in Dublin and this time he did it through Mega Path. Not only did Lewandowski win a second Platinum Pass, but he won the second one on his birthday. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] PokerStars Live Events Another way to win a Platinum Pass is by doing so at a PokerStars live event, and there are plenty on offer for 2020. As of Saturday, January 11, PokerStars had confirmed 21 live events and plenty of them lead up to PSPC. As part of the schedule are 'Road To PSPC' events. Like the name suggests, these events are just that, they’re roads to the PokerStars Players Championship. These events have a specific focus to awarding Platinum Passes and come at accessible price points. One player who has already won a Platinum Pass for Barcelona is Scott Baumstein, who did so by winning the Moneymaker's Road to PSPC - Seminole Main Event in December 2019. In that $360 buy-in tournament, the New Jersey grinder topped a field of 464 entries to win a Platinum Pass. If you remember, Baumstein made the final table of the first PSPC, finishing fourth for $1.657 million. Playing On PokerStars Players can win Platinum Passes multiple ways by playing on PokerStars. Platinum Passes are given away through Mystery Chest promotions and Platinum Pass Experiences. Steve Zander won his Platinum Pass via a Mystery Chest Drop. He was simply playing on PokerStars, opened a Mystery Chest, and boom, there was his Platinum Pass. If you’d like to have a chance at a Platinum Pass from a Mystery Chest, log into PokerStars and play real-money stakes of at least $0.02/$0.05. If you win a hand with ace-five, the hand that Ramon Colillas won the first-ever PSPC with, you’ll have a chance to unlock a Mystery Chest to see if you are a Platinum Pass winner. Oliver Hutchins won a £5 online qualifier that earned him the chance to compete for a Platinum Pass against seven other players at an exclusive Platinum Pass Experience tournament in London. Hutchins won the eight-handed tournament and scored a Platinum Pass. Social Media and Twitch PokerStars loves to get social, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, or Twitch. If you’re not already, make sure you follow all of their accounts so you can be made aware of any special social offering that is going to award a Platinum Pass. Look at the UK’s Richard Robinson, who won his Platinum Pass by watching via Mason 'pyefacepoker' Pye's Twitch stream. Follow PokerStars on Twitter, like the PokerStars page on Facebook, and stay tuned to PokerStars' Twitch channel.
  21. Nominations for the second annual Global Poker Awards were announced on Friday with popular poker personality Joey Ingram leading the way with four nominations. The Global Poker Awards, slated to take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on March 6, celebrates the poker industry by recognizing the game of poker's top talent both on the felt and behind the scenes. This year, awards will be handed out in 19 different categories including two that are voted on by the fans. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="BetMGM NJ"] Multiple Nods Sixteen former award winners are back in contention this year with a number of them recognized in multiple categories. Poker personality and podcast/video producer Joey Ingram picked up nominations in the People’s Choice for Poker Personality of the Year, Podcast of the Year (Poker Life Podcast), Journalist of the Year and Media Content of the Year for his extensive work investigating the Mike Postle cheating allegation story. PocketFives’ own three-time GPI award winner Lance Bradley earned another three nominations for Journalist of the Year, Media Content of the Year, and Podcast of the Year for The FIVES Poker Podcast, alongside PocketFives own Managing Editor Donnie Peters. Daniel Negreanu, Jamie Kerstetter, Lex Veldhuis, Hayley Hochstätter and tournament director Matt Savage each earned two nominations. Alex Foxen, Andrew Neeme, Barny Boatman, Brad Owen, Bryn Kenney, Cary Katz, Joe Giron, Joe Stapleton, Kevin Mathers, Nick Schulman, and Paul Campbell join Bradley, Ingram, Negreanu, Savage, and Veldhuis as previous award winners who find themselves back in the running for even more hardware at the upcoming ceremonies. In addition to the 18 awards that will be voted on and the Global Poker Index Player of the Year awards, the PocketFives Legacy Award will once again be handed out to a PocketFives player who has shown success in both the online and live poker arenas. Previous award winners include Ari Engel, Cliff Josephy and Chris Moorman. 2019 Global Poker Award Nominees GPI BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR Robert Campbell (AUS) Ramon Colillas (ESP) Ben Farrell (UK) George Wolff (USA) FINAL TABLE PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR Hossein Ensan (GER), WSOP Main Event William Alex Foxen (USA), WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Phillip Hui (USA), WSOP Poker Players Championship Bryn Kenney (USA), Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Montenegro TWITTER PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Barny Boatman (UK) Jamie Kerstetter (USA) Kitty Kuo (TAI) Kevin Mathers (USA) PLAYERS CHOICE FOR TOUGHEST OPPONENT Michael Addamo (AUS) Kahle Burns (AUS) Stephen Chidwick (UK) Ali Imsirovic (BIH) STREAMER OF THE YEAR Hristivoje Pavlovic (AUS) Benjamin Spragg (UK) Matthew Staples (CAN) Lex Veldhuis (NED) VLOGGER OF THE YEAR Jaman Burton (USA) Andrew Neeme (USA) Daniel Negreanu (CAN) Brad Owen (USA) PODCAST OF THE YEAR DAT Poker Podcast: Terrence Chan, Ross Henry, Adam Schwartz, Daniel Negreanu (CAN) Poker Life Podcast: Joey Ingram (USA) The Fives, a PocketFives Podcast: Lance Bradley (CAN), Donnie Peters (USA) The Grid: Jennifer Shahade (USA) INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR Phil Galfond (USA), Run it Once Poker Cary Katz (USA), Poker Central/PokerGO Paul Phua (MAS), Triton Poker Matt Savage (USA), WPT/TDA TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR Tony Burns (USA), Seminole Hard Rock Paul Campbell (USA), Aria Jack Effel (USA), World Series of Poker Matt Savage (USA), WPT/TDA EVENT OF THE YEAR PokerStars Players Championship Bahamas Triton London Million for Charity World Series of Poker Main Event World Series of Poker BIG 50 MID-MAJOR TOUR/CIRCUIT OF THE YEAR Road to PSPC RUNGOOD Poker Series WPTDeepStacks WSOP Circuit JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR Lance Bradley (CAN) Haley Hintze (USA) Joey Ingram (USA) Nick Jones (UK) BROADCASTER OF THE YEAR Jamie Kerstetter (USA) Jeff Platt (USA) Nick Schulman (USA) Joseph Stapleton (USA) MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: WRITTEN A Fight for Fatherhood: The Biggest Win of Jason Young’s Life, Lance Bradley (CAN) for PoketFives Kevin Roster Spread Sarcoma Awareness at WSOP, Wants to End Life on His Terms, Aleeyah Jadavji (CAN), Hayley Hochstetler (USA) for PokerNews Poker and Pop Culture, Martin Harris (USA) for D+B Publishing The Unabridged Story of The Hendon Mob, Paul Seaton (UK) for PokerNews MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: PHOTO Antonio Abrego (USA): Ryan Laplante in deep thought at the WSOP (PokerNews) Drew Amato (USA): Dario Sammartino folds at the WSOP (Poker Central) Joe Giron (USA): WPT Champion Frank Stepuchin is lifted in victory (WPT) Hayley Hochstetler (USA): Doyle Brunson and Jack Binion at WSOP celebration (WSOP) MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: VIDEO Investigating Mike Postle Hand Histories from Stones Live, Joey Ingram (USA) Legends of the Game – Stu Ungar (PokerGO) The Big Blind w/Jeff Platt featuring Mike Matusow, Normand Chad, Sarah Herring (PokerGO) Who Makes Money from Professional Poker, Sam Rega (USA) for CNBC PEOPLE’S CHOICE FOR POKER PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Joey Ingram (USA) Jonathan Little (USA) Ryan DePaulo (USA) Lex Veldhuis (NED) PEOPLE’S CHOICE FOR HAND OF THE YEAR Bryce Yockey takes a historic hit against Josh Arieh in the WSOP Poker Players Championship Ryan Riess makes 10-high all-in call at EPT Monte Carlo final table Sam Trickett makes Stephen Chidwick fold best hand at Triton London 1M event Thi Xoa Nguyen folds full house to Athanasios Polychronopoulos at PSPC
  22. In an effort to show their appreciation for the profound effect that women have on the game of poker, online poker site PokerStars is giving away a $30,000 Platinum Pass to this August's PokerStars Players Championship to one woman nominated by the public. PokerStars is reaching out to ask players to nominate an inspirational woman in poker who has made a positive contribution to the poker community. The nomination process is easy and there’s a couple of ways to enter. In 50 words or less, players can tweet at PokerStars using the hashtag #PSPCWomen as to why they think your nominee deserves the $30,000 PSPC ticket. For those who are not on Twitter, you can email your nomination to competition@starsgroup.com. The nomination process is open now through March 20. [ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”][ptable zone=“GG Poker”][ptable zone=“Borgata Poker”] Once all of the nominations are in, six finalists will be selected by a panel of “external and internal judges". Those six finalists are then provided an all-expense-paid trip to a future live event. The finalists will have their airfare, transportation, and accommodation all take care of. At that event, those six women will compete in a special Sit & Go where the winner will be awarded a trip to Barcelona from August 20-24 to play in the second-ever PSPC. The $30,000 Platinum Pass not only includes a seat into the PSPC but also a six-night stay in a five-star hotel, €1,250 in spending cash, and exclusive PSPC experiences reserved for Platinum Pass winners. International Women's Day Tournament To go along with the Platinum Pass for a woman nominated by the community, PokerStars is also putting another Platinum Pass up for grabs for International Women’s Day on Match 8. This Sunday, in the Women’s Sunday tournament on PokerStars, PokerStars is awarding the winner of this special tournament their own $30,000 Platinum Pass. Additionally, the second and third-place finishers will both will walk away with a €1,050 PSPC direct qualifier ticket. In an effort to make this special tournament even more accessible to their players the online site has slashed the buy-in to $22. They are also supporting the event by adding an increased amount of $2.20 satellites. "PokerStars wants to celebrate women in poker by taking a look at our women-focused offering and spicing it up, starting with dedicating a Platinum Pass to a community that regularly enjoys playing these Sunday tournaments," said Rebecca McAdam Willetts, Associate Director of Public Relations for The Stars Group. Note that this tournament is only open to women. A player's gender should be assigned as female in the 'Settings' tab in order to participate. PokerStars is directing anyone that needs assistance in this regard to contact their support staff. "We're always out there asking questions. What can we do better? What can we change? And we like to encourage more female players to reach out to use with their feedback. One suggestion was female-focused qualifiers to live events, and what could be better than a Platinum Pass to the PSPC?" said McAdam Willetts. The Woman's Sunday tournament with the bonus $30,000 Platinum Pass will take place Sunday, March 8 at 2:40 pm ET. It features 90 minutes of late registration and a single re-entry.
  23. Although some land-based casinos have started reopening their poker rooms, players will have to wait an additional year for the 2020 PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) and EPT Barcelona events. On Friday, PokerStars made the announcement that it is postponing the two festivals until 2021. "We realize that this news will come as a disappointment to many, but we know you will understand and appreciate why this is necessary," a post on the PokerStars Blog stated. "Our priority is the safety and good health of all our players and staff, as well as the communities that host such large events." The second edition of the PSPC was scheduled to take place August 20-24, 2020, at Casino Barcelona, with the always popular EPT Barcelona festival wrapped around it. Exact dates for the 2021 edition have yet to be announced, but it is planned to still be held in Barcelona. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] There were 320 Platinum Passes set to be awarded to the 2020 PSPC event, of which nearly 200 have already been given out through various promotions. Those that already hold Platinum Passes for the 2020 PSPC will be eligible to use them for the 2021 event. Plus, PokerStars is upping the number of Platinum Passes to be awarded, taking it from 320 to 400. "While we cannot provide exact dates at this time, we do know that the PSPC will be back bigger and better in 2021 at Casino Barcelona," the post stated. "Until then, we will focus on creating a life-changing and memorable PokerStars experience for when we are safe and together again." The news comes almost exactly one month after the 2020 World Series of Poker was postponed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the postponed of the PSPC and EPT Barcelona, PokerStars announced that is has canceled the Road to PSPC Cannes, Road to PSPC Madrid Torrelodones, and Manilla Super Series 14 stops. The first-ever PSPC, held as part of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival, awarded 320 Platinum Passes and generated a field of 1,039 entries. Ramon Colillas was crowned champion for $5.1 million. With its $26.455 million prize pool, the event became the largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament of all time. PSPC 2020 was already anticipated to take this record to new heights, and now with an additional 80 Platinum Passes to be awarded it hopes to be even bigger. For those with questions regarding the postponements, PokerStars has put together a PSPC Postponement FAQ page with more information.

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