The PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold'em Championship (PSPC)

PokerStars PSPC to Return in 2020, Move to Barcelona

PokerStars Announces 2020 PSPC Heading to Barcelona

When PokerStars announced the ambitious PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) in 2018, The Stars Group CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi said, “We expect the PokerStars Players Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments.”

PSPC winner Ramon Colillas
Photo credit: Neil Stoddart

It was a bold statement, but Mr. Ashkenzai was right. The $25,000 buy-in tournament drew 1,039 entries, by far the most for a live $25,000 event. The previous record of 639 was held by the 2007 World Poker Tour Championship. Ramon Colillas won the tournament this past January and a $5.1 million first prize.

Recently, during the second starting flight of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona Main Event, PokerStars announced that the PSPC will return next year. It will not be part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), though, as it was this year. Instead – and this is the reason for the timing of the announcement – the PSPC will be hosted by Casino Barcelona as part of EPT Barcelona in 2020.

“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, in a blog post.

“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,” he added.

Platinum Passes Plentiful

As was the case in the more than year-long build-up to the 2019 PSPC, PokerStars will be doling out the Platinum Passes again in order to give people who would not normally be able to afford the $25,000 buy-in a chance for an insane payday. The Platinum Passes are prize packages worth €26,466 (about $30,000) and include a buy-in into the tournament, a six-night hotel stay in Barcelona for two people, as well as flights and expenses.

PokerStars awarded the first five Platinum Passes at EPT Barcelona in the “Chase Your Dream” promotion. Contestants submitted video applications and the five winners thought they were heading to Barcelona to compete against PokerStars celebrities for a €10,000 prize. In a surprise announcement (to the players), PokerStars told them that they were also receiving Platinum Passes for the 2020 PSPC.

PokerStars is making a big show of Platinum Passes, as it did last year. On the PSPC site, players can see the upcoming challenges for Platinum Passes, the first of which is the PSPC Mega Final on PokerStars.com this coming Sunday. The same thing will happen the following two Sundays, with another one on PokerStars.es and PokerStars.fr on September 22nd.

Platinum Passes will also be awarded at a live poker festival in Namur, Belgium in late September. One Platinum Pass will be randomly given to someone in attendance on Day 2 of the Main Event, though that person does not even have to play in the tournament. Drawing entries are given for playing in the Main Event as well as for participating in online qualifiers. Eight names will be selected in Namur and those eight people will play one hand of Crazy Pineapple (my favorite poker game!) to determine the Platinum Pass winner.

Things like this will go on for a full year. Hundreds of Platinum Passes will be given out both live and online. Players will be able to qualify for the PSPC in satellites, as well. Of course, anyone with $25,000 can also buy-in directly.

Platinum Passes Added Millions to Prizepool

There were 320 Platinum Passes awarded for this year’s PSPC. Doing the math, that means that PokerStars contributed $7,840,000 to the prize pool, or more specifically, $7,683,200 if you take out the two percent in admin fees. That made the tournament even more juicier than it would have been otherwise, since that was effectively an enormous overlay, tempting for poker pros.

Even without the 320 Platinum Passes, the 2019 PSPC would have broken the record for a $25,000 tournament. Though, to be fair, without those Passes, perhaps not as many people would have paid the buy-in directly in order to try to grab some of that overlay.

After PokerStars added another $1 million, the prize pool ballooned to nearly $26.5 million.

The winner, Ramon Colillas, was one of those Platinum Pass recipients, so he freerolled his way to multi-millionaire status.

“The PSPC was an incredible experience for me,” said Collilas, who became a PokerStars Ambassador afterward. “From the lead up to the tournament to the event itself and now wearing the PokerStars patch, it has been a dream come true. I’m so happy it’s back again and I get to be a part of potentially changing someone’s life. Although, I am definitely going to attempt a back-to-back!”

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