After serving 20 years in the Canadian military, including deployments to Bosnia and Afghanistan, 39-year-old Daryl Inglis received a medical discharge in 2015.
He turned to skiing, surfing, kayaking and mountain biking to occupy his time, but now aged 43, he felt something was missing. It turned out that poker, a game he’d been introduced to some nine years ago, was the perfect outlet.
“About 15 years into my military career some friends invited me to play a $20 tournament, and I busted first,” Inglis tells PokerStars Blog the morning after winning a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) 2020 worth €26,466 (we’ll get to that in a moment).
“I went back the next week, and busted first again. This happened for about a month, so I told myself I have to get better,” he continues. “I set up a PokerStars account, but I’ve been a losing player online, down about $800 over eight years. But when it came to live poker, I decided to put $40 in a jar and said ‘this is only for poker’. I use it to buy-in, and whatever I win goes back in. Six weeks later I had $1,000, so that showed me I was making good decisions.”
It’s now clear that the best poker decision Inglis has made was when decided to enter the PokerStars Chase Your Dream competition.
After winning a ticket from an online freeroll and being invited to send in an audition video, Inglis was one of five winners chosen to come to EPT Barcelona as a VIP guest. He then played in the Chase Your Dream invitational, a single-table tournament in which one qualifier would battle against five celebrities and pros over 25 hands. The two best performing qualifiers would then meet in a heads-up final, with the winner banking 10,000.
Those pros included PokerStars Ambassadors Lex Veldhuis, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Chris Moneymaker, as well as legendary high stakes crusher Patrik Antonius, and the voice of the UFC, Bruce Buffer.
However, something different happened during Inglis’ heat.
“When I sat down, Bruce Buffer [decided to give up his seat at the table] as Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona and Spanish international superstar) showed up. Now, I don’t watch sports and I sure as hell don’t watch soccer, but when this soccer guy arrived everyone flooded the stage and started taking photos of him. I turned to the guy beside me and said, who is this guy? They said he played for Spain, but then he dusted off Bruce’s stack with five-six offsuit. I’ve never seen Bruce Buffer so upset in all my life. He comes back, sits at the table, arms crossed, cursing.”
As we can gather, playing with a famous sports star like Pique wasn’t too exciting for Inglis. But what happened later certainly was.
“When I realised I wasn’t going to make it through to play for the €10,000, I was clearly disappointed,” he tells us. Inglis had played well in his heat, but ultimately his stack wasn’t enough to see him through to the final.
“Then James Hartigan gets on stage and announces that not only are [the two finalists] playing for €10,000, they’re also playing for a Platinum Pass. I just hung my head in complete shame.
“I was pissed off at myself, because I thought I might have played differently had I known. But Griffin Benger (Inglis’ personal coach and fellow Canadian) was behind me and he told me ‘no Daryl, you wouldn’t have done anything different.’
“I was happy for Clement (Eloy, the overall Chase Your Dream winner) because he had won it all, but then Hartigan calls us all back on stage. The words he was using — ‘we’re going to give you a small consolation prize’ — I thought he meant an Amazon gift card or something. Then he pulls out the Platinum Pass and honestly, it never even occurred to me that I might be coming back next year and get to play in a high roller event.”
Yep. In case you’re unaware, a Platinum Pass is worth €26,466, and includes entry to the €22,500 PSPC 2020. The inaugural PSPC took place in January 2019, and saw Ramon Colillas turn his free Platinum Pass into $5.2 million.
While one of the biggest poker tournaments in history was taking place over in the Bahamas, Inglis was out on the slopes.
“I couldn’t really follow the first PSPC because it ran in January, and in Canada we have winter and I’m a skier,” he explains. “So I was skiing a lot, trying to keep in shape, trying to work out the demons. I watched a lot of the footage in preparation for coming here though.”
It’s a good job he did, because now Inglis will be back in Barcelona this time next year battling many of the same faces he watched in that footage. We wondered how he now plans to prepare over the next 12 months.
“I have friends who are poker fanatics, and they talk about hands a lot. I was a part of that chat group for a while, but I found it a little bit overwhelming as they would go pretty deep into things. I found that what I was doing — grinding small tournaments and playing $1/$2 cash — it was a little too much for me. However, now that I’m coming back for the PSPC 2020, I’ll be getting all the help I can from those people.”
Next year Inglis has a shot at winning millions. “For everyone who plays poker, a Platinum Pass is a dream come true, and so for me to win one, it’s amazing,” he tells us.
Now he might need to get himself a bigger jar.
Has the PSPC 2020 announcement inspired you to start playing poker? Click here to open a PokerStars account.