If you tuned in to the Chase Your Dream invitational, you’ll have seen some truly heart-warming reactions when all five qualifiers were told they had won a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) 2020.
But the qualifier we kept the closest eye on was Spain’s Adrian Viñuela. After all, he’d made it through to the final and was just one player away from winning both a Platinum Pass (worth €26,466) and the €10,000 cash prize. Unfortunately for Viñuela things didn’t go his way, and he thought his dream was over.
“I was so sad,” he tells PokerStars Blog the morning after. “I was so close, but I felt like I had lost everything.”
All was not lost, however. Unbeknownst to Viñuela, James Hartigan then announced that all five qualifiers would receive a Platinum Pass, meaning he’ll be back in Barcelona 12 months from now.
The look on Viñuela’s face? Pure elation.
“I still can’t believe I have a Platinum Pass,” he says, as if the news hasn’t quite sunk in yet. “I’d like to thank everyone at PokerStars.”
The competition Viñuela entered was called Chase Your Dream, and that’s exactly what the 23-year-old was doing. Despite currently studying for a chemical engineering degree, poker is his passion, and becoming a professional is his goal.
He has a back-up dream too, though: to become a professional DJ.
“I’d prefer to play poker professionally if I could choose, but I could actually do both,” he says. “When I have free time I can go and play some music, or make music at home.”
Viñuela might not have quite as much time for beats and loops now though, as he’ll be preparing himself for the biggest poker tournament of his life. He has played poker with friends since his early teens, but it has only been the past couple of years he’s taken the game more seriously.
“I’m going to study a lot in the build up to the PSPC 2020, and seek coaching from professional players who can tell me a lot of things,” he tells us.
One player Viñuela hoped he’d get to play against yesterday was PokerStars Ambassador Ramon Colillas, winner of the PSPC 2019 and Viñuela’s fellow countryman. In the end something even better happened: Colillas became his coach, and that meant Viñuela could pick his brains.
While he’ll no doubt remain in contact with Colillas throughout the next year, we wondered if there are any other Spanish players he’d like to reach out to.
“Obviously there is Adrian Mateos, and Juan Pardo who has just won two high rollers in a row,” he says. “There are more I’d like to talk to, but I can’t remember now!”
Viñuela demonstrated some great poker chops during the live stream, including making a quality fold with top pair versus Lex Veldhuis, who had trip threes. During the hand, Viñuela played his ‘joker card’ which allowed him to converse with Colillas and get advice mid-hand.
“Facing a big river bet from Lex, I asked Ramon what I should do but I realised afterwards that I had explained the hand the wrong to him,” Viñuela says. “He suggested that I call with top pair, but I really thought Lex had a three for trips. I folded and he showed me the three.”
Another huge pot helped send Viñuela through to the final, in which he just about tripled up in a flush over flush over flush draw situation versus Veldhuis and Chris Moneymaker. All the chips went in on the flop (with both Viñuela and Veldhuis flopping club flushes, whilst Moneymaker had a higher draw), and all the young qualifier could do was pray his hand held up.
“It was crazy. I was hoping that the turn and river would be red cards. I got lucky! It was amazing.”
That pot gave Viñuela almost double his starting stack, and at that point he felt confident he’d done enough to make it through. “I felt that after the pot I had enough in chips, but I continued playing and tried to win more,” he says.
We look forward to seeing Viñuela prepare for a €22,500 tournament over the coming months, but we couldn’t let an aspiring DJ leave without asking for some music requests.
“I listen to electronic dance music (EDM) and house. When I’m playing poker I like to listen to house music because it’s more relaxed, but when I play music in a club I like to play EDM. I really like DJs like W&W.”
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