It’s been four months since the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) played out in the Bahamas, and for most of us, the dust has now officially settled on Ramón Colillas’ breakout score.
For Colillas, however, life remains in the whirlwind caused by such a mind-blowing result. He did win $5.1 million, after all.
You’d never guess it by talking to him, though.
“There haven’t really been any big changes in my life,” he tells us during a chat at European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo earlier this month. But the truth is that a lot has happened to Colillas since January 10th 2019, the day he turned a free $30K Platinum Pass package into life-changing money and one of the biggest tournament scores in poker history.
First off, the attention he’s been getting from fellow players and the media during his first major outing wearing the Team Pro patch is something Colillas is still getting used to.
“There are so many new things happening for me,” he says. “It’s strange but nice.”
He’s not only become an inspiration to poker players everywhere (particularly in Spain and his hometown of Barcelona), but he’s also become a PokerStars Ambassador.
“It’s very special being here as a PokerStars Ambassador,” he says. “I met all the Team Pros for the first time here at the EPT. I haven’t had much time to have a beer with everyone yet though.”
Colillas was announced as a PokerStars Ambassador three months ago— around the same time as France’s Kalidou Sow—and Colillas says the two look forward to spending more time with the whole team.
“I’d actually met Kalidou prior to this because we’ve played at the same table in tournaments before,” Colillas says. “Later in the year, I’m sure there will be more opportunities to meet everyone when there’s more time to talk. It’s not an easy thing to come [to an EPT] and meet them in person because all the players are focused on poker tournaments. They are here to play.”
Colillas himself put in a busy schedule in Monaco, something his healthy bankroll now affords him. “The obvious [change] is the buy-ins I can now play. Before the PSPC I only played up to a certain amount, but now I can play bigger tournaments like this €5K Main Event,” he says.
It’s actually online where Colillas cuts his teeth for most of the year though, and he’s regularly spotted battling in the PokerStars High Roller Club and big Spring Championship Of Online Poker (SCOOP) events.
“I’m an online player originally, so playing online is my bread and butter,” he says. “I’ve tried to go to live events and do the same, but it’s not the same. Playing online with the best players in the world is an awesome thing. I have a chance not only to play online from home but to also improve my game by playing the best.”
Despite his love of online poker, Colillas still plans on putting in plenty of travel for poker stops. The good news for him is that he’ll have his girlfriend alongside every step of the way.
“For both of us, this is a whole new thing,” he says when we point to one of the screens scattered around the Sporting Club (home of EPT Monte Carlo) playing a video featuring them both. “At the same time, it’s good because she’s a lot more talkative than me, so it’s comforting for me to have her with me. We’re experiencing this thing together. When we started seeing each other I was just a random player. She didn’t travel with me, but now we’re living this together. It’s nice.”
Aside from his girlfriend and family, the one person Colillas looked forward to celebrating his PSPC victory with was his elusive “poker father”.
We first heard this story right after his win. Colillas prefers to keep the identity of the man he calls his “poker father” a secret, but he credits him for turning his game around during a rough spell at the tables.
“I had a bad streak during the first months of 2018 and this person gave me some gifts to not only improve my game but also help me improve how I manage things. That helped me a lot. I’ve been on a good streak since then,” he says.
We wondered how those two might have celebrated the $5.1 million windfall.
“I met him a few weeks ago and we had some time to talk. He’s very proud, of course.
“There was not a big celebration, just a nice dinner together. He was very busy with some personal things, but he’s eager to see me again at a live event when we have more time to discuss our lives and share some thoughts.”
After leaving Monte Carlo, Colillas headed straight for the Spanish Poker Championship in San Sebastian. (“I’m a former champion of it, and I love it there,” he says. “It’s always marked red on my agenda every year, I can’t wait to go back there.”)
Then it’s off to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.
“I haven’t made plans yet, but I’d like to play all of the big tournaments in the main casinos like the Aria, Rio and Venetian. I’ll be in Vegas for a month and I want to play as much as I can.”
There will be a slight detour during Colillas’ trip though, as he’ll be heading back to Spain for the EPT Open Madrid (kicking off on June 22). He wouldn’t miss it.
“I’m obviously making an effort to be there,” he says. “As it’s a €1K tournament I think there will be many people playing, and it’s a big opportunity for them.
“It’s a great decision by PokerStars to run that tournament in Madrid because it’s an amazing place. There are a lot of poker players there and they will all be talking about it. I hope to meet a lot of them in person there.”
“It’s very helpful having him on the team with me because we’re the same age and we met each other playing the same events together. It’s going to be fun.”
Of course, the world of Spanish poker really heats up in August when the EPT Barcelona rolls around. That just so happens to be Colillas’ hometown.
“If San Sebastian has a red mark on my agenda every year, then Barcelona has the biggest mark,” Colillas says. “I grew up as a man in Barcelona, and as a poker player at Casino Barcelona. The tournament has been growing over the years and now I have the opportunity to be there representing PokerStars as a Spanish Ambassador. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope to put in a good performance in Barcelona.”
Putting in a good performance is really Colillas’ only plan for the rest of 2019, whether it be at the WSOP, EPT Barcelona, or when he’s speaking English.
“I would like to learn English in order to do more of these interviews,” he laughs. “I hope to learn as soon as possible. I’ll have a personal teacher, but right now because I’m travelling a lot I’m doing online lessons, and while I’m playing at the tables I try and participate in some short conversations in English. My mobile phone translator comes in handy though, just in case!”
Whatever happens, Colillas’ name will forever be etched in the poker history books. “Legacy” isn’t really something he worries about, though.
“It’s nice to think about, but the truth is over the coming decades there will be far bigger events, I’m sure. Poker is growing every single year and I’m sure there will be bigger winners than I was. For now, I’m just enjoying the dream and living the life.”
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