The PokerStars Mega Path was one of the most cost-effective and readily available ways for players to win a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) 2023.
Just ask the UK’s Karl Robinson, who hadn’t played online poker in years, then fired up his PokerStars account when he heard about the PSPC 2023, which takes place in the Bahamas in January.
As you’ll read in this interview, the prospect of qualifying for the PSPC from $20 satellites reignited his love of poker. He went on to book himself a seat in the $25K buy-in event, and now there’s no looking back.
Robinson, 51, lives with his wife and young daughter in the county of Wiltshire, where he’s lived for the past 20 years. He currently works as an Offshore Oil & Gas Fiscal Metering Specialist, a position that requires certain skills also useful on the poker table.
“Mathematics, procedural discipline and critical analysis are personal attributes vital to the role,” he tells us, and those attributes will no doubt stand him in good stead come January.
He’s also ex-UK Armed Forces and now a military veteran, proud to have served his country for more than 25 years from the age of 18.
“One area of my work involved humanitarian support, not just in conflict zones but also in areas around the world hit by some form of serious devastation,” he says. “This was probably the most rewarding side of the job. You never forget the smiles of a total stranger. It’s very humbling and it keeps you in check with life because you can’t even imagine what they’ve just gone through.”
Here’s an abridged version of our chat with Platinum Pass winner Karl Robinson.
Hello Karl, congratulations on your Platinum Pass. What was your poker experience prior to winning one?
I won an online satellite to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event back in 2006. I busted on Day 2 but I remember on Day 1 I nearly knocked out Allen Cunningham, who went on to finish fourth that year. I trapped him and was 70 per cent to win the all in but he hit an out and went on to do well. I was gutted but he was a top player back then.
Then in 2007, I finished sixth in the Sunday Million for $30K, which gave me the green light to go to Australia–a trip I’d also wanted to take. While on holiday there I satellited into the $10K Aussie Millions but busted with pocket kings versus aces.
I then took an enforced sabbatical from poker. It wasn’t for financial reasons but rather because work was extremely busy and I met my wife and then our daughter came into the world.
So what inspired you to start playing again and ultimately win your Platinum Pass?
I noticed the PSPC advertised, so I dusted off the poker mindset, tried to remember my PokerStars login and started to get the old scent back.
I can’t remember how much I loaded up my account with, but I do remember mainly concentrating on those PSPC satellites. I might have just been running hot, but I managed to rack up several $100 satellite tickets in a short space of time, all via the smaller $20 satellites. This gave me a few shots to get into the $1,000 main satellite.
I ended up winning my way in on my first or second attempt, which was crazy. What was even crazier was that I made the final table but the hands dried up and I went out in fifth with one Platinum Pass on offer. But I did win another $1,000 ticket and I kept hold of it until a bigger satellite with three $30K packages came along.
I made it to the final table again, this time with the chip lead. I busted the player in fourth and that gave me the coveted Platinum Pass.
When the PSPC in the Bahamas was officially confirmed, what was your reaction?
I’m off work, let’s go for it! I work a rota where I’m either unable to do anything or I’m totally free. A quick look at my calendar and the dates were in the middle of my time off. I used to know some players from the UK that went to the older PCA tournaments. They always banged on about it but I could never afford the satellite buy-ins back then. This time, the PSPC steps made it so much easier for lower bankroll players like myself.
Who are you bringing with you and are they excited?
I’m a bit gutted because I was planning on bringing my wife and daughter, making it a family holiday as well. Unfortunately, other commitments have taken priority and I’ll be out there ‘Billly No-Mates’. From what I’ve heard and seen from the PSPC 2019 episodes though, I don’t think there’ll be any problem making new friends for the five days. I’m not a full-on poker nerd but I don’t mind chatting about it, just not 24/7. As long as they have a dark sense of humour, we’ll get along fine!
Robinson racing at Oulton Park in Supersport 600cc class
What do you like to do outside of poker?
I’ve done a lot of things over the years, from leading rock-climbing routes to racing motorbikes and playing badminton (I used to play for my county at the Under 16s level).
You’ve had some solid live poker experience in the past. How are you going to prepare?
I still need to get some good live practice under my belt between now and PSPC but that’s not easy with a limited bankroll and living a distance away from the main poker rooms.
First off, I’ll be working as normal. That’s what pays the bills and keeps a roof over our heads. But I have invested a lot of time and a small amount of money into my study.
If I were to give myself advice, it would be to study hard in the lead-up, relax before travelling, play your spots when they come and enjoy the times when serious poker play isn’t required.
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