PokerStars has announced that players in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan can now win their way to January’s PSPC through online events. Here are all the details.
The second edition of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) is rapidly approaching and come January 2023, hundreds of qualifiers from around the world will sit down in the Bahamas amongst the very best in the game to play a very special $25,000 buy-in tournament.
But if you thought it was too late for you to book a seat in one of the biggest events on the poker calendar, think again. In fact, the ways in which US-based players can get their hands on a coveted Platinum Pass worth $30,000 are actually increasing.
Read on to find out how you could win entry to this most unique event.
PokerStars has announced a new online route to a Platinum Pass that gives US-based players of all levels the opportunity to win their way to the PSPC for a fraction of the cost. The best part? The route rewards those who regularly play on PokerStars.
From August 30, 2022, to December 10, 2022, special online leaderboards will track the play of the PokerStars community in the US throughout all online series. Players can earn leaderboard points through a variety of different methods including tournament play, cash games, deposits, and more.
At the end of each month, the top players on each leaderboard (500 players from PA, 300 from MI, and 200 from NJ) will be eligible to play in exclusive freerolls for a chance to win a $30,000 Platinum Pass.
The first six Passes will be awarded to the top leaderboard finishers from the Championship of Online Poker (COOP) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan, which takes place from September 9-26.
If you don’t clinch one of those top spots, don’t worry. The top 1,000 players on the COOP leaderboards will win entry to a freeroll taking place on September 27, with more Platinum Passes up for grabs.
PokerStars will also add more ways US-based players can win a Platinum Pass throughout the year, including community giveaways, promotions, and live events.
“At the PokerStars Players Championship, anything is possible, but you have to get there first,” says PokerStars US Managing Director, Severin Rasset. “We want to give players as many opportunities as we can to be a part of this epic event and our leader boards are a great way to reward our community in the US for being a part of the everyday action. We’ll have even more news to come on further ways to win soon.”
WHAT IS A PLATINUM PASS?
Quite simply, a Platinum Pass is one of the most unique giveaways in poker’s history.
It not only grants you the buy-in to an enormous poker tournament with millions in prizes, but it also provides the trip of a lifetime for you and a guest to the Bahamas, where you’ll stay at the beautiful Baha Mar Hotel & Resort in Nassau.
Each Platinum Pass is worth more than $30,000 and includes:
- $25,000 buy-in to the PSPC
- Six nights of accommodation for the winner and a guest in a 5* hotel
- Airport transfers
- $1,900 in expenses
- Platinum Pass winner experiences during the event
Win a Platinum Pass and you’ll join an exclusive club. Many of those who won a Pass to the first edition of the PSPC back in 2019 have gone on to form great friendships through their shared experience.
WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT THE PSPC?
The first iteration of the PokerStars Players Championship in 2019 was an extraordinary spectacle and its announcement galvanised the entire poker world.
It came as no surprise that everyone went Platinum hunting throughout 2018. We could be here all day listing the ways in which people won their Platinum Passes.
“This was the tournament where amateur players rubbed shoulders with elite pros; where $25,000 buy-ins could be secured by people who simply dreamed hard enough, like Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets,” wrote PokerStars Blog’s Howard Swains.
Check out: Why all the fuss about the PSPC?
There had never been another tournament like it. A $25,000 buy-in tournament in which more than 300 players were given free access by PokerStars, plus $1 million added to the winner’s prize. That created a $9 million prize pool.
The eventual champion, Ramon Colillas, won his Platinum Pass by winning a Spanish poker tour leader board, collecting points for high finishes in a series of small buy-in events across his home country. The former fitness trainer from Barcelona outlasted the 1,039-entry field to win a whopping $5.1 million. He’s been a PokerStars Team Pro ever since.
And yes, you read that right: 1,039 entries. That was an unheard-of amount of players for a $25,000 buy-in tournament. Those stakes are usually reserved for elite pros and those successful in business outside of poker. But not at the PSPC.
That’s what makes it so special.
That’s why the PSPC’s return is so exciting.
And that’s why you should try your best to win a Platinum Pass.
US PLATINUM PASS WINNERS
The PSPC 2019 final table contained players from Spain, France, Philippines, Canada, Columbia, England, and Romania…
Plus two players from the USA.
Business owner Jason Koonce from Colorado didn’t win his way in from a Platinum Pass, but still turned his $25,000 buy-in into $1.3 million when he finished in fifth place. Incredibly, this was Koonce’s third-ever recorded live cash.
Poker pro Scott Baumstein went one better and finished in fourth place for $1.65 million. The New Yorker then set his sights on winning a Platinum Pass for the 2023 edition and did just that in 2019 when he won a Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC event.
So far, six US players have won a Platinum Pass through different routes, with three players winning their Pass last month via an invitational freeroll.
Here’s a look at some of the US players who will be battling in the Bahamas in January.
One of the most recognisable faces from poker’s boom era, Greg Raymer became the second person to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event after qualifying for the tournament online at PokerStars.
Raymer’s success in 2004, which earned him $5 million, came a year after Chris Moneymaker had done the same — and both Moneymaker and Raymer would go on to spend several years as Team PokerStars Ambassadors, raising the profile of the online game even further.
Raymer continues to play poker at a high level, but won his Platinum Pass to the PSPC at the largely recreational Mixed Games Festival, hosted by Robbie Strazynski’s CardPlayer Lifestyle, in Las Vegas in October 2021. The festival culminated in a HORSE tournament, with a $400 buy-in, and the Platinum Pass awarded as a sweetener to the winner.
Raymer defeated a field of 124 to win the first prize of a little less than $5K. But the Platinum Pass, worth $30,000, made this a very special prize indeed — with the potential to be turned into even more at the PSPC in January 2023.
“Pumped, stoked, excited.” Those were the three words used by Justin Buxmen to describe how he feels ahead of his trip to the Bahamas to play in the biggest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in the world.
And that makes sense: he’s on his way there for nothing, having won his Platinum Pass in a PokerStars MI VIP freeroll.
Buxman, 38, from Hemlock, MI, is a High School teacher, specialising in government economics. (No doubt, winning freerolls makes very good economic sense.) Away from the classroom and the felt, Buxman says his hobbies include golf, basketball, baseball, reading and video games. He learned poker from his father, aged 15. Apart from his poker skills, opponents should beware of one other thing when they lock horns with Buxmen at the table: he has an identical twin, so don’t be surprised if you end up seeing double.
Rich Milburn began playing poker pretty much as soon as he was able, spending the night of his 18th birthday in the poker room of Turning Stone Casino. Prior to that, he had watched his dad play poker and picked up the basics, before taking the plunge himself.
Since then, Milburn, who is now 31, has gradually increased his skills and has picked up a number of notable scores. These include a victory in a PokerStars PA Bounty Builder Series, where he earned a Bounty Builder Belt.
A financial analyst by day, the man from Elkins Park, PA, enjoys golf and fantasy football when he is not playing poker, but is looking forward to taking a step up to play the best in the world in the Bahamas.
Irishman Ryan Flynn is based out of Secaucus, NJ, and so represents two traditional poker heartlands. A love for poker has run through Ireland for almost as long as it has in the United States.
Flynn, 24, is both an electrician and a college student, as well as a poker player, and is an eager viewer of sports and poker TV too. He first came across poker while flicking through YouTube and Twitch, and quickly became fascinated by the game. He started playing cash games in casinos as soon as he turned 21 and then discovered online poker, and is regularly playing both still.
Flynn says that winning the Platinum Pass in an online freeroll felt better than all his previous tournament wins as the level of competition was incredibly high, and he had to battle all the way to the end. He now has the chance to now play the best in the world — including, probably, his hero Phil Ivey — and says he says he cannot wait for the opportunity.
“I am beyond excited,” he says. “My family and friends are so excited for me as well! I cannot wait for this experience.”
And even if things don’t go precisely according to plan, it’s just another step in Flynn’s overall development. When asked about his proudest achievement, he says: “I would say I am most proud of developing myself into the person I am today overall. About a year ago I decided to focus on changing my life for the better by doing my best to learn from any mistake I’ve made, and also by working on being more productive with my time! Things have been great so far and I’m loving the journey.”
STRATEGY FOR SATELLITES
To help you win your way into the PSPC, check out these strategy articles on PokerStars Learn:Back to Top