Friday, 19th April 2024 22:44
Home / PSPC / PSPC 2023: Emil Holmsten’s Platinum Pass grind is paying off with big Day 3 stack

Platinum Pass winner Emil Holmsten has a big stack on Day 3 of the PSPC. Not bad for someone who hasn’t played hold’em in over a year…


Many of the Platinum Pass winners we’ve spoken to, both in the years leading up to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) and here in the Bahamas, are recreationals: amateur poker players with varying degrees of experience, each hoping to enjoy the run of a lifetime.

But not all of them. Some, like Sweden’s Emil Holmsten, are long-time professionals who have made a living from poker for more than a decade. Holmsten was 18 when he turned pro having discovered the game through his father, who would regularly play on PokerStars.

Now he’s 34 and boasts one of the biggest stacks in the tournament, let alone of all remaining Platinum Pass winners entering Day 3.

So, what makes Holmsten worth reading about? Isn’t he just another pro in a PSP-sea of pros?

Well, what makes Holmsten interesting is that he’s a cash game player by trade.

He very rarely plays live poker, let alone live tournaments.

And prior to Day 1 of the PSPC, he hadn’t played a single hand of no limit hold’em in over a year.


“It’s been a cool and different experience, but it’s weird playing hold’em again!” Emil Holmsten says of his time at the PSPC, after bagging up 399,000 chips. That’s good for the 32nd biggest stack out of the 255 PSPC players remaining. 

The Stockholm resident has been a professional cash game player for 16 years, with only a short work interlude breaking up the grind. Known as “HouseeLover” on PokerStars, he played hold’em exclusively for the majority of his career but a few years ago made the switch to pot limit omaha, “to try something new”.

He won his Platinum Pass through the Platinum Grind promotion which ran in Spain and France (an incredibly popular route, hence why so many Pass winners hail from those two nations).

“I was living in Spain at the time and I had to play a lot of tables to win the Platinum Pass,” he tells us. “I played everything from $1/$2 up to $5/$10.”

He brought his brother with him to the Bahamas. “He was supposed to be here helping me but he’s been on Tinder dates two nights in a row,” he says with a grin.

Emil Holmsten

Emil Holmsten


Holmsten will be the first to tell you, he’s not a tournament player. “I’ve played a few though, and I’ve done well on the few Sundays I’ve played,” he says, and his story checks out. He has $424K in online cashes, according to Poker Stake, and $62K in live winnings.

While many Pass winners would have had little to no experience playing 300 big blinds deep, Holmsten felt right at home. “I’m used to that and play deep stacked a lot,” he says. “So I felt very comfortable in my game.”


But he was definitely uncomfortable with everything else that comes with live poker. The chips. Posting the blinds. Having everyone stare at you. ”I was like: take me home! Get me back to my computer!” he says, laughing.

“I had some big names on my Day 1 table and it was a little intimidating but I just tried to play my game, look down and stare at the same spot,” he says. “You know, build a routine for when I’m playing pots. Hopefully, they haven’t got too much information out of me!”

Holmsten says he’s not very familiar with the live tournament scene, but in this case, ignorance is bliss. “I think I’d rather not know who my opponents are,” he says. “If I searched for someone and they had $10 million in cashes, it can only add more intimidation. I’ll just play my game and take it from there.”


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