Ramon Colillas has been the one and only champion of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) for three years, nine months, and fifteen days. No other player has come close to taking his crown, simply because the opportunity hasn’t been there. Nor has Colillas had a chance to defend his title.
But that will all change in January 2023 when the focus of the entire poker world will sail through the Caribbean and dock in the Bahamas, as the highly anticipated $25,000 buy-in PSPC finally returns.
Replicating that success
Hundreds of Platinum Pass winners, poker pros, and anyone else with the funds to buy in will be hoping to replicate Colillas’ success from 2019 when he defeated a field of 1,039 players to win $5.1 million.
“The PSPC, for me, is the best tournament to play in,” Colillas tells us at EPT London, where (at the time of writing) he’s still in with a chance of winning the £5,300 Main Event. “I want to remember the sensations that I had four years ago. It’s the best tournament in the world. I can’t wait to play it again.”
“The PSPC, for me, is the best tournament… I want to remember the sensations that I had four years ago. It’s the best tournament in the world. I can’t wait to play it again.”
It should come as no surprise that Colillas considers the PSPC to be poker’s primo event. By winning the tournament, he not only became a millionaire, but he also became a hero in his native Spain, not to mention a PokerStars Team Pro shortly after the victory.
But what might surprise you is that he’s happy the second edition of the PSPC is no longer taking place in Barcelona, where it was originally scheduled to take place back in 2020.
“It’s very special to return to the Bahamas,” he says as he waits for Day 3 of the EPT London Main Event to begin. “Barcelona is like my house. I’ve played at Casino Barcelona since I was very young and I think it’s my favourite casino in the world. But for the feeling of the PSPC, I prefer the Bahamas. It’s a more special destination for me and I think it’s perfect for this tournament.”
Grinding his way to the Bahamas
The original PSPC was a very special event, and it deserved a special winner. That’s what we got in Colillas, a former personal trainer turned poker pro who had just $10,000 in live cashes prior to the event.
He won his Platinum Pass by grinding a small Spanish tournament leader board, picking up points for his performances in €500 buy-in tournaments across the country.
But while some players hit a big score and disappear, Colillas has continued to crush, both online and live. At the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 2021, won by Koray Aldemir, Colillas enjoyed a tantalisingly deep run, ultimately falling in 14th for $380,050.
“It was an amazing experience to have a deep run in the WSOP Main,” he says. “It was different. None of us had heard of the PSPC before 2018, as it was the first one, but it’s every poker player’s dream to play the WSOP Main. I was so close to the final table. But the sensation of the WSOP is amazing.”
He also came close to capturing his first EPT Main Event win in Monte Carlo earlier this year, finishing seventh for €125,420.
“That’s a final table I think about a lot,” he says. “But I’m so happy for my record and I’ll keep fighting the same way, doing my best.”
Attention now is on London
Who knows? Perhaps this event in London will be the one.
“I dream a lot about it,” he says. “For me to win an EPT trophy, as a PokerStars Team Pro, would be a dream. I have loved being an ambassador for PokerStars so I’d love to win one of their biggest trophies.”
While he hasn’t added another live poker trophy to his cabinet, Colillas has managed to secure some online poker silverware. In May 2022 he took down his maiden Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title, besting a field of 318 entries in a $1,050 NLHE Deep Stack to bank $59,824.
“The sensation between online and live is so different,” he tells us. “I remember when I won the SCOOP title I was at my house, and there was no one around. I was obviously happy but I didn’t share it with anyone. I was alone. That’s why it’s so special to win a live event. I’ve won a lot of tournaments in Spain and I don’t think I can describe the feeling when your friends and family are there cheering for you.”
Living the dream
It’s a feeling every Platinum Pass winner and poker player is dreaming of right now, including Colillas.
“To be the only champion of the PSPC has been very special,” he says. “I’ll play my best game to win it again, but I know that will be difficult.”
Colillas is ready to share his experience with a new winner. Here’s his advice to any Platinum Pass winners reading this.
“The Platinum Pass is a present,” he says. “How you do in the tournament is not the most important thing.
You have to enjoy the entire experience, from when you land in the Bahamas with your guest, to when you arrive at the hotel, to when you enter the tournament room, and when you see the cameras. Enjoy every moment of the tournament. You must enjoy it.”
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