PSPC Makes History, Will Make Six Millionaires

PSPC Makes History, Will Make Six Millionaires

There was little doubt that the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship was going to be a large tournament. Not only was the live tournament in the Bahamas to be rake-free, PokerStars planned to add approximately $9 million to the prize pool for the January event. A new record for the largest $25K tournament was almost inevitable.

When registration closed and the numbers were tallied, they were even more impressive than most had anticipated. More than 1,000 players were in the PSPC field, and the prize pool exceeded $26 million.

The tournament was also regenerating interest in poker in an exciting way. A total of 320 of the players in the event won their way to the tables via Platinum Passes that had been awarded in various ways for more than a year. Many of those players were not pros and had never played such a large tournament, all of which combined to create heartwarming and inspirational stories that reminded some poker veterans why they fell in love with the game in the first place.

From the statistics to the stories, the PSPC is underway in the Bahamas and making poker history.

Largest $25K in History

Registration for the PSPC remained open until the start of Day 2 on January 7, so the final numbers weren’t known until that afternoon.

Day 1 began on January 6 with Platinum Pass winners taking their seats, but hundreds of poker players also bought in for $25,000. By the end of the first day, there were 1,014 players in the game. But through the night and up until the start of play the following day, another 25 players bought in. And then PokerStars kept its promise to add another $1 million to the first-place payout amount. That brought the final numbers to:

Players:  1,039

Countries represented:  63

Total prize pool:  $26,455,500

Paid places:  181

Winner payout:  $5.1 million

Since the tournament was advertised as rake-free, PokerStars put the $750 from each buy-in back into the prize pool, which allowed more players to be paid in the end. The typical PokerStars structure for this tournament would’ve only paid 151 players, but the additional funds allowed everyone finishing from 151st place to 181st place to min-cash for $25,450.

Needless to say, PokerStars took a well-deserved victory lap. Directory of Poker Marketing Eric Hollreiser noted, “Passion and interest in poker is alive and well in 2019, and this tournament highlights the global excitement for the game. Tens of thousands of players participated in a year of unique promotions leading up to the event and that enthusiasm delivered one of the most exciting events in poker history.”

Shakerchi Shook Day 1

Of the 1,014 players who competed on Day 1, play ended with only 756 of them still holding chips. Those chips were bagged for the night, and the one with the heaviest of them al was high-stakes pro Talal Shakerchi of the UK with 425,300 chips, followed by Dan O’Brien of the US in a somewhat distant second place with 301,200. Andrei Kurov, Shvam Srinivasan, and Salvatore Donato rounded out the top five.

Team PokerStars Pros like Liv Boeree, Maria Konnikova, and Igor Kurganov exited throughout that day, as did fan favorites and Platinum Pass winners Arlie Shaban and Jeremy Hilsercop. NBA star Paul Pierce busted, too, following golfer Sergio Garcia and skateboard champion Tony Hawk. Daniel Negreanu and was among the eliminated as well.

Jattin Jammed Day 2

The vast majority of the field departed on the second day of play. It was a brutal slew of exits for the majority of players, including Linda Johnson, Chris Moneymaker, Jennifer Shahade, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Kevin Mathers.

Of the 207 players who survived the second day, Farid Jattin of Colombia bagged the largest stack of chips with 921,000 of them. But close behind was Mustapha Kanit of Italy with 888,000 chips, and Griffin Benger of Canada was next with 885,000. Julien Martini and Athanasios Polychronopoulos completed the top-five list. Other notables near the top included Martins Adeniya, Kristen Bicknell, and Day 1 chipleader Shakerchi.

Surviving and Thriving

On Day 3, players will start out with the goal of making the money, and all but 26 of them will do that. The top 181 players will end their day with at least $25K in their pockets.

The larger goal, however, looms large. By making the final table of six players, one will guarantee to walk away a millionaire. But with the top prize of $5.1 million awaiting the winner, along with the title of the inaugural PSPC champion, every player will be eyeing that winner’s circle.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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