Pokerstars players championship makes history

8 January 2019

PokerStars, the flagship poker brand of The Stars Group, has broken live poker records as 1,039 players entered to compete in the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC), generating the largest-ever prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament. The PSPC will award more than $26,455,500 to 181 players, including $5.1m for the winner, who will be crowned when the tournament concludes later this week. The final table alone will produce a total of six millionaires.

“Passion and interest in poker is alive and well in 2019, and this tournament highlights the global excitement for the game,” said Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars director of poker marketing. “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.”

Players descended upon the Atlantis Resort & Casino on January 6 and 7 and were registering up to the very last minute to participate in the historic event. The massive field is comprised of diverse players from all over the world and a spectrum of experience from some of the game’s best professionals to novices who won entry through one of the dozens of low buy-in and free-to-play competitions and giveaways PokerStars held in 2018. Over the past 13 months, PokerStars awarded 320 Platinum Pass packages, each worth $30,000, covering the player’s buy-in, travel and accommodation.

“This tournament has been in the works for over a year and it’s been super exciting to follow the journey of the many Platinum Pass winners,” said Daniel Negreanu, PokerStars ambassador. “I had a chance to meet many of them, and their excitement for this event is truly what poker is all about. The turnout was simply unbelievable! Over 1,000 players in a $25k buy-in. PokerStars did a fantastic job making this event happen, and the players themselves had input into everything from the blind structures to the payouts. It’s truly been the No-Limit Holdem Players Championship.”

The tournament broke records without counting the 320 Platinum Pass winners, smashing the previous attendance record for a $25,000 buy-in event, which was 639 entries, and the previous highest prize pool of $15,495,000.

The PSPC has brought together a mix of players who would not normally be found seated alongside each other in an event of this level of buy-in. Highly regarded players from online and live poker communities around the world took their seats alongside some of the finest and most familiar names in the game such as Patrick Antonius, Phil Hellmuth and Erik Seidel, not to mention PokerStars Ambassadors Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Somerville, Randy Lew, Jennifer Shahade and Lex Veldhuis, as well as Twitch streamers, poker vloggers, and an abundance of recreational, and even new, players.

Adding some extra sparkle to the first event of its kind are some faces (and voices) well known outside of the poker tables such as the voice of the UFC Octagon Bruce Buffer, who kicked off the tournament by announcing ‘Shuffle Up and Deal’, former NBA star and ESPN analyst Paul Pierce, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, and comedian, actor and writer Norm Macdonald. Golf pro Sergio Garcia also joined the event, although was among the casualties in day 1.

Many colourful, and often emotional, stories have arisen along the way, including those of Jacki Burkhart, Oliver Biles, and Nikhil Segel who all won their ticket to the Bahamas via the Platinum Pass Adventure. Shaun Lennon from Ireland and Dominique Lamy from France were also nominated to represent their country by their fellow countrymen.

Entry to the tournament is now closed. To keep up to date with all live reports from the PSPC visit the PokerStars Blog or watch the live stream daily from 12:30 ET at PokerStars.TV.