Flagship Poker brand PokerStars, part of the Stars Group, recently made 6 players millionaires in their PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Challenge. The overall winner, Ramon Colillas, a 30-year-old from Barcelona, Spain, walked away with a whopping $5.1 million in prize money.
As part of the event’s global promotions, PokerStars awarded 320 players Platinum Pass Packages which were worth $30,000. This included free entry, hotel accommodation at the Bahamian Atlantic Resort 7 Casino where the Challenge was held, and travel costs.
Colillas, who commented that he was still “just trying to enjoy the moment”, was one of the Platinum Pass recipients, which means his win is all the more spectacular, as he played for free. PokerStars gave the former fitness instructor the ticket after he played successfully is a series of brand-sponsored tournaments in Spain, and made it to the top of the Campeonato de España de Poker leader board.
In total, 43 Pass holders walked away with combined winnings of $9.8 million. The list includes Bulgaria’s Atanas Pavlov, Ireland’s Sven McDermott and Jacqueline Burkart from the US, who took $105,000, $69,100 and $86,400 respectively.
Poker Marketing Director for PokerStars, Eric Hollreiser, said that his company was glad to have created such a special experience for so many players. Colillas would have been unable to compete and win without his Pass, and Hollreiser added that his victory is a great reminder that playing Poker can be life-changing.
Frenchman Julien Martini came second and took home $,974,000. The Parisian, aged 26, is a professional Poker player, and was very composed throughout the competition. Marc Riviera, who is 45 and hails from the Philippines, took third place and $2,168,000.
The rest of the 8-handed final table was made up of US Poker Pro Scott Baumstein; the always-impressive Jason Koonce; online heavyweight Marc Perrault; live circuit regular Farid Jattin and UK businessman Talal Sakerchi whose winnings to date top $6 million.
Martini attempted to win a Platinum Pass in the European Poker Tour’s Barcelona National Event but narrowly missed out, while Rivera was able to secure a Pass tanks to his performance at the Asia Pacific Manila National Main Event. Jattin has won a total $2.9 million so far, making him the most financially successful Colombian player.
This No-Limit Hold’em Challenge was not only the biggest $25-000 buy-in tournament in history, it was also the richest. The field was made up of 1,039 players and the total prize pool stood at $26,455,00, $1 million of which was added by PokerStars. The total pool was distributed among 181 players, and smashed the previous record of $15,495,750 for a $25,000 buy-in event.
PokerStars may have concluded the No-Limit Hold’em Challenge, but the brand is already looking to what is coming next. The Caribbean Adventure continues with the Main Event that carries a $10,300 buy-in, along with a $1,100 National, a $25,000 High Roller and a $100,000 Super-High Roller contests. Live updates help to keep fans around the world informed, and to feel like part of the exciting action.