In a storybook ending to the historic PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas defeated WSOP bracelet winner Julien Martini to become the first-ever PSPC champion, earning $5.1 million.
“A lot of players were saying that this was the most important tournament in history,” Colillas said in the afterglow of the victory. “So now, it’s only about happiness and enjoying the moment.”
But before the Spaniard was able to celebrate, Colillas, as a Platinum Pass winner, needed to navigate a difficult final table full of seasoned pros.
The final table of the largest $25,000 tournament of all time took only five-and-a-half hours to play to a winner. However, it took roughly an hour and a half before the first player hit the rail.
Talal Shakerchi and France’s Julien Martini were the first to clash in a battle of big hands. The action started as Marc Rivera opened, only to be three-bet by Martini who was holding the . Farid Jattin, holding a pocket pair in the small blind, found a fold, however Shakerchi woke up with the in the big blind. Shakerchi moved all in and was called by Martini. The flop came , giving little life to Martini. However, the on the turn opened a number of backdoor outs for the Frenchman. The river provided Martini the flush as the completed the board. Shakerchi’s run ended in eighth place for $509,000.
Marc Perrault was sitting on roughly two big blinds, which made the next elimination so surprising. In the hijack seat, Martini opened holding the . Jattin looked down at the and went deep into the tank. Finally, he decided to shove over Martini, allowing Perrault to get out of the way in the small blind. Start-of-day chip leader Scott Baumstein folded the and Martini snap-called. Jattin, all in and at risk, was dominated, but the flop provided some life. It came , giving Jattin a wealth of additional outs. The arrived on the turn and the on the river closed the door on Jattin’s tournament. Jattin earned a career-high cash of $746,000 for his seventh-place run, propelling him to more than $3.5 million in total live earnings.
After the hand, Martini pulled away from the field to hold nearly three times as many chips as anyone left.
With six players left and running on fumes, it was finally time for Perrault to make his stand. After laddering two spots, he found himself all in and at risk holding the against Colillas’ . The board ran out clean for Colillas. Perrault, who started the day as the shortest stack, ended his day as a millionaire. The Canadian turned his $25,000 entry into $1,012,000 for his sixth-place finish.
Jason Koonce had been picking his spots, but after being forced to fold in a hand right before the first break of the day he found himself on a short stack. On one of the first hands after the break, he made his move by shipping his stack on the button holding the . Colillas called him from the big blind holding . Koonce needed to catch, but when the board ran out , it provided him with no help. The Colorado sports memorabilia aficionado’s dream run ended in fifth place with a $1,304,000 “consolation prize.” His previous career live earnings were just over $6,000.
Shortly thereafter, Martini continued to gain momentum after a clash with Baumstein. Martini opened under the gun with the and when it folded back to Baumstein, he shipped his short stack in the middle with the . Martini made the call and Baumstein was at risk. The flop of favored Martini and left Baumstein looking for an ace or backdoor hearts. The turn was the and the river fell the . Baumstein, the longtime New York pro, was rewarded with a career-best $1,657,000 score for his fourth-place finish.
With three players left, Martini held a comfortable chip lead over both Colillas and Rivera, the remaining Platinum Pass winners. The three played roughly six orbits before Rivera made his final stand.
Martini, with his large chip lead, opened the button with the and Rivera pushed in his 16-big blind stack with the . Martini snap-called and Rivera needed some serious help. The flop had none for him as it came . The on the turn left Rivera searching or a three. The river was the last of Rivera’s tournament, it came the , and sent the Platinum Pass winner to the rail in third place with a massive $2,168,000 score.
Headed into heads-up play Martini held a roughly 2:1 chip lead over Colillas.
After Colillas began to close in Martini the pair played what would be the pivotal hand of the heads-up match. Martini opened holding the and Colillas called with the . The flop was perfect for Martini, for the flopped flush. Colillas with flopped middle pair called Martini’s bet. The turn was the improving Colillas to trips. Martini placed a large bet, Colillas called. The river turned out to be one of the most pivotal cards of the tournament – the giving Colillas a backdoor full house to Martini’s flopped flush. Colillas checked, Martini shoved, Colillas snapped and secured a massive double up reducing Martini’s stack to roughly 20 big blinds.
In the end, after his stack had trended downwards, Martini made a stand on the button with the and Colillas made the call with . The flop came giving both a pair but putting Colillas in position to secure a historic victory. The turn was the . Colillas and Martini then saw the championship card of the fall. Colillas was the champion and Martini’s PSPC dream run ended in second place for $2,974,000.
Ramon Colillas made his way to his rail and was quickly engulfed by supporters. The Platinum Pass winner, with $10,000 in recorded live cashes according to his Hendon Mob page, became the inaugural PSPC champion, earning the life-changing sum of $5.1 million for the victory.
PSPC Final Table Payouts
- Ramon Colillas – $5,100,000
- Julien Martini – $2,974,000
- Marc Rivera – $2,168,000
- Scott Baumstein – $1,657,000
- Jason Koonce – $1,304,000
- Marc Perrault – $1,012,000
- Farid Jattin – $746,000
- Talal Shakerchi – $509,000