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Ramon Colillas Turns PokerStars Freeroll into $5.1 Million at 2019 PSPC

Ramon Colillas
Neil Stoddart

Thirty-year-old fitness instructor Ramon Colillas is living the poker dream after turning a PokerStars freeroll into a bank-bursting $5,100,000 at the inaugural PSPC tournament in the Bahamas.

The $25,000 buy-in PSPC (officially the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship) was designed to be a tournament for both pros and recreational players.

PokerStars juiced the field by giving away 320 seats to mostly recreational players but no one really expected that one of those rec players would take down the whole shebang. Colillas turned that preconception on its head by outlasting the entire record-setting 1,039-player field to take the ultimate prize.

It’s the biggest single prize ever awarded in a $25,000 buy-in tournament. Here’s a complete look at the stunning payouts at the PSPC final table:

1Ramon ColillasSpain$5,100,000
2Julien MartiniFrance$2,974,000
3Marc RiveraPhilippines$2,168,000
4Scott BaumsteinUnited States$1,657,000
5Jason KoonceUnited States$1,304,000
6Marc PerraultCanada$1,012,000
7Farid JattinColombia$746,000
8Talal ShakerchiUnited Kingdom$509,000

Colillas Rides Full House Over Flush to Victory

There’s a good chance that Ramon Colillas would not be the last man standing in the inaugural PSPC if it wasn’t for one momentous hand that occurred during heads-up play.

Prior to the hand, French poker pro Julien Martini had been steamrolling the final table, eliminating numerous players while holding the chip lead. Martini entered heads-up play with a significant chip lead over Colillas.

In the hand, Martini flopped a flush with a paltry 9-6 of hearts only to have Colillas backdoor a full house with Q-5. The money went all-in on the river and suddenly Martini was the short stack for the first time at the final table.

In the final hand, Colillas’ A-5 triumphed over Martini’s J-9 suited. With the final hand dealt, Chris Moneymaker arrived to award Colillas the enormous PSPC trophy and $5.1 million.

Six Players Earn $1 Million-Plus at PSPC Final Table

With over 1,000 players and a prize pool that topped $26 million, the 2019 PSPC will go down in history as one of the biggest tournaments ever held.

For most tournaments, awarding $1 million to first place is an incredible achievement. The PSPC awarded $1 million-plus to six different players at the final table. It also helped that PokerStars chipped in an extra million for the eventual winner, bumping $4.1 million to $5.1 million.

While the PSPC attracted numerous poker pros looking to cash in on the value of a record-setting prize pool, with a huge influx of recreational players there were actually two Platinum Pass winners who made it to the final table.

The aforementioned Colillas won his package by finishing first atop a leaderboard of small $500 buy-in tournaments in his native Spain. Prior to winning $5.1 million, Colillas had a total of $10,000 in lifetime tournament earnings.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Marc Rivera won his Platinum Pass by winning PokerStars APPT Korea last spring. Rivera finished third to take home $2.1 million, which is impressive considering his previous lifetime earnings were $318,000.

Aces Cracked in Early Stages of Final Table

Multimillionaire businessman Talal Shakerchi is highly regarded in the poker world and was likely one of the consensus best players at the PSPC final table. Sometimes skill doesn’t always control the outcome at the poker table, however, and Shakerchi got knocked out of the tournament by a vicious bad beat.

In the hand Julien Martini 3-bet to 1.3 million with ace-queen of spades from the button and Shakerchi woke up with pocket aces in the big blind. Shakerchi, who entered the final table as one of the middle stakes, made the easy decision to move all-in and eventually Martini decided to make the call.

It appeared that Shakerchi was headed for a double-up but the poker gods had other ideas as the board ended up with three spades by the river, giving Martini the flush and eliminating Shakerchi.

The hedge fund manager picked up $509,000 for finishing in eighth but he’s likely not all that concerned considering his net worth has been estimated at over $100 million.

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure actually continues all week with a number of huge events, including the $10,000 buy-in Main Event that’s always a huge tournament.

There’s no word on whether the PSPC will return next year but there’s a good chance PokerStars gives the event a year off. In the meantime you can actually watch the entire 2019 PSPC final table below: