Platinum Pass Winner Ramon Colillas Wins the $5.1m First Prize in the $25,000 PokerStars Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship

When PokerStars decided to give 320 players a place in the Bahamian sun where, for five days, they could elevate their status to the Gods of poker, there was hope that one of them would win it so they could send him or her onto Ellen to talk all about it. Well, one of them did win it, but unless there is a Spanish version of Ellen PokerStars are all out of luck.

Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars
Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars

The Platinum Pass is no longer a $30,000 seat in a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it’s a brand, and sometime in 2018, a Spanish professional poker player with only four live tournament scores to his name, and nothing above a $5,000 payout, won one when he topped the Leaderboard in the PokerStars Campeonato España de Poker (CEP).
Ever since winning the pass, Ramon Colillas, has been staring into the starry sky, hoping and praying that he would find the heat necessary to cremate 1,038 other souls, and bank the $5.1m in prize money, and that’s what happened after five days of action that’s rocked the very foundation of the poker industry.
Colillas came into the final table fifth in chips, and with the two biggest stacks to his direct left – not the ideal preparation for the day of his life. However, he dug in, found the right combination of luck and skill when he needed it, and emerged as the winner.

Final Table Seat Draw

1. Jason Koonce – 7,125,000
2. Julien Martini – 8,600,000
3. Farid Jattin – 8,525,000
4. Talal Shakerchi – 5,500,000
5. Marc Perrault – 2,275,000
6. Ramon Colillas – 8,300,000
7. Scott Baumstein – 10,725,000
8. Marc Rivera – 10,350,000

Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars
Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars

Colillas was one of two Platinum Pass winners who made the final table (Marc Rivera won his by way of the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) National Event in Manila), and it was an inexperienced lineup when you consider the number of Titans that entered.
The only player who consistently performs at these stakes was the first player to hit the rail, and boy did he hit it hard. Talal Shakerchi was the Day 1 chip leader, continuing a run of form that recently saw him make the final table of the Sunday Million (6th), and the Super High Roller Bowl V (4th).
Shakerchi was one of the favourites, and his odds shortened dramatically when he picked up pocket aces and a shoving stack at a time with Julien Martini had three-bet a conservative open from Marc Rivera holding AQss.
The CEO of Meditor Capital moved all-in, Martini made the surprising call and must have felt sick to his stomach when the deck produced a Ks3c2h rainbow flow. Only running turn and river cards would rescue the Frenchman from chip dust, and that’s what happened as consecutive spades flew out of the deck to dig a hole that Shakerchi was not ready to climb into.
The exit happened in the first orbit, and it quickly cemented Martini as the dominant force in the competition. The Frenchman came into the Bahamas on the back of a breakout 2018 that saw him make two World Series of Poker (WSOP) final tables, winning a bracelet, and then finishing runner-up in the European Poker Tour (EPT) National in Barcelona.
This Martini would not be shaken or stirred, and it didn’t take long for him to increase his advantage when his AK beat the crap out of Farid Jattin’s AJs to send the Colombian All-Time Money Earner back home.
Then Ramon Colillas emerged from the cave and began sending people to rail heaven. The Spaniard’s first victim was the highly capable Canadian Marc Perrault who got short enough to ship it holding 63o. Colillas found pocket kings, shoulder barged Martini out of a side pot, and feasted on the bones of Perrault alone.
Colillas didn’t stop there. Jason Koonce moved all-in holding T7dd, and Colillas called with pocket fives. The pair held, and Koonce returned to his room (not Jason Koon’s room), $1.6m the richer. Not bad for someone who has only ever cashed twice in live tournaments before, earning nothing over $5k.
One of the early favourites was Scott Baumstein. The former WPTDeepStacks Main Event winner had held the chip lead for the past few days, but couldn’t find any momentum when it mattered the most. Baumstein shipped it with A9o over a Martini open. The Frenchman called with KQo and flopped a king to eliminate Baumstein, and take an enormous chip lead three-handed against Rivera and Colillas.
Colillas managed to chip up during the three-handed play, and it was a good job that happened otherwise we could have had a massacre on our hands. Martini’s AK made Rivera’s A3 look kind of puny, and five community cards later we were heads up with Martini holding a 42m v 19.45m chip lead, and with all of the experience.
A cooler would change the direction of the wind in this thing.
Martini flopped a flush holding 96hh on AhQh4h, but Colillas would hit the perfect runner-runner combo Qd and 5d to find a boat holding Q5. Martini moved all-in on the river after firing three hefty bullets, and Colillas mopped them up.
After the chip lead exchanged hands, Colillas never surrendered it. After pounding away at the Frenchman, Martini made his stand with J9cc, Colillas called with a raggedy ace, and it held to send him and his friends and family through the pinhole of possibility that most of us believe only happens to other people.
Here are the final table results:
Final Table Results
1. Ramon Colillas – $5,100,000
2. Julien Martini – $2,974,000
3. Marc Rivera – $2,168,000
4. Scott Baumstein – $1,657,000
5. Jason Koonce – $1,304,000
6. Marc Perrault – $1,012,000
7. Farid Jattin – $746,000
8. Talal Shakerchi – $509,000

Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars
Image credits to Neil Stoddart / PokerStars

Titans who ran deep but not deep enough included the Global Poker Index (GPI) Female Player of the Year, Kristen Bicknell (11th), the former Irish Open winner, Griffin Benger (14th), and the two-time World Poker Tour (WPT) Champion, Marvin Rettenmaier (27th).