The festive season is always filled with heartwarming stories spread across different communities – and the poker community has just been graced with one of its own.
PokerStars has been giving away its $30,000 Platinum Pass packages to its $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas throughout 2018. So far more than 300 Platinum passes have been handed out to players from all over the world.
On Christmas day, a joining of three stories impacted the poker community and made it possible for three players to become some of the final recipients of the PSPC Platinum Passes. Here’s how the story developed.
Where It All Began
A Tennessee woman decided to surprise her husband with a Christmas present that gave him a trip to the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. Jeremy Hilsercop was very emotional when he opened the gift from his wife Randi and the entire episode was caught on video and then uploaded. Hilsercop was really moved with the present as he has always wanted to experience what it feels like to be at the WSOP, a dream he has held on to since he was a kid.
His touching video went viral and gained lots of positive feedback. Most importantly, it paved the way for acts of kindness and generosity among the poker community – which included a free coaching offer and food credit from All-American Dave worth $100. Jeremy had no idea that something bigger was in store for him later in the day.
12 Labors of Archie
Poker streamer Arlie Shaban took the 12 Labors of Arlie challenge initiated by PokerStars back in September. The challenge mimicked the Greek 12 Labors of Hercules, and Shaban had to overcome 12 Herculean hurdles for a massive reward – a PSPC Platinum Pass, which was not revealed to him until his third labor.
It was not an easy feat for Shaban as he had to undergo trials testing his physical abilities and poker skills. He asked for help from some well-known PokerStars reps, including Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Jason Sommervile and Joe Stapleton along the way.
Shaban successfully completed the 11 labors which left him with just one challenge go through before he could finally get his hands on the $30,000 Platinum Pass.
For Shaban’s last labor, PokerStars threw the most challenging one — convincing a PokerStars critic to accept a Platinum Pass to the Bahamas, and that individual was none other than Joey Ingram.
Presenting the challenge on its blog, PokerStars recognized Ingram’s passion for poker and the effort he puts into sharing his views and providing a public platform for the poker community.
A Difficult Decision
Joey Ingram who has had a lot of misgivings towards the online poker giant was faced with a difficult decision. He asked for advice via Twitter but his followers had divided opinions on whether he should show up at the 2019 PSPC or not.
The podcaster eventually accepted the offer in a way that would allow him to let go of some previous conflicts and spread kindness as a result. Ingram was one of the many poker fans who were moved by Jeremy Hilsercop’s video and so he made a counter-offer to PokerStars that would make a huge difference to Jeremy’s life.
A Christmas to Remember
Ingram would accept the $30K Platinum Pass offered to him by the online poker giant only if Jeremy would also be awarded one. Shaban would also get one for himself as Ingram would attend the PSPC.
It did not take long for PokerStars to get back with a positive response. It made Christmas 2018 a Christmas to remember for Arlie and Jeremy by giving both of them Platinum Passes. When the news broke on Twitter, everyone was delighted, with the Hilsercop couple still in disbelief. The once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel to the Bahamas for a huge tournament like the 2019 PSPC really means a lot to Jeremy and his wife.
Their passports had to be rushed and Chris Moneymaker stepped up and decided to pay for the costs. Last-minute arrangements were also made to the Bahamas trip with Kevin “KevMath” Mathers and “First Lady of Poker” Linda Johnson also among the final Platinum Pass recipients.

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