The Platinum Pass Experience will see eight PokerStars players heading to the Moneymaker Tour stop at Asper’s Casino in London on November 9th. There, they’ll play an exclusive single-table tournament, with the winner getting a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) 2020, worth €26,466 (approx. $30,000).
Sounds good, right? Well, you’re in luck. There are still two spots left, and they’re up for grabs to UK and Ireland players this coming weekend.
A £5.50 qualifier will run at 8:05pm UK time on both Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 October (simply search for ‘Experience’ in your PokerStars client). You won’t want to miss them, as they could provide you with a potentially life-changing opportunity.
Just ask Joss Murdoch, who already secured his place in the final by winning the fourth online qualifier. “It was a proper pinch yourself moment!”
The 29-year-old Scot, who lives with his wife Anna in Edinburgh where he works as a Team Leader in a local call centre, is now in with a shot of winning his way to the PSPC, and potentially millions.
We sat down for a chat in which we talked about the excitement of heading to London, live poker nerves, how he’s planning to prepare, and why you should never bluff old folks.
Check it out.
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PokerStars Blog: Hey Joss, congratulations on winning a seat in the Platinum Pass Experience final. How did you first hear about the promotion?
Joss Murdoch: Thanks! I had an email and it said ‘Here’s a chance to win a Platinum Pass’. I was aware that the Moneymaker Tour was happening, so I’ve been keeping an eye on that. The Platinum Pass Experience just seemed like a really good deal. For a £5 buy-in they were only getting maybe 100-150 runners, so it seemed like a pretty good spot.
You won your heat on a Sunday night. Do you often put in a Sunday session?
Yeah, I try to play Sunday nights where I can. I work as a Team Leader at a call centre, and I have one late shift a week where I work 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., so I try to play on those nights where if I run deep in something and play late, I have time to sleep the next day. I’ll often try to play some bigger stuff on a Sunday, which for me means $11 tournaments with huge guarantees, like the Sunday Storm and the Big $11.
Obviously you ended up winning it, but what do you remember about how your heat went for you overall?
It’s a bit of a blur. What I remember is that the guy I beat heads-up absolutely obliterated the final table. I think I was third or fourth in chips throughout the final few tables, then I got to the final table maybe fifth or sixth. I don’t think people were really adjusting to the fact it was winner-take-all, it seemed people tightened up.
I didn’t think I was going to win it. I’d actually come seventh in one the weekend before, and I thought that was my chance gone. I decided to fire another one in, and ended up heads-up at a 4:1 chip disadvantage. I remember feeling like I couldn’t do anything wrong. I ran really well, and every time I bluffed he folded, and every time I had it he called. It only took around ten minutes.
How did you celebrate the win?
My wife Anna wasn’t feeling well so she went to bed early. Before she went she asked how it was going, and I told her we were down to ten players. It was only around 40 minutes later I could tell her, we’re going to London.
Is your wife interested in poker too?
She has played a little bit of poker, yeah. We’ve been together for around ten years since we were 20. I used to play a little bit back then, but recently I’ve got more and more into the strategy. A while ago PokerStars ran the biggest ever tournament with a $1 buy-in, and there was a ridiculous guarantee. Anna played that and went much deeper than me! She should probably play more than I do.
What are you most looking forward to about heading to London?
At first, I thought it would be quite anti-climactic if I went down to London and didn’t win the Platinum Pass or any prize money, but then I saw the £16,000 prize structure.
Here’s a look at what the finalists will be playing for in London:
1st – PSPC Package + £1,000
2nd – £5,000
3rd – £3,000
4th – £2,200
5th – £1,700
6th – £1,300
7th – £1,000
8th – £800
I’m really glad that even last place gets £800 because it takes that worry away. We get to go to London for the weekend, I get at least £800 which would already be my second biggest live score, and it should be a great laugh.
Any nerves about playing on a live stream on Twitch?
It’s going to be really cool, and at the stakes I play it’s not something I ever thought I’d get to do. Some of my friends are already planning watch parties!
Do you watch a lot of poker on Twitch yourself?
I used to watch it a lot. I followed Jason Somerville’s Run It Up series on YouTube, and that had a big impact on improving my game. Three years ago my average buy-in was still around $1, but through watching Twitch I had the best year of my poker life. I won the Hot $7.50 for around $5,000, which helped with our house deposit. I also had a few other four-figure scores.
Lex Veldhuis is an absolute legend of Twitch. He’s so good at entertaining whilst also educating. I think one thing that’s weird for recreational players is seeing professionals having no emotional connection to whether they win or lose. I understand they have to feel that way, but I play for fun at the end of the day. Half of the fun is feeling on the top of the world when I win a tournament but also feeling sad when I lose. Otherwise, all I’m doing is clicking buttons if I don’t have that emotional journey. Lex shares his emotional journey with us.
Have you had a chance to speak with any of the other Platinum Pass Experience qualifiers so far?
We have a chat group, and they all seem really nice. It should be fun to meet everyone, and there’s a nice range of experience in terms of what people are used to playing. There’s a guy Fergal who follows a lot of the same people as me on Twitter. He’s already promised me a pint. I might try and resist until after we’ve played though!
If you win the Platinum Pass, you’ll be heading to Barcelona next summer. What do you make of the new PSPC location?
I’m so happy it’s been moved to Barcelona. I always thought that the Bahamas looked cool, but I also follow a lot of poker players on social media and would always see things like a bottle of water costing $12. The inner Scot in me couldn’t deal with that!
I wouldn’t be surprised if the PSPC in Barcelona gets a really big turnout. It would be a great experience to go to.
How do you plan to prepare over the next couple of weeks? Will you and your friends get together for a few practice sessions?
I don’t really have any friends who are into poker enough that it would help. On my stag do a few years ago we had a poker game and it became rapidly apparent that most of the joy they get from it is to annoy me by playing in a bizarre fashion.
I’m just going to play a lot really. I listen to a lot of podcasts, watch a lot of training videos, that kind of stuff. I feel like my grasp on concepts is getting stronger and stronger every year. One of my favourite podcasts is Andrew Brokos’ Thinking Poker podcast, so I reached out to him and asked for advice. He has recommended a few books to me.
There are going to be some really interesting situations. One of the things I’m really aware of is three-handed, where you have a £2,000 pay jump, and then basically a £21,000 pay jump. I’m not used to playing in tournaments where a mistake could be worth thousands of pounds. It’s so far outside anything I’ve done that it’s going to be quite a fun puzzle to work out.
Could you tell us a bit about your live poker experience?
I’ve only played a grand total of three live poker tournaments. In my previous job, I worked a zero-hour contract, so there were a couple of years where things were really tough. I never really had the money to even consider trying to qualify for anything. Everything was very bare-bones.
But when I got this new job I decided to treat myself. There was a tournament in Scotland which was a £62 buy-in with an £8 last-longer, with a £5,000 guarantee. It was my first live tournament and I ended up winning it for around $2,000. That was another occasion where I ran close to the purest that I ever have.
Aside from that, I’ve played a £225 event, and I recently played a local £35 tournament in which I lasted about an hour as I tried to check-raise an old lady. I wouldn’t recommend it!
I suspect if any of the others are good live players, they will recognise quite quickly that I’m not used to it. Even in the £35 tournament recently I managed to put chips in out of turn, didn’t fold at the right time, etc. There a couple of errors I hope to get out of my system before London.
I actually won a ticket to the Moneymaker Tour stop in Newcastle the weekend before I won the Platinum Pass Experience, so that was already going to be one of my biggest live tournament experiences. Hopefully, I can win the Pass in London and then just play for the cash in Newcastle.
Did you try and win a Platinum Pass last year at all?
I never really found the time to try and win a Pass last year as 2018 was a busy one: I got married, we bought a house, I got promoted, my older sister got married, I became an uncle. It was insane and passed by in a blur of major life events.
For a player like me, it seems like there are more realistic opportunities to win a Platinum Pass this year. Things like the Platinum Pass Experience make it far more accessible and has made me realise it could be possible for me to win a Pass.
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