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Like the rest of the world, the poker fraternity is also busy in family get-togethers and partying this time of the year. In a week that tingles with the excitement of new beginnings and exciting adventures, we saw many poker die-hards ride along the wave of spirited joy.
Starting off this Christmas special edition is Delhi-based architect Nikhil Segel, who has built quite a fanbase for his incredible body transformation that won him Team PokerStars Pro Jamie Staples’ #MyUltimateSweat challenge. Segel`s hard work was well rewarded with a Platinum Pass to the PSPC worth $30,000. With the PSPC just days away, Segel got chatting with Team PokerStars pro Jamie Staples on a streamed YouTube video. Segel was the one being interviewed here and talked about his experience on winning Staples’ #MyUltimateSweat challenge with an impressive 17-kilo weight loss that bagged him the PSPC Platinum Pass.
For 85-year old poker player Harold McDowell, who was playing at the Atlantic City casino, Christmas brought colours of joy and he hit a life-changing $1 Million jackpot, all from a $5 bet.
Poker Santa had gifts for well-know streamer and poker pro Joey Ingram and Jeremy Hilsercop as well, as they both got free Platinum Passes from a benevolent PokerStars. If you’re wondering who is Hilsercop, he’s a Tennessee resident and ended up winning a Platinum Pass after Ingram heard the story that Hilsercop’s wife had endeavoured to fulfill his dream of playing poker in Las Vegas and even gifted him a free WSOP ticket.
Gus Hansen, meanwhile is already in Vegas and was recently spotted at the Bellagio playing with Phil Ivey and Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates. But the ‘Great Dane’ was smarter this time and decided to get out after dropping a lot of cash to the duo in the cash game session.
Nikhil Segel has been on a rocking journey this year. The 47-year old architect who is a recreational player was in a bad spot with health issues pressing him down. Not only was Segel a diagnosed diabetic, but he was chain smoking to the hilt. His life took a 360 degree turn once he chanced upon the #MyUltimateSweat challenge tailored by Team PokerStars pro Jamie Staples.
Segel saw Staples’ video calling out to players wanting to win a free Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players NLHE Championship (PSPC) and decided to make a go at it. He managed to quit smoking, reduce his high blood sugar levels and lost an impressive 17 kilos and voila, Staples chose him as the winner of the challenge, making Segel the second Indian after Sumit Sapta to win a PSPC Platinum Pass!
Now, we have to say, Staples has been quite a coach, and a friendly guide to Segel, who has been gearing up with energy to take on thechallenge at the PSPC in January.
“Nikhil won a trip to the Bahamas to play in the PSPC for his troubles. I decided to catch up with him in the lead up to see how he was preparing,” said Staples, who shared a video interview with Segel on YouTube.
If Segel was the one submitting his weight-loss journey videos to the PokerStars pro, it was the other way around this time, with Staples asking him about how it felt to win the Platinum Pass and how his preparations were shaping up. “Its 11 days left for the PSPC,“ Staples said, “Its been a long journey for you, you started my competition almost half a year back.”
Segel was very upbeat about the upcoming PSPC. “Lots of ups and downs but its all good.” The two went on to discuss Segel’s experience, and what was coming up. We have to say, Staples is walking the walk with Segel, right through his PSPC journey.
Watch Staples’ video interview with Segel here.
85-Year-Old Poker Player Hits $1 Million Jackpot From $5 Bet
Christmas certainly is the season to be jolly, especially if it comes a little early like it did for Lakewood, New Jersey resident Harold McDowell. The 85-year-old retired public works director beat out 1 – 20,348,320 odds to win a jackpot that Borgata Hotel and Casino had never imagined they would have to pay out!
McDowell was playing Three Card Poker at the Atlantic City casino where he placed a $5 bet on the Six Card Bonus. He was given the , while the dealer held , giving McDowell the six-card royal flush which was worth a $1 million payout.
McDowell told the New York Post, “It must be the luck of the Irish”.
But that wasn’t the only good news McDowell had recently received. He was sitting next to his wife when the hand was dealt. Just a day earlier, the couple received the good news that Mrs. McDowell was now cancer free after undergoing numerous surgeries for liver and colon cancer over the last few years.
“I had my back to her. I turned around and said, “I just won a million dollars.’ She told me, ’You’re full of crap,” the jackpot winner recounted.
McDowell has not let this win overshadow his life’s perspective. “Our lives will probably stay pretty much the same, but it might get better for our children,” he continued. “It was better news that she’s healthy. Money isn’t the most important thing.”
Just like Christmas is a time to be jolly, it is also a time for giving gifts. And what better gift can a poker player receive than the much-coveted PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) Platinum Pass. We had recently reported on how the Platinum Passes were conceptualised and what their benefits are. While over 300 passes have already been distributed, one of the latest players to receive it was none other than well known poker pro and vblogger Joey Ingram.
Most people may think of Ingram as an odd choice for PokerStars to simply gift the Platinum Pass to, given the fact that Ingram has been known to express criticism towards the online poker giant in the past. For this reason, a lot of Ingram’s fan have labelled him a ‘sellout’ for accepting the gift. But Ingram doesn’t seem to be much bothered by the hazing.
Moreover, staying true to the spirit of Christmas, Ingram helped two other poker players get the prestigious passes as well.
I will accept your $30k Platinum Pass offer today on XMAS @PokerStars@PokerStarsLIVE if we can also get Jeremy a Platinum Pass as well. I think him & his wife @Randi_heatlifer could use the sun. @ArlieShaban wins his Platinum Pass as well. @erichollreiser
— Joey Degenerous (@Joeingram1) December 25, 2018
And PokerStars accepted Ingram’s request.
New YouTube video up on what went down yesterday on Xmas. I helped @ArlieShaban, a man named Jeremy from Reddit & myself each receive a $30k Platinum Pass from Pokerstars. A Christmas that I don’t think I will ever forget. @Randi_heatlifer@JHilsercophttps://t.co/eUgKw3O3eMpic.twitter.com/efT4BngcTx
— Joey Degenerous (@Joeingram1) December 26, 2018
Looks like it was a great Christmas overall!
Couple Plans WSOP Trip For Christmas, Win PSPC Platinum Pass
If you’re wondering why PokerStars is on ‘Santa’ mode and acquiesced to Joey Ingram’s request to dole out free Platinum Passes as special Christmas goodies, it’s not just about Ingram’s thoughtfulness and PokerStars’ generosity.
From what we hear, it’s a story of love and adulation for Jeremy Hilsercop. Now Hilsercop likes his time at the poker tables but has never been able to go the poker ‘pilgrimage’ to Las Vegas. Until recently, that is, when his wife, Randi Hilsercop decided to quietly save up and sponsor their trip to Vegas.
Hilsercop found two flight tickets and hotel stay at Vegas all booked. His lady love was going all out to impress her man, as Hilsercop discovered she’d also booked for him, a ticket to play at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Randi shared Jeremy’s reaction on Twitter.
I bought my husband a trip to the WSOP in Vegas for Christmas this year. We’ve never been able to afford to go til this year. He was very surprised! @WSOP@RealKidPoker@phil_hellmuth@MagicAntonio@PhilLaak@PokerGO#poker#wsoppic.twitter.com/QTRHY4zNST
— Randi Hilsercop (@Randi_heatlifer) December 25, 2018
As the word got around, the pokeratti responded on Twitter with their reactions, and soon it was the big poker brands turn to take notice.
This is incredible! Id love to have you on the @PokerCentral Podcast towards the end of your trip to talk about your experience and to share it with other poker fans that share your dream!
— Remko Rinkema (@RemkoRinkema) December 25, 2018
WSOP shot Jeremy a personal welcome message and several other poker firms came out with offers to train Jeremy.
We are very excited Jeremy will be joining us this summer for the 50th Annual World Series of Poker. Wishing him and his family a Merry Christmas. Best of luck this summer!https://t.co/rrvMj7aL6q
— WSOP (@WSOP) December 25, 2018
Some players even asked if they could buy pieces of Jeremy’s action. 2018 WSOP Main Event winner John Cynn was one of them.
This has been amazing to follow… Like many other poker players have offered, I’d love to buy some action, offer any advice and most importantly be there railing the final table! 🙂
— John Cynn (@john_cynn) December 26, 2018
So were Maria Ho and Antonio Esfandiari.
— Maria Ho (@MariaHo) December 26, 2018
I hope to run into Jeremy. What a great gift and an even better reaction!! Xmas…amazing.
— Antonio Esfandiari (@MagicAntonio) December 26, 2018
The tweets also caught Ingram’s attention, and the rest is history. PokerStars agreed to gift Hilsercop a Platinum Pass and he now has not just a ticket to play at the WSOP but also an entry to the PSPC, Bahamas! Just the right gift to start 2019 on a rocking note!
High Roller regular Gus Hansen isn’t one to back off from a game and we’ve all been privy to Hansen’s long hours on the tables at the Bobby’s Room in his favourite Vegas casino, the Bellagio. But looks like Hansen, who at one point was making quite a name for himself for his big losses, has decided to sober up and has learn`t to back out at the right moment.
Recently, Hansen was sharing the table with Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates and Phil Ivey and by the looks of it, he was stuck for a big amount in the session.
Not that Hansen wasn’t enjoying himself on the felts. On the contrary he seemed cheerful enough to share a video shot of the action, on his Instagram handle. But then he did go on to lose $63K in a single hand, which for a frequent player at the Bellagio, may not be a very big sum, though. Cates certainly did not look too impressed with the stakes.
Good thing that Hansen decided to pull out before adding more to his losses. Is it a new year resolution, or is Hansen just beginning to learn from his mistakes, we wonder.