Marc Rivera Turns Platinum Pass Freeroll into More Than $2.1 Million in PSPC

Marc Rivera Turns Platinum Pass Freeroll into More Than $2.1 Million in PSPC

Marc Rivera parlayed a Platinum Pass into over $2 million.

Table Of Contents

  • Folding Queens Under ICM Pressure
  • Overall PSPC Experience

As a regular pot-limit Omaha cash player who rarely plays tournaments, Marc Rivera of The Philippines picked a good one to win, receiving a $30,000 Platinum Pass as an added bonus for taking down the ~$575 buy-in APPT Manila National Main Event for roughly $86,000.

Before that win, the former civil engineer’s biggest tournament cash was just under $40,000 and he had $318,807 in winnings on his Hendon Mob. He’s now multiplied that by nearly eight times after he turned the freeroll of a lifetime into $2,168,000.

He talked to PokerNews after his elimination while another Platinum Pass winner, Ramon Colillas, was playing heads up for the $5.1 million top prize. Rivera was proud of the Platinum Pass winners’ showing.

"I was planning to check-call him down to the river, but then he put my tournament life on the line so it forced me to fold."

“There’s two of us here [among the final three]," Rivera said. "I mean, that’s a good average for the Platinum Pass winners, two-to-one. We could have won but it seems that Martini got the best of the game in this final table. He got the premium cards early and he played very, very well when he got the chips.”

While Rivera gave credit to Martini for his exceptional play, it was Colillas whom the cards would favor late in the match, and who would also put good use to the chips he accumulated. In the end, PokerStars and most of the poker community got their wish of a Platinum Pass winner shipping the biggest $25,000 high roller in history.

Rivera was disappointed he won’t be bringing home gold for The Philippines, but he’s pleased with the state of his home country.

“Our country is very lucky right now," he said. "We have Rodrigo Duterte, our president; God gave him to the country. Last month, we had Catriona Gray winning Miss Universe. Then maybe Manny [Pacquiao] will be winning on January 19 in Vegas. So Philippines must be very proud of these good things happening to the country.

“I was hoping to win it but I did my best.”

With his wife here in The Bahamas with him, taking care of all details so he could focus on the tournament, Rivera was also playing with the support of his four daughters and son cheering him on.

“I hope I made them proud.”

Folding Queens Under ICM Pressure

We asked Rivera about the fold he made with pocket queens with six players left. Payouts at that point in the seven-figure range, the pay jumps got huge and Rivera was put in a tough spot. Martini raised under the gun and Rivera defended the small blind with pocket queens. He was planning on calling down, and did call two streets on {7-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{7-Clubs}{3-Clubs}. He checked again on the {6-Clubs} river but then Martini, committed to the bluff with {q-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}, fired the third barrel.

“There was one short stack with like two big blinds and Martini took advantage of the situation,” Rivera said. “I wanted to play the hand really small ball. I was planning to check-call him down to the river. But then he put my tournament life on the line so it forced me to fold.

“It was a huge pay jump. The community cards were very good for him. Since he’s been raising very wide since he has all the chips, it’s not impossible that he hit that. It’s like 50-50. That’s the difference: in a cash game, I would call him down, but tournament is different.”

Marc Rivera
Rivera folded queens because of ICM pressure.

Overall PSPC Experience

As a professional cash game player, Rivera may be tempted to hop into a few extra tournaments after his third-place PSPC finish.

“I don’t play many tournaments,” he said. “Maybe now I will.”

Overall, he was impressed with the PSPC event that he would not have played were it not for the Platinum Pass he received back in August 2018.

“I don’t play many tournaments…Maybe now I will.”

“PokerStars did a great job with this," he said. "I hope it will be bigger next year. I think it will be bigger next year.”

If PokerStars does bring back the PSPC, Rivera hopes to play in it again, especially if they do another mass entry giveaway.

“I think that’s one good way of giving back to the poker players and making poker good, and making more players play," he said. "Where everybody has a chance like me, who cannot buy into this kind of tournament.”

Check out Jeff Platt’s interview with Rivera below:


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  • PLO cash player Marc Rivera wanted to win the PSPC for The Philippines, but settled for $2,168,000.

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