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Two Platinum Passes Awarded in U.S. Over Weekend

John Mokhtari

The ability to win a Platinum Pass — valued at $30,000 including a $25,000 buy-in to the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold'em Championship — has largely been an opportunity for poker players outside the U.S. or those willing to venture to international PokerStars events, recent announcements notwithstanding.

Despite a current online poker presence in only a single U.S. state, PokerStars showed it hasn't forgotten about its American players, awarding two Platinum Passes over the weekend. One went to the winner of the latest stop on the Moneymaker PSPC Tour, and the other to a lucky winner of a special drawing at Seminole Hard Rock in Florida.

Mokhtari Wins Second Moneymaker Tour Pass

After the success of the first Moneymaker PSPC Tour stop at Stones Gambling Hall just outside of Sacramento, hype was warranted for the second stop, scheduled for Aug. 19-26 at Lucky Chances in the heavily populated San Francisco Bay Area.

The 1,072 entries logged at Lucky Chances easily surpassed the 812 at the Stones stop, as the opportunity to turn $86 into a $30,000 Platinum Pass was simply too good to pass up for many California-area players.

Just over 100 of those players toted stacks into Day 2, including Chris Moneymaker himself, the inspiration for the tour from his own experience of turning $86 into $2.5 million in his legendary 2003 World Series of Poker run.

John Mokhtari (pictured above) was among that number, although he carried just around six big blinds into the final day, according to the PokerStars Blog. He said he doubled up twice right away, which ended up powering him to the final table.

There, the final four players agreed on a deal to be paid out between $11,000 and $12,000 apiece and play for the Platinum Pass. Mokhtari beat CJ Magleby heads up after winning a flip, holding with queens against ace-high, and having a bigger ace hold up all in preflop. He pumped his fist and stood up with a wide grin, knowing he'd won the poker trip of a lifetime.

"John, you're going to The Bahamas," shouted Moneymaker after the final card hit the felt.

Mokhtari had one previously recorded live cash for all of $1,100 but is reportedly a regular at the venue, and he's now joined Cliff Ellefson as Moneymaker Tour Platinum Pass recipients.

"When I got there, I knew I was going to win it," said Mokhtari, who originally hails from Iran but now makes his home in California. "The god of poker was with me today."

Eight more stops still remain on the Moneymaker PSPC Tour, with the next stop coming all the way across the country at Foxwoods in early September.

Sept. 9, 2018Foxwoods Resort CasinoMashantucket, Connecticut
Sept. 22, 2018Gardens CasinoHawaiian Gardens, California
Sept. 30, 2018PokerStarsNJ.comONLINE
Oct. 7, 2018Mohegan SunUncasville, Connecticut
Oct. 10-14, 2018Maryland LiveHanover, Maryland
Oct. 23, 2018Peppermill Resort Casino at Run It Up RenoReno, Nevada
Oct. 31Talking StickScottsdale, Arizona

*Dates/venues subject to change

Rodriguez Wins Florida Promotion

To cap off the successful Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open series, PokerStars and the host venue teamed up for a Platinum Pass giveaway promotion.

Each time a player entered a tournament during the series, his or her name would be entered into a random drawing.

The drawing went down on Friday and Florida's own Carlo Rodriguez's name emerged from the heap, awarding him the coveted Pass. Rodriguez, who has just over $230,000 in cashes, said he's a weekend grinder who put in about eight entries into the SHRPO series.

"I'm really excited about having this opportunity," he said.

Check out the rest of his interview with Seminole Hard Rock's Tony Burns below.

Photo courtesy of PokerStars

The Stars Group owns a majority shareholding in iBus Media.

  • John Mokhtari won the latest Moneymaker Tour stop and Carlo Rodriguez got lucky in a SHRPO drawing.

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