With the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) just days away, the excitement has reached new heights. At the core of this one-of-a-kind rake-free $25,000 buy-in tournament are the coveted Platinum Passes. Valued at $30,000, these precious PSPC Platinum Passes have been the rage in poker town all through last year. All poker players have yearned for it, some have won it, some have tried valiantly but failed, but no one has been as persistent in their pursuit for the Platinum Pass as the ‘Poker Tourist’ Asif Warris (cover image). In fact, his determination to win a pass was so resolute that PokerStars presented him with the 2018 Persistence Award!
An avid recreational poker player, Asif’s first brush with the mind sport took place eight years ago when he sat down at a poker table in a casino without even knowing the rules of the game. He couldn’t tell a flush from a straight but he knew that aces were good. Even with no prior knowledge or understanding of poker, he still managed to book a profit! Wishing to learn more about the game, Asif looked up YouTube videos and that’s when the poker bug well and truly bit him.
Discussing his passion for poker, Asif told PokerGuru, “Poker is a fantastic social game. I don’t play for the money. I go to the events to have fun and make friends. I love to travel so this is the perfect combination for me.”
Born in the United Kingdom to Pakistani parents, Asif feels that if he manages to win a major tournament, it may help in popularising the mind sport in the Asian country that largely considers the game to be gambling.
In his quest to know more about poker, he watched videos of live tournaments and was introduced to PokerStars, more specifically the European Poker Tour (EPT). Having watched only the live streaming of final tables, Asif believed that he could win as long as he had good hands.
Asif said, “Naively I started to think that if I have enough good hands I am going to win.” He bantered, “Like a bachha (kid) I thought I am going to the EPT and I am going to win!”
A king of online satellites, Asif registered with PokerStars and began his journey to win packages to play in the EPT. The first package he won was at the UKIPT Tour and thereon, he kept winning packages but was unable to achieve the ultimate goal of winning an EPT event.
The former IT businessman’s EPT goals have been temporarily replaced by the PSPC. Just after Asif’s friend Mohamed Ould Tidjani won a Platinum Pass at the PokerStars MegaStack series which was held in June at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, Asif too wanted a PSPC Pass of his own. While touring the four major tennis tournaments, Asif landed up in New York to watch the U.S Open. Learning of the Moneymaker PSPC Tour in Foxwoods which had a buy-in of $86, Asif turned up there. Sadly, Asif finished 100th out of 1,300 entries.
Determined to win the sought-after pass, Asif took his next shot in PokerStars Team pro Maria Konnikova’s PSPC challenge #MyPokerStory. With only a week left for the entry deadline, Asif made an awesome video, detailing his poker journey. The hilarious video truly depicted Asif’s love for poker and his ardent desire to win the EPT and grab a PSPC Pass.
He created quite a fanbase for himself on Twitter and had a lot of people supporting him.
The PokerTourist & PStars ‘fan boy’ @aseefo himself. A recreational player who climbs the sat. trees to qual. for live events, shows anyone can do it. Const. promotes the fun aspects of poker on social media. Finalist in the @mkonnikova #MyPokerStory contest ..alround ‘good egg’
— Mike Hill (@FeelinTarantino) November 23, 2018
It’s got to be @aseefo, he’s still a @PokerStars fanboy even now! He’s hands down put more effort into winning a pass than anyone else being nominated. He’s always playing sats to live events from the bottom up and usually gets it done. Throw him a (turkey) bone!
— Adam Owen (@adamyid) November 23, 2018
Even though Asif was selected as one of the finalists, the challenge was eventually won by Jacqueline Burkhart. But Asif did not lose hope and upped the ante and kept uploading videos expressing his wish to win the Platinum Pass.
In yet another attempt, Asif posted a YouTube video titled “The PokerTourist’s Quest to Win a #PlatinumPass for His Ass!”
Commenting on his own videos, the Manchester man said, “Everything is tongue and cheek.” His efforts to win the pass persisted on Twitter.
…’SantaBaby @PokerStars stick a #PlatinumPass Under the tree for me …’? #Kylie ???…. ‘I don’t want a ‘lot’ ? 4 Xmas ..’?…#AllIWantForXmasIsYou …. #PlatinumPass? ….lolz @PokerStarsBlog @PokerStarsLIVE #PlatinumPassesForYourAsses? #MyPokerStory #PokerTourist™️? pic.twitter.com/cFADny139y
— Asif Warris (@aseefo) November 28, 2018
…’Tis the Season of GoodWill to All … #PokerTourist™️?’ …?? …#PlatinumPass #GodLovesATrier? @PokerStars @PokerStarsBlog @PokerStarsLIVE @PokerStarsUK #PASScode?? …(All done on my iPhone!??) #EPTPrague #SecretSanta? pic.twitter.com/cmogDsZktl
— Asif Warris (@aseefo) December 11, 2018
… #PlatinumPass4MyAss !! Plz ???? …’Tis the Season of GoodWill to All … #PokerTourist™️?’ …?? …#PlatinumPass #GodLovesATrier? @PokerStars @PokerStarsBlog @PokerStarsLIVE @PokerStarsUK #PASScode?? #EPTPrague #SecretSanta? pic.twitter.com/pS3yWfUJuB
— Asif Warris (@aseefo) December 12, 2018
…'”There are @PokerStars ..directing Ma fate … and I praying its not too late…” ? … “I been around the World and I can’t find Ma #PlatinumPass ..” ?#MessageInDaMusic #Shameless https://t.co/o7RIJf2lrE @PokerStarsBlog @PokerStarsLIVE #PokerTourist?
— Asif Warris (@aseefo) December 21, 2018
Finally, his prayers were answered. On December 31, PokerStars announced on Twitter that Asif had won the 2018 Persistence Award which brought with it the prestigious Platinum Pass.
Ok @aseefo what a year you’ve had, trying almost every available path you could to get a Platinum Pass. (Oh and that Xmas YouTube video ?) Therefore, our 2018 persistence award goes to you sir. Happy New Year. You’re playing the #PSPC pic.twitter.com/cpeeLSHhAm
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) December 31, 2018
Asif was ecstatic about the win.
— Asif Warris (@aseefo) January 1, 2019
“I am in panic mode! I got to know about the win at 5 o’clock on Monday!” Asif stated excitedly.
“I have played in over 50 events and I have played in most of the major tournaments, but I am yet to play and win an EPT event.” Asif reiterated his goal.
Asif will now join the PSPC Class of 2019 which comprises of 320 Platinum Pass winners, including eight Indians, namely Sumit Sapra, Nikhil Segel, Kavin Shah, Raman Gujral, Young Guns Sharad Rao and Vivek Singh, along with Saurabh Sindhwani and Aneesh Nair. These eight Indian challengers will be captained by Team PokerStars pro Aditya Agarwal and will also be accompanied by Vikram Singh who recently confirmed his participation in the event.