Marty Derbyshire sacramento moneymaker

The first stop on the PokerStars Moneymaker PSPC Tour went off at Stones Gambling Hall just outside of Sacramento last weekend.

Any notion that Californians had forgotten about online poker, PokerStars, Chris Moneymaker, or had no clue what a Platinum Pass is were quickly dismissed.

In fact, the kick-off event drew more than 800 total entries across two starting flights in Citrus Heights Saturday and Sunday. That’s a rather impressive number considering PokerStars has been out of California since 2011.

The tour commemorates the 15th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event win. Each stop features an $86 buy-in Main Event. That figure works as a bit of an ode to the online poker satellite Moneymaker won on PokerStars that first put him on the path to a world title.

However, players will have the chance to compete for more than just a prize pool filled with all those many $86 entry fees. PokerStars is offering the winner of each event a $30,000 Platinum Pass.

The PokerStars Platinum Pass

For the uninitiated, a Platinum Pass gives its owner entry into the first ever $25,000 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship in the Bahamas in January 2019. Winnings also include cash for travel and accommodations at the event-hosting Atlantis Paradise Island resort.

It’s basically a free trip to the Bahamas and a chance to win millions more playing poker. Though this opportunity is usually reserved only for PokerStars players or those traveling to PokerStars events around the globe, PokerStars Moneymaker PSPC Tour now gives players across the US that same chance.

Plus, Stones Gambling Hall isn’t the only place in California where players can take a shot. The tour has already booked two more stops in California:

  • Lucky Chances in Colma (Bay Area) on Aug. 26
  • Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens (Greater Los Angeles) on Sept. 22

The tour also has stops planned everywhere from Arizona to Connecticut. Plus, it will host an online poker event on PokerStars NJ in New Jersey at the end of September.

The initial stop at Stones Gambling Hall this weekend featured a live stream with commentary from Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville and poker funnyman Joe Stapleton. Team PokerStars Pro and poker legend Daniel Negreanu also took a seat in the booth and the event.

PokerStars in California

The event marked a good example of PokerStars not giving up on California despite not being legally allowed to operate inside state borders in seven years.

The world’s leading online poker site started a coalition of local cardrooms and Native American casinos to lobby for the legalization of online poker in California. It also conducted a tour of many of those cardrooms in 2015. The Let California Play tour launched to drum up support for online poker legislation in the state.

Of course, PokerStars actually opposed online poker legislation in California in 2016. However, that particular legislation would have seen it prohibited from applying for a license. The site is clearly behind efforts to see online poker return to California with PokerStars in the mix. Unfortunately, online poker legislation has enjoyed very little momentum since then.

Editorial credit: Cassiohabib /

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and