2019 World Series of Poker Europe

Recreational Poker Player Paulo Milani Goes Two-for-Two on Platinum Passes

Paulo Milani is the first poker player to win two Platinum Passes.

For most, winning a PokerStars Platinum Pass to travel and play in a large-field $25,000 buy-in tournament on a total freeroll is — and will remain — a mere dream. For Brazilian recreational poker player Paulo Milani, that dream has become a reality not once, but twice.

Earlier this year, Milani was among 320 dreamers who punched tickets to the Bahamas for the 2019 PokerStars Players No-limit Hold'em Championship (PSPC). Not even a month into the second round of Platinum Pass giveaways for the 2020 PSPC in Barcelona, Milani has defied statistical probabilities and willed his way to a second Platinum Pass pass, this time for PSPC 2.0 in Barcelona.

Mega Path to Second Platinum Pass

After winning his first Platinum Pass in a Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) All In or Fold event, Milani had been disappointed by lack of news of another PSPC and accompanying Platinum Pass contests during the first half of the year. When he heard in August that it was returning, he was understandably pleased, and didn't hesitate to start searching for options to quality.

"I found this Mega Path, a very affordable way to win," he told Alan Ferreira of SuperPoker. "It's not easy, but you have to be persistent and thank goodness I've got it," he said.

The Mega Path is a step-satellite progression of sorts, starting with an optional Step 1 consisting of $2 Mega Path Sit & Go's. Winning that Sit & Go allows you to head to Step 2, where you must win a 27-person 3-handed Shootout.

"It's not easy, but you have to be persistent and thank goodness I've got it."

In the $50 Step 3 tournament, the top 15 players advance to Step 4, the $1,000 Platinum Pass tournament held on Sundays. The winner of this event each week collects a pass worth around $30,000 which includes entry to the €22,500 buy-in PSPC plus travel, hotel accommodations, and expenses for two.

Milani cruised his way through the steps, and with a little luck and a lot of focus made it to the final table of the Step 4 qualifier.

"I don't remember hands exactly, but there were some situations that I was blessed with being very strong and finding more than one opponent all in and I was accumulating a lot of chips," he told SuperPoker. "I played very focused and conscious. I ended up folding a hand that I normally don't fold and I went step by step."

Paulo Milani
Paulo Milani won his 2019 PSPC Platinum Pass at BSOP Gramado.

As part of the Mega Path deal, players who make the Step 4 final table and fall short of the victory receive a ticket for the final in the following week. This proved to be a critical factor for Milani, considering the great pressure which can come from an all-or-nothing scenario with a $30,000 pass on the line.

"I found it funny, because when I got down to eight, I relaxed, didn't feel the pressure of being close to the result," he explained. "I thought, since I was there, I had to do my best to win the package."

Strangely calm in a high-pressure situation, Milani was able to fight his way until he was the last player standing, and the first player to ever win two Platinum Passes.

Time on his Side

While he greatly enjoyed his trip to the Bahamas for the first PSPC, he especially looks forward to heading to Spain for the first time to explore Barcelona and the surrounding areas.

"The expectation is the best," he said. "I want to enjoy every moment, much more than just the event, which is sure to have even greater diversification of the field, and the players we admire on television."

Surely for Milani, there's a whole lot to look forward to. And with the experience of playing in PSPC 1.0 under his belt, the recreational player has a bit of advantage over many who will be competing in their first $25K, and their first PSPC.

"The expectation is the best; I want to enjoy every moment, much more than just the event."

"I think the point is to keep training, knowing and evolving in the game. What I got, which I think should improve is to know how to play some competitors we are not used to, because people from other countries play differently," Milani told SuperPoker. "I don't know if it's an advantage, because I'm not a pro, but I get ahead because I know I have an event in Barcelona and I have more time to prepare."

As one of the early Platinum Pass winners, Milani certainly has time on his side in terms of preparation. Combined with persistence and experience, Milani will be in good position to relax and do his thing at PSPC Barcelona, just as he did to come out on top of the Mega Path final for a second chance at a tournament most will only dream of playing.

Paulo Milani
Paulo Milani (right) can look forward to another exciting PSPC opportunity.

As many Platinum Pass qualifiers have expressed, a major part of the PSPC experience is the people you meet along the way and Milani hopes to see a large contingency of compatriots gathering in Spain next August.

"I want next year, as it happened in Bahamas, to see as many Brazilians as possible," Milani said. "Because a lot of players went to the event even though they didn't win the Platinum Pass. I would like them to find the ways and go, too, because it was so good to have so many there."

There's still time to win your way to a Platinum Pass through the Mega Path to the PSPC. The next three Mega Path finals will take place at PokerStars.com on Oct. 13, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m. UTC. For more on upcoming Platinum Pass opportunities, visit the dedicated PokerStars Blog page.

Paulo Milani's quotes in this article come from Alan Ferreira of SuperPoker and are translated from Portuguese to English.

Photos courtesy of Carlos Monti/PokerStars.

The Stars Group owns a majority shareholding in iBus Media.

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