When David Kaye signed with PokerStars as an ambassador late this past fall, he didn’t know heading to the PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas would be part of the gig. But the Michigan poker pro and content creator wanted to be prepared anyway, so he started the process of getting his passport.
That turned out to be the right play.
“I had never had a passport before, which, when you tell someone from outside the US that when you’re 30 years old, they think that’s crazy,” Kaye said. “But I was like, ‘I might as well get this going.’ A week after I filed my rushed application, they reached out and were like, ‘Hey, just so you know, we have a Platinum Pass for you.’
“I was kind of sweating it out, waiting for the passport to get here. I had everything figured out, so I should have it easily in time and there’s places you can go for a rushed passport in like to weeks. But there was a little bit of sweat there to make sure I had everything good to go.”
The passport was delivered in time and Kaye made the trip to the Bahamas for the PSPC. While he didn’t finish in the money, it was a still a fun and memorable experience.
Kaye, a former contributor to PlayMichigan, talked with us recently about the trip and his new role with PokerStars.
A Platinum Pass to the PSPC in the Bahamas
The Platinum Pass to the PSPC gave covered Kaye’s flight and accommodations, as well as the $25K buy-in to the PSPC.
It was a perk Kaye wasn’t expecting, as simply signing with PokerStars was a dream come true.
“For a poker player and a streamer, this is the ultimate goal,” Kaye said. “For someone that streams and does content, if you can sign anywhere, PokerStars is the place. I’m not just saying that, that’s genuine for most people in the industry. Then, not that much longer they say, ‘Hey, we’re going to put you in a $25,000 buy-in tournament for free.’ I really appreciated that, and it sows they take care of their people. I was really grateful for the opportunity.”
The late-January trip wasn’t all poker all the time for Kaye, who made the voyage with his girlfriend. There was a reception for players on Night 1, and time to relax at the resort and visit a waterpark during the week.
“Unfortunately I got sick the last two days, so I didn’t do anything the last two days — really bad timing on that,” Kaye said. “Other than that, it was a lot of poker stuff but it was a lot of cool events. PokerStars made it not just a poker tournament, but they made it a big event in general.”
Playing at the PSPC featured table and advancing to Day 2
The main event, of course, was the PSPC, and Kaye got tossed into the fire immediately. He started at the featured table, along with chess streamer Alexandra Botez and former PSPC champion Ramon Colillas.
While he wasn’t the main attraction at the table, he started out hot.
“I can’t say (the featured table) was because of me,” Kaye said with a laugh. “I think 10 minutes in, I flopped quads. I had pocket 2s, raised, then get two calls and the board comes 3-2-2. I was like, ‘If this is anything like what this tournament is going to look like, this is going to be great.’ … The quad 2s thing was pretty cool, because you’re on the TV table, and my friends had started watching. To see that, get the clip of it, was pretty cool.”
Kaye advanced to the final hand of the second day of the tournament. While he was outside the money, he beat out 75% of the field. He did get into the money in a mystery bounty tournament after the PSPC, adding to a strong week.
“I was pretty happy,” Kaye said. “I’m always going to try and be my first critic of looking at hands I could have played differently, but I don’t think I made any glaring mistakes, which is nice, especially as someone who is primarily a cash game player. Tournaments aren’t going to be the thing I’m most studied in. So to not have huge, glaring mistakes, walking away having a good experience, I was pretty happy with the way I played.”
David Kaye on streaming, PokerStars and interstate poker
The experience of heading to the PSPC is just another amazing part of Kaye living out his dream since becoming a PokerStars ambassador.
He streams on Twitch at DavidKayePoker between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. He also occasionally plays and streams on Sunday evenings. He posts to his YouTube channel, also at DavidKayePoker, five times per week.
Since signing on with PokerStars, the reach of those channels has been growing, but Kaye is especially thankful for those who have been with him all along.
“The kind of cool thing is I’m not going down this poker streaming journey alone,” he said. “A lot of people have supported me along the way, and fortunately I’m happy that they take a lot of pride in it, too. When I have success on my stream, it’s because of them. PokerStars doesn’t want to work with me if I have no one watching my stream. They’re why I get an opportunity like this.”
Kaye is excited about what’s coming up with PokerStars, including the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP).
He’s also been happy to see the success of combining Michigan online poker players with those from New Jersey. Player pools and guarantees have grown since PokerStars implemented the shared player pool on Jan. 1. Kaye expects things to get even better.
“It’s really good in the immediate, but I think what really matters for that merge is in the medium to longterm,” Kaye said. “Realistically, for online poker in the US to flourish, especially on the tournament side of things, and even in high stakes cash games, you have to have everyone playing together. You need big prize pools to draw people in. That’s what people play tournaments for — going for glory and the big payouts. As a cash game player, you like to see those huge buy-in cash games going. Poker has been huge in the US for a while, but it’s just all been live poker. It’s cool to see it kind of coming back to online as more and more states opt in, and hopefully more and more states join the same player pool here.”