PokerStars Team Pros Reflect on Million Dollar Prizes
Vanessa Selbst SHR
Vanessa Selbst used her poker winnings to fund social causes she believes in. (Photo: Poker Central)

PokerStars Team Pros Reflect on Million Dollar Prizes

Two Monte Carlo Events have a Milly Up Top

Posted April 20, 2017 by Paul Oresteen Vanessa Selbst SHR
Vanessa Selbst used her poker winnings to fund social causes she believes in. (Photo: Poker Central)

PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo is fast approaching and two players could win life-changing money with €1 million guaranteed to the winners of the €25,750 PokerStars Championship High Roller and the €100,000 Super High Roller.

The seven-figure win is a measuring stick for the world’s best players – no matter the bankroll, players remember their million dollar scores. “In 2008, my life changed forever when I won EPT San Remo for $1.4 million,” said Team Pro Jason Mercier. “I was a 21-year-old unknown online grinder at the time. My biggest tournament cash live or online before this was around $15K.”

The PokerStars Makes Millionaires promotion awarded its first million-dollar prize on April 2 for the 11th anniversary of the Sunday Million. In addition to the live events in Monte Carlo, there are two $1 million guaranteed winners during SCOOP and millionaire challenges that Team Pros laid out.


A graph of the largest online wins of PokerStars Team Pros. (Photo: PokerStars)

The huge scores give players the freedom to travel, as well as, freedom in their lives. “I was able to travel the world and invite my mother to join me in travels she never could have afforded by herself,” said Bertrand Grospellier. 

Felipe Ramos’s life-changing moment came online. “WCOOP made me a millionaire in 2009 and I will never forget about that,” he said. He traveled the world and had “the best experience ever.”

“I bought houses, condos, traveled the world – owned a boat for a little while,” Mercier said. “I donate each year to my church which is very involved in helping out the local community.”

Vanessa Selbst found freedom in the little things. “My life changed in terms of the money I was making for sure,” she said. “I have the freedom to travel whenever I want, I don’t sweat the small stuff like car trouble and I eat a lot of expensive sushi.”

“I started a charitable foundation so I can give money to other people fighting for social justice. That’s the best part of it all, because I’m up close seeing a project that is making a difference in the world and I know that it’s happening because of my poker success,” Selbst added.

Chris Moneymaker also likes to see his money work in positive ways. “I have given my money and time to many charities throughout my poker life and strive to do so whenever possible,” he said. “The big wish list for my wife and me is to start an animal refuge for dogs and cats as we both love animals. Our biggest support currently goes to Autism Awareness/Austism Speaks as it has affected our lives directly.”

While charity is noble – some of the guilty pleasure purchases are just as fun. “I always wanted a Porsche growing up and was finally able to get one,” Moneymaker said. “I bought a convertible Boxter and my wife gave me grief saying I’d never drive it.”

“I drove that car every single day for a spring and summer. However, once the weather got cold I stopped driving it and with kids I kind of forgot about it,” said Moneymaker. “Three years later my wife asked if we could sell the car as it was parked in the garage the whole time – ten years later and she still uses it against me.”