PokerStars Gives Ontario Basketball Fans Red Pass Treatment w/ Stapes & Shaban

Five lucky fans of the Toronto Raptors won an extraordinary trip to see their favorite team play in LA. This lucky quintet won this opportunity through the PokerStars Red Spade Pass program. As well as catching a pair of Raptors games, the Red Spade Passers also got shipped out to Vegas for a unique experience that included fine dining, Cirque du Soleil, and a poker experience with Joe Stapleton.

Stapleton MC-ed the proceedings along with PokerStars ambassador Arlie Shaban and Raptors commentator Jack Armstrong. The three celebrities hosted the Red Spade Passers throughout the experience, flying with them to Vegas and taking in the Raptors games.

This Red Spade pass event was “built with the Raptors in mind” according to a PokerStars spokesperson. “Fan insight told us that during these winter months in Ontario, Sports lovers look forward to a trip away or road trip to watch their team in warmer climates.”

Each of the winners won their passes in a different manner.

One player, Kiana, earned her place through the Raptors app. She was able to bring along her father who used to coach baseball. Both of them described their Red Spade Pass adventure as “the trip of a lifetime.”

Two other winners earned in the Raptors’ stadium as part of the Pass the Spade competition. This competition saw each section of the Raptors’ stadium compete to be the fastest to pass an inflatable poker chip from one end to the other.

The remaining two winners won their passes in a PokerStars freeroll spin and GameTime—a game played from home during the live broadcast of a Raptors game.

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Toronto To LA To Vegas

The Red Spade Pass experience started in Toronto, Ontario.

The winners and their plus ones boarded their flight for LA on the Wednesday, arriving later that day. After snagging a bite to eat, the first stop was the Arena. Here, the Red Spade Passers watched Raptors lose to the Clippers.

C’est la vie, as they say in Canada.

The next day everyone was up with the lark to board a private charter out to Las Vegas.

Once the plane touched down, the Red Spade Pass winners headed to the poker room at Resorts World Las Vegas. Stapes was on hand to give everyone a quick course in Poker 101. Then the team hit the tables.

Despite being a poker beginner, Kiana was the ultimate winner, earning herself a Raptors jersey signed by her favorite player.

With the poker session settled, the Passers moved to the strip for dinner at Nobu, a showing of Cirque du Soleil’s O, and some after-dinner slots.

With a full day of Vegas shenanigans at their back, it was then time to return to the airport and to LA.

…And Back Again

Friday saw the Red Spade Passers rest up, taking a breather after all the excitement. Several side activities were called on account of weather, allowing the Red Spade Passers to hit the spa at their hotel and get their bearings.

The Passers then regrouped in the evening at the Arena to see the Raptors take another beating, this time at hands of the LA Lakers.

After the game, the Passers enjoyed LA’s famous food truck scene before heading back to the airport for a night flight back home to Toronto.

You can keep an eye out on PokerStars for more Red Spade Pass opportunities and you can hear Joe Stapleton talk about the LA trip, his comic book, and the upcoming US SCOOPs on the new episode of the PokerNews Podcast.


  • Five lucky fans of the Toronto Raptors won an extraordinary trip through @PokerStars Red Pass.

  • Five Ontario @PokerStars Red Pass winners got to spend time w/ @Stapes & @ArlieShaban. Details here.

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