This year, Nathan Manuel set a very specific poker goal for himself. Win a Platinum Pass. He took this year and did everything he possibly could to achieve that goal. He traveled to different continents to play in tournaments that awarded them, he was a finalist in Jaime Staples’ Ultimate Sweat competition, and he entered several of the Moneymaker Tour events.

Before Run It Up Reno, he fell short of his goal. But on Tuesday night, he achieved it. He defeated a field of 825 entries and a stacked final table that featured several RIU trophy winners to take down the $86 Moneymaker Spectacular at Run It Up Reno. With the Platinum Pass, Manuel secures himself a seat into the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championsip and an extra $5,000 to take care of travel expenses and lodging.

“I feel really amped and really excited, but I do feel a little emotional,” said Manuel after his victory. “And the reason I feel that way is because I feel like I’ve committed so much time, effort and resources.”

The recently married Brooklyn, NY native even took time away from planning his own wedding to put more time towards his Platinum Pass dream.

“Claire, my new wife, basically planned the end of our wedding because I was doing this,” said Manuel. “And if you’re going to give up time doing something that’s a once in a lifetime thing like getting married to put forth effort in something, it better be worth it.”

Besides putting effort into excelling on the felt, but for his Ultimate Sweat entry, he decided to learn a new language. Over the three-month competition, Manuel documented his journey of learning Japanese.

Learning Japanese served multiple purposes for him. Not only was he giving himself an opportunity to achieve his poker dream. He was going to give himself an opportunity to enjoy his upcoming honeymoon even more than he already would.

“I’ve been to Japan a couple of times and I’ve had really good experiences,” said Manuel. “But I’ve noticed every time that the language barrier has really been significant in my capacity to have a really significant experience there.”

He convinced his wife, Claire, that they should honeymoon there and from there, it was off to the races.

“I was like ‘You know what? If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right. Let’s commit some time and effort to learning the language,'” he said. “It all came together in a way that it was like ‘Shit, I could learn Japanese, maybe win a Platinum¬†Pass, and do something that I wanted to do anyway.’ Also, I don’t speak any other languages and I’ve always been jealous of people that could speak other languages, so it was a really great opportunity to push myself and find something in me to exercise and work towards.”

Manuel documented his journey to learning the language and was a finalist in the Ultimate Sweat competition, but he fell short of winning the pass. If there was ever a place for Manuel to win it, however, it’s at a Run It Up Reno stop.

He has been at every single series since the inception years ago. He loves everything that Run It Up stands for and is one of the most loyal RIU warriors around. In fact, one of the reasons that he is so excited to play the Players Championship is because of the atmosphere that he feels will mimic the Reno stops.

“This is my seventh Reno. I’ve been to every Run It Up Reno,” said Manuel. “I commit a huge portion of my time, life, and effort to playing poker. To being good at poker and enjoying the atmosphere and company of the people I’m playing poker with. And this just seems like a $25,000 version of a Run It Up event because there are going to be a bunch of people in it that would never ben in a $25K any other way.”

At his core though, Manuel wants to improve. He wants to win. He wants to be as good at poker as he possibly can. And he looks at the opportunity to play this event as a way to match wits against some of the best in the world.

And if he doesn’t come away with his own personal Moneymaker story, he will use it as a learning experience moving forward and hopefully become a better player in the process.

“You have to commit to studying and learning the game and understanding how the game is changing,” said Manuel. “This opens up the door to play with these players that I know are thinking on that level or thinking about the game extremely deeply.”

Manuel battled hard throughout the final table and survived ups and downs throughout it, even during his battle with Marty Gorenc heads-up. Gorenc started heads-up play with the chip lead, but scored a timely double up and then made a nice river call to take the lead back.

In the end, his pocket fours bested Gorenc’s king-queen to take down the title and the long-awaited Platinum Pass.

Now that he’s got the pass, the next step is preparing for the Players Championship. What are his expectations? Well, he just wants to focus on the process right now.

“I do know that I will probably spend a little less time studying Japanese and a little more time studying poker over the next few months or so,” he said. “I don’t think I know [my expectations] yet because I don’t think I had been thinking about it. I think I was just thinking about how to get here and then I’d figure it out. That’s where we are right now.”

Full Results:

1st: Nathan Manuel – $30,000 Platinum Pass
2nd: Marty Gorenc – $10,000
3rd: Jacob Gordon – $5,100
4th: Thomas Cook – $3,460
5th: Garhett Houston – $2,415
6th: Andrew Cha – $1,700 + seat into Platinum Pass Freeroll (RIU gear last longer winner)
7th: Jim Brundige – $1,235
8th: Hayden Fortini – $1,080
9th: Anders Dahmaug – $960
10th: Ryan Meyer – $960
11th: Michael Touhey – $855
12th: Ralph Slawson – $855
13th: Ryan Leonis – $760
14th: Brent Waters – $760
15th: Brian Mantay – $680
16th: Casey Miller – $680
17th: Theresa Manalang – $605
18th: Ilana Creed – $605
19th: Christopher Ramos – $605
20th: Hayef Salem – $605
21st: Duran Jefferson – $530
22nd: Lech Boltryk – $530
23rd: Jared Shipley – $465
24th: Brian Lewis – $465
25th: Tyler Quenter – $465
26th: Brandon Carl – $405
27th: Shawn Taplin – $405
28th: Mark Jeans – $405
29th: Lawrence Wishnak – $405
30th: Danny Illingworth – $405
31st: Daniel Brown – $405
32nd: Charles Ambrogi – $405
33rd: Nick Jenkins – $405
34th: James Smith – $345
35th: Michael Uzala – $345
36th: Michael Nikodem – $345
37th: Scott Herrmann – $345
38th: William Burns – $345
39th: Steven Reyes – $345
40th: Stephen Nahm – $345
41st: Andrew Romeo – $345
42nd: Carrie Diggs – $290
43rd: Mike Yoshihara – $290
44th: John Miner – $290
45th: Michael Miller – $290
46th: Angela Jordison – $290
47th: Gary Kraemer – $290
48th: Alan Hartnick – $290
49th: Troy Anderson – $290
50th: Nadia Wanzi – $240
51st: Thomas Brown – $240
52nd: Dylan Hortin – $240
53rd: Stanley Wang – $240
54th: William Burford – $240
55th: Jason Fan – $240
56th: Michael Murphy – $240
57th: Jeffrey Cotton – $240
58th: Mick Langford – $200
59th: Jeff Newman – $200
60th: Andrew Joros – $200
61st: Gus Pasquella – $200
62nd: Ryamond Blerner – $200
63rd: Eric Graziose – $200
64th: Thomas Dell – $200
65th: Feroda Bale – $200
66th: Ricky Guan – $170
67th: Ty Kohler – $170
68th: William Richter – $170
69th: Mackenzie Boyd – $170
70th: Kenneth Adams – $170
71st: Ben Spragg – $170
72nd: Tyson Apostol – $170
73rd: Michael Hofer – $170
74th: Kimberly Kilrdy – $170
75th: Stuart Kerridge – $170
76th: Kyle Besaw – $170
77th: Richard Weight – $170
78th: Jon Gisuer – $170
79th: Todd Huume – $170
80th: Jeffrey Champman – $170
81st: Dan Bhilliler – $170
82nd: Brian Mikesh – $150
83rd: DJ Fenton – $150
84th: Bohad Zhu – $150
85th: Rami Abdella – $150
86th: Steven Irwin – $150
87th: Travis Francis – $150
88th: Karmjit Singh – $150
89th: John Boriold – $150
90th: Patrick Vu – $150
91st: Kent Jorgensen – $150
92nd: Haven Werner – $150
93rd: Joe Stapleton – $150
94th: Jagadeesh Vallabhaneni – $150
95th: Frank Chirter – $150
96th: Rosario Irwin – $150
97th: Cheng Yang – $150
98th: Todd Ayres – $145
99th: Adam Johnson – $145
100th: Jon Wallace – $145
101st: Nicholas Gaeta – $145
102nd: Edward Kriston – $145
103rd: Isaac Leong – $145
104th: Michael Lacer – $145
105th: Michael Valenti – $145
106th: Jaime Staples – $145
107th: Michael Stone – $145
108th: Shawn Tan – $145
109th: Walter Jenkins -$145
110th: Parry Shoemaker – $145
111th: Curtis Decew – $145
112th: Thomas Seefeld – $145
113th: Daniel Posey – $140
114th: Samuel Rubin – $140
115th: Jordan Spurlin – $140
116th: Randy Snodgrass – $140
117th: Kathy Liebert – $140
118th: Brett Gordon – $140
119th: Claudio Elizalde – $140
120th: Stephen Knapp – $140
121st: David Vanepps – $140
122nd: Marcus Alvin – $140
123rd: Cardl Draut – $140
124th: Crystal Hutchens – $140
125th: Noel Edwards – $140
126th: Deborah Sternberg – $140
127th: David Oppenheim – $140
128th: Edwin Nelson – $140