Continuing from where we left off in my previous post, I was the last person to register for the PGT High Roller tourney last Sunday, 36th to be precise and I was allocated Table 6, seat 6. It was an interesting table with Rakesh Sharma on my right and the aggressive Nikhil Maheshwari to my left. Others on my table were Mukund and Anil Gulati. Both Rakesh and Nikhil had eliminated a player each and had pretty healthy stacks early on. Among the initial notable hands I remember calling a raise from Rakesh in position with 8c9c and flopping a flush. There was an Ace on the board as well and I decided to flat call the flop bet from Rakesh hoping he had connected with the Ace on the board. The turn card paired the board and I checked behind having already decided to call the river bet or lead out on the river if checked to. I won a healthy pot there and took my stack close to 36k after that hand.
There was an interesting dynamic going on between me and Nikhil and he had 3 bet me several times when I had opened and most of the times I had to let go of my hand. Also a lot of times it would come folded to me in small blind and I would open and he would just 3 bet from BB. Then just before the 2nd break I picked up KK in a similar spot and I opened, hoping for another 3 bet from Nikhil. As it happened he picked up a legit hand this time and we got it in pre-flop with my cowboys up against his 99. My hand held up and I doubled up to almost 50k at the 2nd break.
Another interesting hand happened after Siddharth Singhvi joined our table with a short stack. He shoved 10 BB from UTG after taking a hard look at the blind levels and the tourney clock being shown on the big screen and I re-shoved AdJd from UTG+1. Mukund and Kavish Kukreja both took their time before deciding to fold and later told me they folded AQ and AK respectively. Siddharth showed up with KK and off we were to the flop. I flopped a J and turned another one to bust Sid and add another 20k to my stack.
Shortly after this we got moved to a new table and I got a seat between Intervention to my right and Bobbe Suri to my left. Bobbe had a big stack and appeared to be playing tight and Intervention was looking to get it in and get a double up. I picked up AJ again when Intervention shoved a 40k stack from UTG! Deja vu, though this time I was up against T8o and much better placed to take down the pot, which I did. The good thing throughout this tourney was that I managed to stay above 20 BB at all levels and was able to raise-fold hands when I thought I was behind and also maintain fold equity when I shoved all in. I pretty much sailed through to the final table picking up a few pots from Bobbe in between and also doubling him back up to 80k when he shoved QTs after I opened with KJo. I was 3rd in chips with 30 BB or about 150k when the final table started and way behind Lawrence who had 350k and a commanding chip lead.
On the final table I bled about 25% of my stack by raise-folding a few hands when Kavish on my left shoved every time I opened and I was down to about 110k. As you will realize soon, the hand of this tournament for me turned out to be AJ and the most critical hand of the tourney for me took place when Nitish opened from UTG with a min-raise and I decided to put it in with AJ. It went around folded to Bobbe who also slid his stack into the middle and I was hoping I wasn’t up against AQ or AK. As it turned out he had pocket Tens and I clipped not one but 2 Aces to knock him out on the bubble and take my stack into 200k territory.
Next to go was Shravan who got short stacked after getting an early double up on the final table and ran his AQss into Nitish’s cowboys and we were down to 5. The next hand was an interesting one and put me in the driver’s seat to take down the tourney.
Mukund, who had been quiet for some time, opened 2.5x and I looked down at KQo. Now Mukund had played pretty solid and I thought he would be folding a lot of his range here to a 3 bet from me. Also Lawrence was in the big blind and considering that he had no need to get involved in a 3 bet pot, I thought it would be a good spot to take down the pot pre flop. So I 3 bet to 5x, planning to fold to any aggression from Mukund and then Lawrence in big blind starts to tank for the longest time while I am staring down Mukund! Lawrence decides to flat call my bet as does Mukund and the only good thing about this hand now seems to be the fact that I have position on both of them! The flop is a magical JT9 with 2 clubs and I hold the Q of clubs. Lawrence checks and Mukund quickly announces all in and slides his stack of over 120k into the middle. He is stunned when I snap re-shove and flip over the nuts! He shows AJ for top pair, top kicker and the A of clubs on the turn makes me sweat a bit but a sweet 5c on the river seals it for me and we are in the chip lead!
Soon after this Kavish shoved his short stack with KQo from UTG and got called by Lawrence with 88 and we were down to 3 players. At this point in time Lawrence and Nitish both had about 300k each and I had 500k and the blinds were at 6k/12k with a 1k ante. We agreed to a deal for the top 3 payouts and decided to play on for the title and the Tag Heuer timepiece.
Nitish busted soon after as Lawrence woke up with KK when Nitish shoved preflop with 88 and we were finally heads-up. Lawrence was pretty keen on taking home the watch and was not willing to give anything away in the heads-up match. I saw him playing some of the tightest poker he has ever played in his life, that’s how desperately he wanted to win that watch!
He came pretty close in a hand where he flat called my pre-flop 3 bet when I held AQ and the flop fell ATx. I led out on the flop and shoved to his 3 bet and he happily called and flipped over AT for 2 pair. The J on the river gave me a few additional outs and the Q on the river pretty much sealed it. All of us thought it was over and I had won but he still had some chips left and he was pretty determined to make a comeback and we were back to the felt! A few hands later we got it in again when I held 33 against his Q8ss. The board paired up twice and he doubled up with Q high but he still had less than 100k and I held a 10-1 chip lead. 2 hands later we got it in again when Lawrence called off my pre-flop shove with KTss and I managed to outlast him this time when I rivered a one card flush with J9o.
I was elated and exhausted at the same time and threw my hands up in the air in celebration. It was one of the most satisfying wins of my poker career and what made it special was that both Lawrence and me made it so far after having been through a tough time on the tables that very weekend. This win has certainly come as a big morale booster and has motivated me to work even harder on my game with the hope of more success in the future. I will cherish these moments for a long time to come and share many more laughs with my good friend Lawrence Sanjay. I only need to flash my watch at him though to make him start talking about revenge!