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The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here! Seasoned pro Raghav Bansal and PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Ahuja are within striking distance of the coveted WSOP gold bracelet, as both Indian challengers have waltzed their way into the final day of Event #42: $600 Mixed NL Hold’em/PL Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed with only eight players left in contention.
The day opened with 195 runners returning to the felts for Day 2 and among them were a group of four Indian contenders. After around 14 levels of play, eight finalists progressed to the final day.
Kolkata-born poker pro Raghav Bansal has been a familiar face at the WSOP since 2015 when he banked his maiden WSOP score in Event #28: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em MONSTER STACK finishing 492nd for $3,980 (~₹2.77 Lakhs). Since then he has collected a total of 22 cashes at the series, including a final table finish in 2015’s Event #47: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em where he placed ninth for $39,508 (~₹27.51 Lakhs), taking his career WSOP winnings to $213,973 (~₹1.49 Crores).
Bansal had entered Day 2 with the 18th largest stack of 723,000. Though he had a shaky start, he bamboozled his way into the nine-handed unofficial final table with the biggest stack of 13.9 Million. En route the final table, Bansal eliminated the likes of Seth Krasne, Konstantin Puchkov, Timothy Vukson, Brandon Lamora and Sam Razavi. He would have ended Day 2 in the pole position had it not been for the last 2-3 hands of the day where Rainer Kempe doubled up through him, while Adam Lamphere eliminated Simon Samokovski to take the chip lead away from Bansal. Nonetheless, he is placed third among the final eight with 9.3 Million in chips.
The other Indian on the final table is none other than PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Ahuja who has already scripted a dream debut run at this year’s WSOP. After picking up his maiden WSOP score in Event #16: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed where he finished 142nd for $2,742(~₹1.90 Lakhs), he went on to score in the Millionaire Maker (133rd for $8,893 – ₹6.17 Lakhs) and Event #28: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em (309th for $1,612 – ₹1.11 Lakhs). However, his best win at the series so far came in Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em, where he unluckily missed the gold bracelet, finishing 15th for $37,421 (~₹26.06 Lakhs).
The hardworking player entered Day 2 with an above-average stack of 458,000 and began to dominate the competition right from the get-go. Fondly addressed as ‘Rocky’ by his peers, Ahuja ‘Balboaed’ into the final table despite being seated alongside poker powerhouses like Dan Matsuzuki, Sam Razavi and Calvin Anderson. The Indian player ended the day with the sixth biggest stack of 6,975,000 heading into the final day.
While both Bansal and Ahuja are assured to take home a min-cash of $21,469 (~₹14.95 Lakhs), they will have their eyes set on the grand prize of $194,759 (~₹1.35 Crores), not to forget the added pressure of chasing India’s first solo WSOP bracelet.
Two other Indians – PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved (164th for $1,357 – ₹94,499) and Yudhishter Jaswal (132nd for $1,357 – ₹94,499), also picked up scores in the event.
The remaining eight players will return for the final day, led by Adam Lamphere (17,200,000), at 12 PM (Pacific Time Zone) on June 20.
Event #42: $600 Mixed NL Hold’em/PL Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed – Day 2
Four Indians had charged into Day 2, along with 191 other survivors in hopes of winning the prestigious gold bracelet. After 12 hours of grueling play, only eight players were left in the running.
PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved was the first Indian to be eliminated on Day 2. Ved got into a three-way hand against Brandon Lamora and Diego Goncalves. Lamora’s won the pot and the losing hands were and . Though it was unclear from the live coverage which hand belonged to Ved, nevertheless, the young pro was eliminated in 164th place for $1,357 (~₹94,499). This was Ved’s fifth score at this year’s series.
Yudhishter Jaswal was the next player from the Indian battalion to be eliminated. He was eliminated in 132nd place and collected $1,357 (~₹94,499).
Coming back to the two Indian finalists, we start with PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Ahuja who seems to be unstoppable at the moment! He had an extraordinary run in Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em where he almost won India her first solo bracelet but sadly finished 15th for $37,421 (~₹26.06 Lakhs), following a bad run of cards. Not letting the missed opportunity deter him, Ahuja straightaway jumped into Event #42: $600 Mixed NL Hold’em/PL Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed and cruised his way into Day 2 with 458,000 in chips.
Ahuja first turned up on Day 2’s live coverage when he won a massive pot against Jakub Olivia. During level 26, following a series of pre-flop raises, Ahuja and Olivia both had all their chips in the middle. Ahuja was the player at risk.
The runout brought and gave both players full houses, however, Ahuja’s pocket rockets won him the pot, taking his stack to 1,780,000, while Oliva was left with 870,000 in the bag.
With only the final 24 players left, Ahuja was among the top stacks, in fact, he had the sixth largest stack of 4,100,000. When the last two tables were redrawn, Ahuja found himself seated alongside Dan Matsuzuki, Sam Razavi and Calvin Anderson.
Nevertheless, the promising talent fought his way through to the final table, accompanied by fellow countryman Raghav Bansal.
Bansal, who is an experienced player, had an eventful time at the WSOP last year, with his best score coming in the Millionaire Maker where he finished 21st for $40,898 (~₹27.64 Lakhs). He has already banked two scores in this year’s series.
Bansal started his day by losing a hand to Stephen Hubbard but made up for it soon enough and by level 29, he had the ninth biggest stack of 3,150,000 with only 24 players left in contention.
Soon after that, Bansal went on a rampage orchestrating back-to-back eliminations of Seth Krasne and Konstantin Puchkov.
First to go was Krasne when his ran into Bansal’s which bettered to a two pair on the board , ending Krasne’s run in 18th place for $6,495.
Next in the line-up was Puchkov whose were bested by Bansal’s , with the community cards missing both players. Bansal’s queen kicker held on, knocking Puchkov out in 17th place for $6,495.
With the final two tables in the running, Bansal had amassed the third largest stack of 5,600,000 and showed no signs of slowing down.
In a fascinating show of poker skills, Bansal sent Sam Razavi (10th for $16,603), Brandon Lamora (14th for $10,198) and Timothy Vukson (15th for $8,102) to the rail.
With the flop open , Vukson check-raised all-in with and Bansal called with . The and completed the board. Bansal’s pair of aces ousted Vukson from the tournament.
Brandon Lamora became Bansal’s next victim. Lamora’s were cracked by Bansal’s . The board bricked and Bansal’s cowboys were enough to eliminate Lamora.
Renowned British pro and quadruple APT POY Sam Razavi had to don the unfortunate tag of the final table bubble. Razavi jammed pre-flop with and Bansal called holding . The community fanned out bringing Bansal a Broadway straight and dismissing Razavi in 10th place.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Raghav Bansal – 13,900,000
2. Dan Matsuzuki – 13,750,000
3. Adam Lamphere – 12,900,000
4. Aristeides Moschonas – 7,950,000
5. Stephen Ma – 7,100,000
6. Ashish Ahuja – 6,800,000
7. Daniel Marovec – 3,800,000
8. Rainer Kempe – 3,400,000
9. Simon Samokovski – 2,280,000
Final Table Recap
Raghav Bansal and PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Ahuja had both stormed into the final table. While Bansal was the chip leader, Ahuja held the sixth biggest stack.
However, right at the start of the final table, Bansal lost some of his chips to the newly appointed brand ambassador of GreySnowPoker – Rainer Kempe. Bansal opened from early position with and Kempe shoved all-in from the cutoff with . Action folded back to Bansal who made the call, putting Kempe’s tournament life at risk. The board revealed , and Kempe hit a clubs flush on the river to retain his seat at the final table, while Bansal’s stack came down to 10,600,000.
Less than five minutes later, the shortest stack, Simon Samokovski announced all-in with and Adam Lamphere woke up with on the button. The rundown came and Lamphere flopped a set of kings, eliminating Samokovski in ninth place.
With eight finalists remaining, the play was halted for the night and will reconvene later tonight on the central Feature Table in the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Adam Lamphere has bagged the overnight chip lead with 17,200,000 in chips. Bansal is placed third in stacks with 9,300,000, while Ahuja holds the sixth position with a count of 6,975,000.
Final Day Chip Counts
1. Adam Lamphere – 17,200,000
2. Dan Matsuzuki – 14,000,000
3. Raghav Bansal – 9,300,000
4. Rainer Kempe – 8,000,000
5. Aristeidis Moschonas – 7,325,000
6. Ashish Ahuja – 6,975,000
7. Stephen Ma – 6,325,000
8. Daniel Moravec – 2,950,000
Content & Images Courtesy: World Series of Poker
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