8 mins Read
Virtual skill-based gaming site 9stacks, has been making waves as the startup to watch out for in the Indian online poker industry. Known for its innovative contests and tournaments, it has emerged as the go to website for online poker lovers across the country. Aiming at becoming a platform that encourages poker players of different skill levels, 9stacks launched the #LFGVegas contest which required players to accumulate loyalty points or StackUp points, over a period of four months. The winners get a trip to Vegas during the WSOP season- a dream combination for every poker aficionado.
Players who hit the Platinum stack (Level 42) won flight tickets to Vegas plus 11 nights stay at Hotel Rio in Las Vegas along with a bankroll worth $999. Players who further crossed Platinum and hit the Uranium stack (Level 75) won the entry fee to the 2018 WSOP Main event, worth a whopping $10,000!!!
By sponsoring the largest contingent of 25 passionate poker players to Las Vegas for the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), 9stacks has upped the game, opening for them the gates to international competitive felts. While some of the players have already reached Sin City, others will get there by July 3, and the team will stay there till July 15.
While 9stacks was initially eyeing take at least 15 poker players to the WSOP this year, the overwhelming response from the poker community to the #LFG Vegas challenge saw over 40 players winning the all-expenses paid Vegas trip. After factoring in visas and personal commitments, 25 players are making the trip this year.
The current team consists of a mix of professional poker players like Vivek ‘Ibeasteverything’ Rughani, Nishant ‘DoJingBULLETS’ Sharma, Arsh ’BigggTymeR’ Grover, Mayank Jaggi, Pranay Kapoor, Pratibha Arya, Sanjay ‘Werewolf’ Taneja, Saurabh ‘NewKidInTown’ Arora, and Harsh Dhingra, as well as regular players like Dinesh ‘FI$H’ Singh, Vishal ‘Spartacus’ Tulsyan, Amresh ‘Termi’ Kumar, Prateek ‘Bajatey Raho’ Mishra, Divanshu ‘f1sh’ Khurana, Amit ‘rounderzz’ Khanna, Naman ‘Oblivious’ Gulati, Nishaant S, Pratik ‘Lazybones’ Kumar, Sandeep ‘LFGVegas’ Narayanan, and Sagar ‘ Dont3BetMe’ Chaudhary. Relative newbies like Nitin Ranka and Ravi Shankar have also made the cut. Most of these players would be going to Vegas during the WSOP season for the first time.
Vivek Rughani and Nishant Sharma have started the Vegas grind already, representing India at the Venetian MonsterStack 1M GTD NLH tournament. Both the pros will have healthy stacks going into the Day 2 of the tournament. Nishant has also won the satellite for the $3,500 buy-in Venetian Monsterstack $1M GTD tournament, to be played on July 1.
Rughani loves his pocket Aces and never turns down an opportunity to play them the way they deserve to be played, ultra-aggressively. Nishant on the other hand believes that “a pair of balls beat everything in poker”. Words to live by!
All of 22, Arsh Grover is one of the youngest and brightest stars in the Indian poker universeand will be seen very soon in Vegas when he flies out in the following week. Grover developed a liking for poker years ago and went all-in after he graduated from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. He has been improving his game by exposing himself to all kinds of tournament structures and formats.
Mayank ‘AlwaysLimpAA’ Jaggi has been around the poker circuit for a long time now and plays to win at all times. His record of wins at all the major tournaments happening in India is super impressive, though he hilariously trolls his performance each time by saying its “All Luck, no skill”. His stint at the WSOP this year will be quite interesting to follow.
Vishal ‘Spartacus’ Tulsyan was the fastest player on 9stacks to storm his way into the Platinum Stack and then later the Uranium stack. He cracked the Platinum level in a week on 9stacks and then took just another four days to reach level 75 to win his Main Event ticket!
Sanjay ‘Werewolf’ Taneja is a well-known face in the poker industry and has been to Vegas and played at the WSOP before. He’s also a well-known photographer and actor, having appeared in movies such as Delhi Belly.
Amresh Kumar who goes by the moniker ‘Termi’ was introduced to poker at a home game hosted by his friends. Few months into the game, he realised he had a strong aptitude for the game and liked certain formats of the game more than others. “Termi” was one of the early birds to crack the #LFG Vegas contest, and eventually won the Main Event package as well.
Dinesh ‘FI$H’ Singh started out playing Teen Patti and was introduced to poker by office colleagues. He went on to play the game on a regular basis, rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the country. This is the first time he’s going to Vegas and will realise his dream of playing poker at the Rio and the Venetian.
Newbies Nitin Ranka and Ravi Shankar will be making their maiden trips to Vegas. Interestingly, both these players, one an IIT-KGP graduate, and the other an IIM-K graduate, began their online poker journey on 9stacks itself, and around the same time. They studied the game, practiced their skills on the platform and are now flying to Vegas as part of the hard-earned trip!
Amit Khanna who considers himself a recreational poker player, cracked the #LFG Vegas contest while working hard at the office. It is his first time at WSOP as well. Known online as ‘@rounderzz’, Khanna has done really well throughout the #LFG Vegas promotion and has won many mini contests running simultaneously on 9stacks.
Of late, the poker industry in India has slowly been increasing its representation in the WSOP, an estimated 40 Indians participating in 2017. However, 9stacks is the only company to put this within reach of a large number of its players, also encouraging a mutual support system within the sponsored group so that the players can help each other achieve greater heights.
Seeing the tremendous response to the #LFG Vegas challenge, 9stacks is looking to blow up the Indian poker scene further in 2019 and send a team of 100 poker players to Las Vegas next year!