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It`s been a hectic past few days at Casino Deltin Royale as the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) India continued to draw in massive player fields with players flying in to participate in the poker extravaganza from all around the country. Taking proceedings forward was the third event on the schedule i.e. ₹25K Big Bounty that got rolling on Thursday. With the event allowing a single re-entry the final tally came in at 276 entries (221 unique and 51 re-entries).
After over nine hours of play, the field was whittled down to 21 players and it was Alok Birewar (369,000) who bagged the biggest stack amongst them all. A regular at the domestic and Asian circuit, Ahmedabad-basedBirewar has been a consistent winner with seven-figure scores in several domestic and international tournaments over the past two years. In 2017, Birewar finished runner-up in the ₹15K PLO at the April Edition of the DPT for ₹3.02 Lakhs. Later, he scored a fourth-place finish in the 2017 APT Macau HK$3,300 NLHE event for ₹2.52 Lakhs. His top scores this year include a title win at the 2018 DPT Feb edition ₹65K high Roller where he pocketed his career-best live cash of ₹17.74 Lakhs. Birewar followed it up with a runner-up finish in the ₹65K High Roller at DPT July edition for ₹18.70 Lakhs. Birewar also ran commendably deep to finish third in the RUB30,300 NLHE Single Re-entry Event at 2018 EPT Sochi, adding ₹8.78 Lakhs to his scorecard.
Birewar has stiff competition to wade off in his fight for the title since the list of Day 2 qualifiers is dotted with some of the best players in the country. Among the 20 other contenders for the title are some familiar names like Arjun Agarwal (336,000), Rajnish Kumar (305,000), Zarvan Tumboli (284,000), Raghav Bansal (172,000), Sanjay Taneja (156,000), Raghavendra Rajanna (125,000), Sameer Tavanandi (59,000) and Abhishek Rathod (100,000).
Arjun Agarwal (336,000), who finished 12th for ₹81,300 in the series-opener ₹25K Kickoff, follows Birewar by a close margin.
For Young Gun, Rajnish Kumar (305,000) is today a well-known high stakes cash game regular on the domestic circuit. In July 2017, Kumar won the DPT High Roller for ₹32.47 Lakhs and continued to win accolades, claiming the 2017 WPT India ₹100K High Roller for ₹36.38 Lakhs last November. Given his track-record, Kumar could easily be one of the frontrunners for the title today.
Winner of the 2018 WPT Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Cup Zarvan Tumboli (284,000) is another tough contender for the title given his winning streak on the online felts lately. He headlined the winner’s list last Sunday after winning the Baazi Super Sunday (BSS) SuperStack ₹15 Lakhs GTD on for ₹3 Lakhs. The MadOverPoker pro will be looking to recreate the magic on the live felts as he comes into the final day as one of the top 10 stacks.
Another Indian pro with an enviable international record, Raghav Bansal (172,000) is also in the running.
Defending champion Sameer Tavanandi (59,000) is another well-known pro who made the cut for Day 2. Tavanandi, who won this very event last season, will need to chip up fast given his short stack, if he is to defend his title today. Last year Tavanandi had outlasted a field of 128 entries and dominated a fierce heads-up clash with EkaVedantham to win the title and ₹5.47 lakhs in cash prize.
2018 WPT India ₹25,000 Big Bounty NLH kicked off in the later hours of Thursday. The event got off to a decent start but the field expanded fast with 210 entries by the time Level 4 was reached. The final tally came in at276 entries that included 51 re-entries. Each bounty in the event was worth ₹11,000. The entry field built a prize pool of ₹34,88,640 and the top 35 spots were to take home a min-cash of at least ₹25,000.
As has been the norm at the series so far, many seasoned hands were seen in the mix. Adda52 Team Pros Amit Jain and Kunal Patni, 2018 WPT Vietnam Main Event winner Dhaval Mudgal, popular vloggerVikram Kumar, and Jasven Saigal were all busy in action, but none among them managed to last the days onslaught.
The money bubble stage came around Level 15 where 36 players were left standing and hand-for-hand play was initiated as the bubble approached. It didn`t take long for bubble to burst.
Play continued for more than an hour before the final 21 players bagged up for the night. Alok Birewar (369,000) bagged the overnight chip lead followed by Arjun Agarwal (336,000) and Vinay SK (314,000).
While seasoned pro Rajnish Kumar (305,000) and Zarvan Tumboli (284,000) headline the big stacks today, there are a number of other players to watch out for. These include Raghav Bansal (172,000) and Tathagata Sengupta (133,000) who finished third for ₹4.25 Lakhs in the ₹35K Main Event of 2018 BLT third edition. Sravanth Reddy (172,000), who finished 16th for ₹1,06,700 and Loveleen Singh (67,000), who took 27th place for ₹53,000 at the recently concluded ₹35KSuperstackrespectively are among the other dark horses in the running.
1.Alok Birewar – 369,000
2.Arjun Agarwal – 336,000
3. Vinay SK – 314,000
4. Rajnish Kumar –305,000
5. ZarvanTumboli – 284,000
6. Pankaj Gulati – 275,000
7. Deepak Bothra – 236,000
8. Vaibhav Shah -235,000
9. Siddharth Kripalani – 191,000
10. Neemal Shah – 186,000
Content and images courtesy: onlinepokernews.in/PokerNews India
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Vinay SK, Sravanth Reddy, Loveleen Singh, Tathagata Sengupta, Arjun Agarwal, Jasven Saigal, Kunal Patni, Amit Jain, Vikram Kumar, Dhaval Mudgal