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November 16 turned out to be a busy day at Casino Deltin Royale, for not only did the ₹25K Big Bounty NLH come to a close, the much-awaited ₹55K Main Event of the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) India got off to a roaring start. The ₹25K Big Bounty obliterated last year’s 128-entry mark, registering a total of 276 entries, which included 221 unique and 51 re-entries, making for a total prize pool of ₹34.88 Lakhs. Outmanoeuvring the aggressive field was Alok Birewar (cover image), who bagged his career-first WPT title.
En-route to capturing his first-ever WPT title, Birewar faced some tough competition, but with grit and determination, the Ahmedabad-based pro overcame the challenges of the two-day long event and was suitably rewarded with the WPT title and ₹7.80 Lakhs in prize money.
A familiar face on the domestic circuit, Birewar has scored in numerous local tournaments, most notably, the 2018 DPT Feb edition ₹65K high Roller which he won for ₹17.74 Lakhs. He has also had many successful international outings, especially at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi, where he finished third in the ₽30,300 No Limit Hold’em Single Re-Entry for ₹8.78 Lakhs, and at WPT Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, where he yet again took third in the ₫8,800,000 No Limit Hold’em – Team Freezeout for ₹43,348.
Birewar ended Day 1 as chip leader with a commanding stack of 369,000 but lost the lead to Sanjay Taneja prior to the commencement of the final table. Keeping a steady head, Birewar fought his way through to the heads-up stage where he met Taneja, and following an intense battle, Birewar emerged victorious.
Several top pros and tournament regs were seen in action and among the runners were big names like Adda52 Team Pros Amit Jain and Kunal Patni, Dhaval Mudgal, popular vlogger Vikram Kumar, Adda52 celebrity pro Minissha Lamba and Jasven Saigal.
With the only top 35 spots assured payouts, runners who finished in the money on Day 1 included names like Himanshu Kataria (22nd for ₹30,600), who also finished eighth in the series-opener ₹20K Kickoff NLHE for ₹1,11 Lakhs, Masood Peera (23rd for ₹30,600), Abhinav Jain (24th for ₹30,600), Saraf (25th for ₹25,000), Niharika Bindra (26th for ₹25,000), Rughanandan Singh (27th for ₹25,000), Vikram Kumar (28th for ₹25,000), Anurag Srivastava (29th for ₹25,000), Gokul Krishna (30th for ₹25,000), Ranjeet Negi (31st for ₹25,000), winner of DPT July ₹15K NLH Bounty Abhishek Tibrewala (32nd for ₹25,000), Gaurav Gupta (33rd for ₹25,000), Firoz Khan (34th for ₹25,000) and Manmeet Singh Oberoi (35th for ₹25,000).
Action on Day 2 was fast-paced early on with many quick eliminations –Raghavendra Rajanna (11th for ₹65,400), Shah Neemal Ashwinkumar (12th for ₹65,400), Charshu Deep Singh Raina (13th for ₹56,100), Vinay Boob (14th for ₹56,100), Pankaj Gulati (15th for ₹56,100), Abhishek Rathod (16th for ₹47,200), Grishu Singh (17th for ₹47,200), defending champion Sameer Tavanandi (18th for ₹47,200), Loveleen Singh (19th for ₹38,500), Raghav Bansal (20th for ₹38,500) and Vaibhav Shah (21st for ₹38,500).
Following Rajnish Kumar‘s 10th place finish for ₹65,400, the nine-handed final table convened.
The final table began with Sanjay Taneja holding the biggest stack. The first to depart was the winner of the 2017 WPT India PLO event, Deepak Bothra in ninth place, and he was followed to the rail by Tathagata Sengupta (8th) and Arjun Agarwal (7th).
Picking up his second score in the series, following his 16th place finish in the ₹35K Superstack, Sravanth Reddy ended his run in sixth place.
With only the top five left in the fray, Vinay SK busted out in fifth place, and was joined soon thereafter by Siddharth Kripalani (4th).
Down to three-handed play, MadOverPoker pro Zarvan Tumboli, who has been on a heater of sorts on both the live and online felts, unfortunately failed to make a successful bid for his second WPT tile and was eliminated in third place.
The heads-up match between Sanjay Taneja and Alok Birewar was a hard-fought battle of skills.
On the final hand of the event, both players moved all-in pre-flop. Birewar tabled against Taneja’s . The community cards spread out [13h] and Birewar found an ace on the turn to improve to a pair which ultimately won him his maiden WPT title.
1. Alok Birewar – ₹7,80,000
2. Sanjay Taneja – ₹5,49,600
3. Zarvan Tumboli – ₹3,53,500
4. Siddharth Kripalani – ₹2,17,300
5. Vinay SK – ₹1,67,800
6. Sravanth Reddy – ₹1,39,000
7. Arjun Agarwal – ₹1,16,800
8. Tathagata Sengupta – ₹97,600
9. Deepak Bothra – ₹78,640
Content and images courtesy: onlinepokernews.in/PokerNews India
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