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A lot can change in two days! When we spoke to Nitin Arora on Monday during one of the breaks on Day 2 of the 2022 Baazi Poker Tour ₹35K Main Event, he was upbeat – even confident – although upset about not having won too many titles other than his four-time Destiny-winning streak. On Wednesday, all that changed when he outran a stacked final table to win the BPT Main Event crown for his first recorded live MTT finish. Arora chopped the Main Event title heads-up with WSOP bracelet winner Aditya Sushant, collecting a career-best ₹42.70 Lakhs.
Talking about his win, Arora said, “I just like to thank my mom, she’s been in Goa for the past five days. She came to rail me. This is the first live series that has turned profitable for the first time, maybe because of her.”
As for facing Sushant in the heads-up match, Arora added, “The only edge I had against him was that he didn’t know me. I have been grinding online for the past two years, I have been putting a lot of volume, so I know how good he is. I think the only edge I had was I could play the most solid game that I could have.”
On the final hand, Arora admitted – “Actually, I misread my stack; I thought I had 30 big blinds. I even asked him, are you covering me? So I guess that worked out for me. I thought I had 30 bigs, so I shoved. If I knew I had 40 bigs, I would have flatted the hand.”
Aditya Sushant, India’s first WSOP bracelet champion, was the hot favorite to take down the title as he entered the heads-up with an over 2-to-1 chip lead on Arora. Still, the latter held his ground well. He closed the gap fast, and both players locked in a deal that awarded the better payout to Sushant, who was ahead at the time – leaving ₹2 Lakhs and the title in play.
The heads-up dragged on for almost two hours, with both players unrelenting in their efforts to win the title. Arora doggedly chipped away at Sushant’s lead and pulled ahead after making a 4-bet jam in arguably one of the best hands of the Main Event. With the pot going Arora’s way, he quickly took down the record-breaking event after coming out ahead on a flip with his pocket fives holding up against Sushant’s ace-ten.
Unquestionably the most experienced player on the FT, Sushant has won seven live tournament titles on home soil, including two at IPC, one at DPT, two at Baadshah Gaming Live, and a WPT India title. Though denied another victory, the online maestro walked away with a bigger paycheque of ₹45.30 Lakhs!
Praising the winner, Sushant later said, “I knew that he’s one of the better players on the table. He plays quite a bit online himself. I was prepared for a tough fight, and overall, I was pretty impressed by his play…credit to him, very happy for him.”
Despite finishing runner-up, Sushant underlined this was his first big score this year and sounded happy about how things went.
The BPT Main Event shattered all past records for live tournaments in India, bringing in a 900-entry field to collect a whopping ₹2.96 Crore prize pool. This was the biggest prize money generated in a ₹35,000 buy-in Main Event in India and the second-largest overall in a live MTT in the country.
Only 179 players returned on Day 2, but the start time suffered a two-hour delay owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Goa. Once Day 2 started at 4 PM, it took a marathon 13 hours for the field to whittle down to the final table.
Another top pro and the 2020 India Poker Champion, Rubin Labroo, bubbled the FT in the wee hours on Tuesday morning in 10th place, collecting ₹4.19 Lakhs.
Nitin Arora (5,580,000) was second in chips once the FT was formed, behind Rugal Advani (5,880,000), while Aditya Sushant (4,190,000) bagged the third most-massive stack.
The final table was pushed to Wednesday, giving players over a day`s rest. The entire FT play was live-streamed on a 15-minute delay. You can watch the FT replay below.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The former IOPC – Blaze champion Harshad Barve was one of the most active players on the final table! The long-time cash game reg from Pune held an above-average stack for the majority of his FT stay and had his moments. However, two hands saw him exiting in ninth place. Ironically Barve was ahead in both hands but got unlucky. His final clash was with Rishab Malik, who jammed . Barve called off with . Malik spiked an eight on the runout , ending Barve’s tournament run in ninth place.
In less than 30 minutes, Shian Hossain was shown the door in eighth place. Hossain lost most of his stack to Abhishek Paul, and two hands later, he moved all-in with . Rohit Jinwal called with . The board ran and Jinwal took down the pot with the top pair.
The former BPT Highroller champion Rohit Jinwal couldn`t ladder up further and busted in seventh place. The hand in question saw Aditya Sushant open UTG+1 with . The action folded to Jinwal, who looked down at and fired a three-bet of 800K. The blinds folded, and Sushant jammed, putting Jinwal in a tank. Jinwal eventually decided to call, and the dealer peeled off the , keeping Sushant ahead with two-pair.
The play slowed down, and it wasn’t until an hour later that the next elimination came about. Kolkata-based Abhishek Paul held the shortest stack starting out but laddered up. Paul eventually ran his into Rugal Advani’s . Advani rivered a flush on the board , sending Paul to the rail in sixth place.
Another 35 minutes later, Avinash Tauro lost all his chips to Aditya Sushant. The bracelet winner limped from the small blind with , and Tauro called with [h0]. The flop [ completed a straight for Sushant, who bet 150K. Tauro called. After the turn, Sushant bet 450K, and Tauro, sensing this was the perfect spot to jam after turning two-pair, moved all-in for his last 3.1 Million. Sushant snap-called. The completed the board, busting Tauro in fifth place.
Over the next two hours, Rishab Malik lost most of his stack to become the short stack. Out of options, Malik open-shoved his seven BB stack on the button with , and Aditya Sushant looked him up with . The board ran and Sushant collected the pot, eliminating Malik in fourth place.
The final table was down to heads-up in under 10 minutes, with the start-of-day chip leader Rugal Advani falling in third place. Undoubtedly the most unpredictable and entertaining player on the FT, Advani fell into Sushant`s trap, who slowly played his from the small blind. Advani jammed with , and Sushant snap-called. Advani was looking for an ace but failed to connect on the runout, becoming Sushant’s fourth victim on the final table.
Heads-up, Sushant had an overwhelming chip lead with 19 Million versus Nitin Arora’s 7.6 Million.
The duo played for less than an hour before cutting a deal. Sushant held almost 17 Million in chips while Arora had moved up to 10 Million. The former locked in ₹45.30 Lakhs and Arora assured himself at least ₹40.70 Lakhs. They resumed the heads-up for the BPT Main Event crown, and the ₹2 Lakhs left in play.
If Sushant was the clear favorite to win the title, Arora proved everyone wrong. The heads-up finally lasted over two hours, and towards the end, Arora made an epic 4-bet jam with ace-six versus Sushant’s king-ten to grab the chip lead. It was over soon, and the last hand saw Sushant opening on the button for 650K. Arora moved all-in with , and Sushant counted his stack before putting it all in the middle. The board panned out , and Arora’s pocket fives held up, making him the new Baazi Poker Tour Main Event champion!
Final Table Results (INR)
*denotes a heads-up deal