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Chirag Sodha Wins NPS#83 Main Event For a Career-Best ₹44.84 Lakhs, Chops the Title With Ritesh Kumar

Chirag Sodha Wins NPS#83 Main Event
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  • Namita Ghosh March 25, 2022
  • 4 Minutes Read

“I feel great; this is definitely my biggest win, biggest final table. At the moment, it’s all unreal but feels awesome. A bunch of friends made it all the more special!” said an excited Chirag Sodha, minutes after taking down the ₹3 Crores GTD NPS Main Event for a career-best ₹44.84 Lakhs. There was a boisterous rail of friends and former colleagues cheering him on the FT as he went on to win the prestigious title.

Sodha, the former PokerBaazi LIVE poker room manager, held a commanding chip lead coming into the FT, and he had a distinct advantage. The FT was teeming with relative newcomers, PokerGuru Ambassador Ashutosh Balodhi being his most significant threat. Moreover, two players on the eight-handed final table didn’t show up, effectively giving the others a two-place jump on the payouts table.

The NPS flagship final tables are part of the Baazi Poker Tour schedule and have been running alongside the BPT events at the PokerBaazi LIVE poker room at Casino Majestic Pride in Goa since Wednesday. The NPS Main Event was the second of three NPS FTs on the schedule to crown a winner. The online leg of the NPS Main Event logged in a giant 6,202-entry field across eight starting flights last week, generating a guarantee-crushing ₹3.10 Crores prize pool. Day 2 ran from 9 PM to 4:01 AM on Sunday, stopping following the ninth-place elimination of PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Ahuja (9th for ₹4.16 Lakhs).

While all eyes were on the NPS Main Event final table, the poor connectivity at the casino was a dampener since the event could not be live-streamed. Despite the constraints, the PokerGuru coverage team provided frequent updates from ground zero, and Sodha was hands down the star of the day. Come Wednesday afternoon, Sodha played the game the best he could. He went wire-to-wire, eventually striking a heads-up deal with Ritesh Kumar, to lock paydays, leaving only the NPS gold medal and ₹1 Lakh to play for. Sodha won that too, and his first live tournament title in style!

Speaking of his heads-up deal with Ritesh Kumar, Sodha said, “I have learned over time that it’s not necessary to think that if you’re a better player, you won’t make a deal. I think that’s wrong. So, I took a break spoke to my friends about it. At the same time, he (Ritesh Kumar) came to me saying the same thing. We still had the medal to play for, so I’m happy about it.”

Ritesh Kumar
Ritesh Kumar


Sodha admitted he was raring to play live poker after such a long gap. Even with the NPS Main Event final table coming up the next day, Sodha registered for the ₹15K Kickoff on Tuesday to get the feel of the live felts again. With the NPS title in his bag, Sodha is already looking forward to playing all the remaining tournaments on the BPT schedule.

We sat down with Chirag Sodha for a chat shortly after he took down the NPS Main Event title. You can watch the interview below.

Sodha and Balodhi were the only two regs on the final table. So what was Sodha’s strategy on the final table? “In terms of strategy, it was pretty basic; I didn’t want to take too many hands against Balodhi initially, especially not take any big flips…you have to do it eventually…in the end, it just turned out well,” Sodha clarified.

However, we have to hand it out to Ritesh Kumar. The cash game player had won his way into the NPS Main Event through a deposit offer and converted it into a career-defining finish! His run on the final table was awe-inspiring. Despite sporting a short stack at the start of the FT, he displayed remarkable perseverance and played his spots just right to walk away with a shining NPS silver medal and ₹39.34 Lakhs in prize money.

Final Table Chip Counts

1. Chirag’ miyagi’ Sodha – 208,000

2. Ashutosh’ senojwod’ Balodhi – 200,000

3. Saroj’ eureka7777′ Mehta – 123,000

4. Vikram ‘Poker_lover’ Mishra – 108,000

5. Rajesh’ path1716′ Pawar – 85,000

6. Vikash ‘Vikash142’ Kumar – 69,000

7. Thakurlal ‘thakurlalyadav’ Yadav – 60,000

8. Ritesh ‘riteish0911’ Kumar – 32,000


Final Table Recap

In a surprising turn of events, two finalists didn’t show up today, and both were blinded out. Thakurlal Yadav got blinded out in eighth place, followed by Rajesh Pawar in seventh place.

Saroj Mehta made the best of her stack, cashing in sixth place. The relatively inexperienced player waited patiently for the absent seats to be blinded out before jamming . She got a call from PokerGuru Ambassador Ashutosh Balodhi, who held pocket nines. Mehta failed to connect and was shown the door.

Saroj Mehta
Saroj Mehta


Next up, Vikash Kumar ran his into Ritesh Kumar’s , losing his tournament life in fifth place.

Chirag Sodha kept chipping up and claimed his next victim in Vikram Mishra. Sodha jammed with and Mishra snap-called with . Both players hit the ten on the board , but Sodha’s ace-kicker kept him ahead, eliminating Vikram Mishra in fourth place.

Vikram Mishra
Vikram Mishra


PokerGuru Ambassador Ashutosh Balodhi held the second chip lead entering the FT and seemed to be on track to follow his stablemate and the recent NPS #69 – Super Highroller champion Kartik Ved. However, Balodhi didn’t get the start he was expecting. He doubled the short-stacked Ritesh Kumar twice and eventually lost all his chips to him. The hand in question saw Ritesh Kumar open on the button, and Balodhi defended his big blind with . Kumar bet the flop and Balodhi check-called. The turn was the , and both players checked their options. The fell on the river, and Kumar jammed for 165K. Balodhi left with his last 41K, called, only to see the bad news.

Ashutosh Balodhi
Ashutosh Balodhi


The heads-up between Chirag Sodha and Ritesh Kumar began with Sodha holding a dominating 567,500 in chips vs. Kumar’s 317,500. The two players struck a deal during the break, even before the heads-up match could begin. Sodha, who had the chip advantage locked in ₹43.84 Lakhs, while Kumar assured himself an impressive ₹30.34 Lakhs.

With the payouts decided, the duo resumed play to fight for the NPS gold medal and ₹1 Lakh cash prize kept in play. It didn’t take Sodha long to clinch the title. On the deciding hand, Sodha open-shoved , and Kumar, who was staring at an 8-to-1 chip deficit, made the easy call with . The board ran out , and Sodha rivered a flush to emerge as the new NPS Main Event champion.

Chirag Sodha
Chirag Sodha


Final Table Results

1. Chirag Sodha – ₹44.84 Lakhs*

2. Ritesh Kumar – ₹39.34 Lakhs*

3. Ashutosh Balodhi – ₹20.90 Lakhs

4. Vikram Mishra – ₹13.99 Lakhs

5. Vikash Kumar- ₹10.17 Lakhs

6. Saroj Mehta – ₹8.09 Lakhs

7. Rajesh Pawar – ₹6.61 Lakhs

8. Thakurlal Yadav – ₹5.30 Lakhs

*denotes a heads-up deal


Keep following PokerGuru for the latest updates from the National Poker Series FTs and the 2022 Baazi Poker Tour!

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