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Fresh off the felts of Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila, the Indian challengers are grinding their heels for two more exciting poker series coming soon to the Asian circuit. With the World Poker Tour (WPT) making a pronounced ‘Asian Swing’, the 17th edition of WPT will see an added stop at Vietnam that will feature 14 events and run from September 26 to October 4th.
Even as anticipation builds for the new WPT destination, the Indian poker fraternity is getting ready for another WPT stop in Korea. A star attraction at WPT Korea will be the first-ever WPT Global Teams Event that will see some of the world’s best players representing their country. WSOP Tag Team bracelet winner Nikita Luther will lead Team India at the event alongside teammates Kunal Patni, Amit Jain and Dhaval Mudgal.
Opening at Paradise City Casino in Incheon, South Korea from September 18-24, the 2018 WPT Korea will bear witness to some of the most exciting poker action in Asia. For the first time in the history of the series, a team event has been introduced at the stop.
The WPT Global Teams Event features an entry fee of $5,000 (₹3.48 Lakhs) per team. Apart from India, 12 other teams, namely, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, UK, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan have already been finalized.
Captained by Nikita Luther, the Indian Team boasts of an impressive lineup of accomplished players.
While Luther herself has had a fruitful summer at the WSOP this year where she won her maiden bracelet in the WSOP Tag Team event for $87,903 (₹61.35 Lakhs), Kunal Patni boasts of a rich record of scores. His performance this year was headlined by this runner-up finish in the 2018 WPT Berlin Main Event for $115,819 (₹80.83 Lakhs). He picked up another runner-up finish in the 6-handed Shot Clock Event at the 2018 APPT Manila, where he pocketed ₱960,000 (₹12.50 Lakhs).
Amit Jain remains one of the most seasoned players of the Indian circuit with his career-best score coming in the 2017 DPT ₹75K High Roller September edition when he banked ₹24.94 Lakhs in prize money. Dhaval Mudgal who led the PSL Season 2 team Goan Nuts to victory this year is also part of the team.
Together, these formidable four will compete with 15 other teams in the three-day event that opens on September 19.
“I am really excited with the teams and players who have confirmed and my hope is that the WPT Global Teams Event will build in prominence and be a major drawcard on the WPT calendar here in Asia in the future,” WPT Live Events Specialist Danny Mcdonagh said. He added that each team member will get equal playing time in the event.
Luther took to Instagram to announce her presence in the team.
World Poker Tour is hosting its first ever Global Teams Event in Korea next month. There are 16 countries participating including Australia, UK, USA, Honk Kong, Japan. This is Team India and we are gunning for gold! With one helluva beastly line-up, look out, Team India are going to be the next world champions. Special mention to how chivalrous the boys are – to express their pride and support for my bracelet win – they’ve placed me as their Captain. But I’ve learnt more from them than they’ll ever learn from me. Thank you! â¤ï¸Let’s f*ckin do this ðŸ”¥ðŸ”¥ðŸ”¥. . . #TeamIndia #Champions #WPT #Poker #Adda52 #LoveMyTeam #FeelingProud #LetsFight #GloryHunting
“Very excited to be a part of this unique format. It’s inspired by PSL but we will end up representing our country and there isn’t any bigger pride than representing one’s own country. It’s like a dream come true and I am really looking forward to it. We will obviously go for gold. Nikita is in great form right now and she is aggressive and hates losing. It’s great to have her as the captain for team India,” Patni said, about his inclusion in the team.
Meanwhile, Jain was equally excited to be part of the team. “It is a team filled with talent and results speak for them. I have very high expectations from the team. It is great to have Nikita Luther as the captain. She deserves every bit of it. She is one of the most hardworking poker players in the community and is a real inspiration. I look forward to learning from her and working together”.
The WPT Vietnam is another mega series where the Indian runners are expected to come out in large numbers.
Seasoned pro Dhaval Mudgal estimated in his social media post, that participation numbers in the Main Event at WPT Vietnam could well cross 700. While most players have not revealed their travel plans yet, with the manner in which Indian participation in international and Asian events has exploded, it can safely be assumed that the WPT Vietnam is going to see a sizeable Indian representation.
The series will be hosted at the Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam. Headlining the series will be the VND 22 Million (₹68,000) WPT Vietnam Main Event where the ‘who’s who’ of the Asian circuit is expected to be in attendance.
“We are honored to partner with the World Poker Tour and bring WPT Vietnam to Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh,” GAMAX Investment Sports & Entertainment’s Founder and CEO Denis Pham said.
The High Roller event will be another chief attraction at the series and will feature a VND 44 Million buy-in, double that of the Main Event. Another prime event where Team India is expected to be gunning for the top prize is the three-day VND 11 Million WPT Pro Poker Club Superstack Classic.
With these stops, WPT is making a huge statement to reiterate its commitment towards taking to Asia in a bigger way. WPT’s 2018 roster of events for Asia was announced in July, with a schedule of stops in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and India.
Mcdonagh termed the addition of Vietnam to the WPT tour as truly an ‘Asian Swing’ for WPT events in the region. Preceding the Korea and Vietnam stops will be WPT Japan that will be hosted in Tokyo from September 15-17.