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Team India has been on a blistering run at the ongoing 50th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) and has been equally active at the various side events running at other poker venues in Las Vegas. We have another major title sweat developing at the ARIA Resort and Casino where two Indian`s – Nikita Luther and Ritesh Shah have made it to the final table in the sixth edition of the WPT500 Las Vegas, rechristened this time to Zynga Poker WPT500 Las Vegas.
The tournament attracted an impressive 1,932 entries across eight starting flights generating a prize pool of $966,000. The winner is assured to take home $155,000 (~₹1.06 Crores). While a confirmed attendance of 14 Indians was reported in the starting days, only five among them made it to Day 2 amidst a trimmed down field of 100 survivors. While three Indians were eliminated in the money yesterday, the remaining two, Nikita Luther and Ritesh Shah, have stormed their way into the nine-handed final table!
For Luther, who also happens to be India`s only female bracelet winner till date, this event holds a special place. It was around the same time two years back that she had first final tabled this event, finishing fifth for $65,000 (-₹44.92 Lakhs). It remained Luther’s best score for the next two years, till she finally won the coveted WSOP bracelet in the Tag Team event last year for $87,902 (-₹60.75 Lakhs) paired with Germany’s Giuseppe Pantaleo. The two bracelet champions, Luther and Aditya Sushant (who won the bracelet in the Tag Team Event last year), decided to pair up this year but the duo busted on Day 1.
The last two years have undoubtedly metamorphosed Luther from an aspiring talent to a seasoned pro, and the same was at display when she took her seat on Day 1B at the familiar WPT500. Luther carried forth the fourth-largest stack of 713,000 amid 12 Day 1B survivors and did even better on Day 2 as she made it through the day placed third in chips among nine finalists with a stack of 6,700,000.
The second Indian on the final table, Ritesh Shah, had entered the Turbo flight Day 1H and advanced to Day 2 with 629,000 in chips. Shah is placed sixth in the chip counts with 3,675,000.
Luther and Shah were not the only Indians on Day 2 and three others namely, 2018 WPT Vietnam Main Event champion Dhaval Mudgal (54th for $2,700 –₹1.86 Lakhs), Meherzad Munsaf (83rd for $1,500 –₹1.03 Lakhs) and Sanjay Taneja (93rd for $1,500 –₹1.03 Lakhs) finished in the money.
Another female pro from India, PokerStars India Team Pro Muskan Sethi had all but made it through to Day 2 but a tough bad beat on the last level on Day 1D ended her deep run in eighth place for $1,200 (~₹83,261).
The other Indians who made it in the money in the separate starting flights were Guneet Kwatra (Day 1E – 38th for $1,200 – ₹82,923), Sriharsha Doddapaneni (Day 1H -29th for $1,200 – ₹82,923) and Kartik Ved (Day 1H – 44th for $900 – ₹62,192).
Others like Gokul Parvathaneni, Minissha Lamba, Kunal Patni, and Nipun Java busted short of the money.
Day 2 Recap
Day 2 began with 100 survivors ( Day 1A – 11, Day 1B – 12, Day 1C & Day 1D – 6 each, Day 1E – 25, Day 1F -12, Day 1G – 10, Day 1H – 18).
Former bracelet winner Nikita Luther was undoubtedly the star of the day. Luther entered Day 2 with a stack of 713,000 and charted a steady climb. She decimated her competition with panache and was responsible for eliminating the likes of Mark Jun and Indian-origin Mukul Pahuja. In Level 31, Luther doubled up from Glen Keogh to approach the 9 Million-mark – 8.9 Million to be exact, to become one of the top stacks in the field. She lost a significant three-way pot towards the tail end of the day to eventually bag 6.7 Million in chips, making her the third biggest stack in the field.
Ritesh Shah, who is the other Indian on the final table, will be returning with a stack of 3,675,000. Shah had made to Day 2 from the turbo-paced Day 1H with 629,000 and was always among the top stacks for the better part of the day.
Among the Day 2 eliminations, the player of interest was Dhaval Mudgal who had started the day with 408,000. The musician turned poker pro shared news of his elimination on Twitter, according to which he was eliminated in 54th place ($2,700 – ₹1.86 Lakhs).
Busto 54th. We’ll get em next time
— Dhaval Mudgal (@Dirtbagpoker) June 26, 2019
Delhi-based Sanjay Taneja finished 93rd for $1,500 (-₹1.03 Lakhs), while Meherzad Munsaf was eliminated in 83rd place for $1,500 (-₹1.03 Lakhs).
Other notables who finished in the money were Zynga Poker VIP Hugh Grant (11th for $11,500), Season XII WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja (12th for $11,500), Gayle Knorr (16th for $7,000), Jeff Center (46th for $2,700) and Mo Nuwwarah (66th for $2,100).
Leading the nine-handed final table is Ben Farrell (7,350,000) with Sung Joo Hyun (7,275,000) a close second.
The final table action will begin at 2 PM (PDT) on June 27, and exclusive live coverage will be available on the World Poker Tour website.
Final Table Chip Counts
Content & Images Courtesy: World Poker Tour
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