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Indian-origin poker player based in California, Nikhil Gera, and his mother, Manju Gera, have one thing in common – they both love playing poker. But what saw the mother and son duo hit the headlines recently was that they both won big-ticket tournaments this past Sunday, albeit in different cities!
If you want something to make you smile. Nikhil Gera shipped the @WynnLasVegas 500k gtd and his mom Manju shipped the @gardenscasino mystery bounty same night. I love it so much. pic.twitter.com/2AglUUoAOO
— Kris Kneale (@knealey) March 20, 2023
On March 19, Nikhil Gera entered the final table of the multi-day $500K GTD $1,100 Wynn Millions in Las Vegas, a tournament he eventually won for $131,665 – his fourth-largest career score, picking up his first six-figure score since 2018.
The Wynn tweeted about Gera’s victory.
Nikhil Gera won $131,665 for his first place finish in the Wynn Millions $1,100 NLH $500K GTD on March 19. Congratulations Nikhil on the win! pic.twitter.com/2WMs3OTltg
— Wynn Poker Room (@WynnPoker) March 20, 2023
As the victory brought Gera closer to the $2 million mark in live career winnings, he got more fantastic news an hour later. His mother, Manju Gera, had won the $500 Mystery Bounty at the Gardens Casino in South California for over $52,000, boosting her tracked live tournament winnings north of $200,000.
In fact, as both tournaments were approaching the finish line, Nikhil and Manju, who were constantly in touch on the phone, realized they had a real shot at winning the events they were deep in.
Talking about the coincidence, Nikhil Gera said, “We were texting back-and-forth, and she had texted me when there were 13 people left, and she had already pulled $12,000 worth of bounties. So it already looked like it was going to be a good day for her regardless.”
Nikhil, a psychiatrist by profession, plays poker when he can take time off from his two jobs in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He added, “By the time we had collected all the money, my mom had texted me that she was heads-up. So I didn’t have to think about it too much while playing. She doesn’t even play No-Limit Hold’em really. She plays primarily mixed games. So for her to win an NLHE tournament with that many people…I was shocked. And obviously very happy for her.”
Do they share notes on poker? Nikhil has coached Manju in the past, and she gives him tips on Mixed games. “We do talk about hands a lot, and I feel like I can get a lot of advice from her on Mixed Games,” he said.
Sharing her thoughts on the family ringing in a double victory, Manju Gera said –
“It felt really surreal…Nikhil’s been trying to coach me [in No Limit] because I tell him these young kids with backpacks intimidate me, but I’m trying to learn the game, so this was a really good experience. All my [past] wins were small, so for me, this is a big deal. For a long time, nothing was happening – not mixed games or anywhere. So I was really jazzed last night.”
Manju Gera is a former LearnWPT student who began playing poker at the age of 68. More of a mixed game player, she has several tournament victories recorded in Las Vegas and Southern California. In 2018, Manju Gera shipped a WSOPE H.O.R.S.E event.
She admits that poker helped her connect better with her son. “He was playing so much, and I thought to myself that if I don’t learn this game, then I’ll know nothing about the world that he’s in, so that’s how I got myself into it,” she said.
“I’m so proud of this kid. He works hard. He has a job in Vegas and a job [in LA], so he manages both jobs, and he loves poker. He loves it, and he’s balancing all of that, and it’s not easy. And he’s very supportive of me. Whenever I want to go play, he’s encouraging and will sit down and chat with me about [the game].
Their story is a testament to the fact that poker is a game that can bring families together and create lasting memories. It’s an inspiration for other families who enjoy playing poker and want to bond over a shared passion. The Geras have shown that anything is possible with perseverance, hard work, and a little luck.
Content & Images: World Poker Tour
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