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Nikunj Jhunjhunwala (cover image)was told by his friends that he could not win tournaments! He proved them wrong, not once, but twice over!
Amidst a thundering round of applause, Jhunjhunwala beamed, as he won the IPC December ₹50K Main Event for the top prize of ₹15.3 Lakhs, after a four-way deal. The win is a record-breaking one, coming as it does right after Jhunjhunwala won the first-ever IPC ₹100K Highroller just two days earlier, making him the only player to collect back-to-back titles at the most prestigious tournament series in the country.
“I am speechless and elated, the feeling has not yet sunk in” declared the winner, after the long final table that included 3-time APT POY title winner Sam Razavi, among others.
Etching his name into the history books of Indian poker, Jhunjhunwala additionally gets the 2015 India Player of the Year (IPOY) title, with the points from these wins. The smiling Mumbai-based player gets iPhone 6S, Macbook Air and INR 2 Lakhs worth of IPC seats for the next season for this title. Displaying an immense attitude of sportsmanship, Jhunjhunwala immediately decided to share the last with bubble boy Abhisek Panda, stating that, “Abhisek Panda has worked very hard for 11 months to reach here and I feel he deserves it a lot more than I do, so I think its the right thing to do.“
The event resumed at 3 pm with the 55 survivors from Day 1 of the event, led by Anuj Muchala, who had 252,000 in chips. Once again, there played out a slew of eliminations, with the eye on the money bus, which began with the 24th player. Harsh Jain, Anil Gulati, Zarvan Tumboli, Spartan Team Pro Sangeeth ‘Samoh’ Mohan, Gaurav Law, Siddharth Singhvi, Rajeev Raut and Jaideep Sajwan were all busted within the two hours of play.
Muchala could be seen improving his already large stack, while Spartan Team Mentor Rohit Bhalla was busy crushing opponents at his table.
By 5pm however, the chip lead had swung to Rohit Mariwala, with several others like Abhishek Panda doubling their stacks. Panda’s was a short victory, as less than 30 minutes later, his valiant fight was cut short, when he was busted by Arun Babbar.
The fatal hand saw Babbar open with 13,000 from Panda moved all-in for 45,000. Babbar called.
Though things looked good for Panda, the board with gave Babbar a two pair and Panda was eliminated at 25th place, leaving the rest in the money.
Manoj Singh was the first to cash, as he exited at 24th place collecting INR 82,000 for his efforts.
Sam Razavi seemed to be having a great time at his table, where he was next to Jhunjhunala and the two were often to be found discussing the moves at the table. Both ended up again at the final table much later on.
Eliminations continued in the quest for the final table and among those was Rohit Bhalla’s, where a quirk of the board sent him to the rails at 15th place.
The flop of made both players a set but the King added extra weight to Zeeshan’s lot. The turn and river held up Zeeshan cards and Bhalla was out at 15th place.
At 9pm a final table was found, with Nariman Yaghmai leading the counts with a stack of 9,36,000.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Rohit Mariwala – 5,84,000
2. Nariman Yaghmai – 9,36,000
3. Ujjwal Rana – 3,04,000
4. Sam Razavi – 7,26,000
5. Romit Advani – 2,12,000
6. Nikunj Jhunjhunwala – 3,50,000
7. Sahil Chutani – 3,32,000
8. Sonu Singh – 3,91,000
9. Zeshan H – 5,26,000
Smallest stack Romit Advani was the first final table elimination, exiting when Sahil Chutani’s pocket queens overpowered his pocket two’s on a board that read . Advani collected ₹1,90,000 for his ninth place finish.
Jhunjhunwala reached out to eliminate Ujwal Rana at eighth place and a little while later busted Sonu Singh at seventh place, giving him a strong lead at the table.
Sahil Chutani then busted Mariwalla at sixth place and was next himself, eliminated by Nariman Y at fifth place.
Four-handed play continued for almost an hour, when Razavi suggested a deal.
Nariman Y – 1,385,000
Nikunj Jhunjhunwala – 1,210,000
Zeeshan H – 970,000
Sam Razavi – 730,000
While the others agreed, it took a little time for Nariman to understand, but finally a deal was struck to leave ₹ 3.3 Lakhs and the title for the winner, with the rest split up as follows:
Nariman Y – ₹12.5 Lakhs
Nikunj Jhunjhunwala – ₹12 Lakhs
Zeeshan H – ₹11 Lakhs
Sam Razavi – ₹10 Lakhs
It wasn’t long before Zeeshan hit the rails at fourth place, busted by Razavi, whose smile never left his face. But it was Jhunjhunwala’ patience and calm demeanor that proved stronger, as he continued to forge ahead relentlessly.
Soon, Razavi lost half his stack in a crippling blow by Nariman and in the next hand was eliminated by Jhunjhunwala.
Razavi had and moved all-in for 480,000. Jhunjhunwala called with . The board blanked out and Razavi was out at third place, paving the way for heads up play.
Heads-up Chip Counts
Nikunj Jhunjhunwala – 2,390,000
Nariman Y – 1,990,000
Heads up was a thrilling one and a half hour finale, where Nariman Y put up a credit-worthy fight and wrested the chip lead from Jhunjhunwala in 45 minutes.
Jhunjhunwala refused to be beaten and in the final 45 minutes he played an incredible game to not only take the lead, but clinch the title, relegating Nariman to second place.
The final hand of the tournament saw Nariman Y moving all-in from the button for 1,020,000 and Jhunjhunwala decided to call.
The last board of the tournament read out and Jhunjhunwala was the undisputed champion. Nariman was the runner-up and took home INR 12.5 Lakhs for a well-deserved battle.
Final Table Results (₹)
1. Nikunj Jhunjhunwala – 15,30,000*
2. Nariman Y – 12,50,000*
3. Sam Razavi – 10,00,000*
4. Zeeshan H – 11,00,000*
5. Sahil Chuthani – 5,10,000
6. Rohit Mariwalla – 4,00,000
7. Sonu Singh – 3,00,500
8. Ujwal Rana – 2,40,000
9. Romit Advani – 1,90,000
*Denotes four handed deal
Congratulations to Nikunj Jhunjhunwala for winning the IPC Dec Main Event!