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Just as the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) strides past the bulk of its bracelet events to reach the headline $10,000 NLHE Main Event, the large Indian contingent currently busy in Las Vegas seems to have a lot to brag about already with deep runs in several events. One such event, the MSPT Event #128: $3,500, 3.5 Million Guarantee Venetian Main Event culminated with 29-year old Pavel Plesuv (cover image) topping the 1,096 entries for $640,062.
For Plesuv who missed out on winning a payday of $1,048,153 in February 2018, when he lost the heads-up battle for the partypoker Millions Germany Main Event title to Viktor Blom and had to settle for the runner-up finish and prize money of $924,841, winning the MSPT Venetian Main Event has been redemption enough. Not only has he taken his live tournament earnings to $3,112,334, he has also added glory to his profile, by taking home the richest first-place prize ever awarded on the tour!
The same event also saw top Indian pro and GPL India Mumbai Jetsetters Team Manager Kavin Shah making a deep run, where he eventually finished 12th for $49,101 (~₹33.83 Lakhs)!
That’s not all. Team India has been romping through prime non-WSOP events over the past weekend. Indeed, June 30th was a remarkable day for the Indian contingent and while Nikita Luther was busy winning a bracelet in Event #55 – $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold ‘em, India`s first bracelet winner Aditya Sushant was on the final table in Event #61: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship. If that was not reason enough for celebration, Yudhishter Jaswal took down the MSPT Event 96: $1,600 NLHE Bounty $700,000 GTD for a whopping $109,443 (~₹75.41 Lakhs).
Another notable performance saw 9stacks qualifier Mayank Jaggi final tabling the Wynn Summer Classic NLHE $1 Million Guarantee. Jaggi climbed up the leaderboard to reach the final table where he finished 6thfor $56,379 (~₹38.85 Lakhs). Another Indian pro, Akash Malik finished 27thin the Wynn Summer Classic NLH $200K Guarantee for $2,627(~₹1.81 Lakhs), making this past weekend the best the team has ever seen!
Moving back to the MSPT Event #128: $3,500, $3.5 Million Guarantee Venetian Main Event, it was the fifth and final collaboration between the MSPT and Venetian during the 2018 Deepstacks Championship Poker Series.
“I feel awesome. It was a great tournament, big field, and I’ve been running pretty well. The trophy is always nice. I lost heads-up to Isildur at the start of the year. I was close to winning with a big chip lead, but I lost that one. So, winning this one feels pretty good,” Plesuv said, after the victory.
He added, “I’m going to take a couple days to rest and see the Grand Canyon before playing the World Series of Poker Main Event.”
1,096 players entered the tournament and 54 returned for Day 2. Shah who had entered through Flight 1C and moved to Day 2 with a modest stack of 45,000 had quite a journey. On Day 2, Shah scooped several big pots to take over a commanding lead. By the time the last break of the day was announced, Shah’s stack was up to 366,000. He did lose some though, along the way but with only six hands left in play, Shah managed to double up through Perouse. He led out with a raise of 25,000 from UTG and Julien Perouse 3-bet it to 75,000on the button. Shah then 4-bet jammed for 189,000 and Perouse called. It was Shah`s vs Perouse`s . The flop improved Shah’s hand further but Perouse picked up a gutshot straight draw on the turn. Shah dodged a few outs on the river and was able to spike a double-up that took his stack up to 302,000.
Day 3 ran through nearly eight hours of play. After the elimination of Jack O’Neill (11th for $49,101), the field whittled down to the final table of ten, with Plesuv leading the way with a massive 5,270,000 stack.
Prior to O’Neill’s elimination, Shah was shown the door by Romero where the latter raised from the cutoff and then called a 3-bet shove from Shah who had committed his entire stack of 360,000 from the big blind. Romero tabled and Shah held . Shah flopped an open-ended straight draw on the rundown but Romero hit a Broadway straight on the turn. Shah was drawing dead on the river and busted in 12th place with $49,101 (~₹33.83 Lakhs) in prize money!
Nishant Sharma and Rahul Byrraju entered the event on flight 1A and both progressed to Day 2 with stacks of 90,600 and 126,900 respectively. However, both players were eliminated empty-handed.
Other notables who finished in the money included Nick Petrangelo (13th for $38,579), Jonathan Karamalikis (14th for $38,579), Jared Jaffee (15th for $38,579), Tristan “Cre8ive” Wade (16th for $34,371), Joe Kuether (18th for $34,371), Upeshka De Silva (22nd for $23,849), Harrison Gimbel (21st for $28,408),Josh Turner (25th for $19,991), Thomas Peebles (27th for $19,991),Jonathan Concepcion (29th for $15,081), Joe McKeehen (42nd for $11,574), Martin Jacobson (63rd for $9,469), and 2017 WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein (71st for $9,119).
Final Table Recap
The final table witnessed some fast paced action. In the sixth hand, Justin Bonomo was eliminated in tenth place when his pocket jacks lost to Rebei’s flopped top pair of kings.
Rebei took on the chip lead and soon attempted to run a big bluff against Plesuv who was holding the second biggest stack. Despite straight and flush draws on the board, Plesuv found a call with trip nines to take the chip lead in the hand.
Mohammed Jafer was eliminated next in ninth place after losing with to Rudolph’s on a runout. Following him was Michael Sklenicka who exited in eighth place when his failed to improve against Rebei’s .
Thomas Boivin then clashed with Chang after shoving from the small blind with only to have Chang make the call from the big blind with . The board ran eliminating Boivin in seventh place.
What followed was a big clash between Karim Rebei and Plesuv where Rebei raised to 325,000 from the hijack and Plesuv who was in the big blind 3-bet to 1 Million. On this, Rebei made the call. Plesuv held while Rebei revealed . Both players hit a set on the flop and Plesuv check-called a bet of 1 Million from Rebei. On the turn, Plesuv checked for the second time and Rebei moved all in for 2.2 Million. Plesuv called and the river brought the to send Rebei back to the rail in sixth place. Here on, Plesuv extended his lead and kept at it all the way till the end.
Cheng then sent two players out of the final table. In a hand against Christian Rudolph his ace-queen ran superior to the latter`s pocket fours who retired in fifth place. Next, he again tabled ace-queen against Joni Jouhkimainen who held king-queen, and hit the rail in fourth place.
By now, Plesuv held 17 Million in chips against Cheng’s 10 Million. The heads-up saw the two exchanging pots before a cooler brought in a decisive victory for Plesuv. Plesuv five-bet jammed with and Cheng called off holding the . The board ran out and Plesuv hit quads to win the title in style!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Pavel Plesuv – $640,062
2. Yat Cheng – $392,806
3. James Romero -$291,448
4. Joni Jouhkimainen – $221,304
5. Christian Rudolph – $164,838
6. Karim Rebei – $126,259
7. Thomas Boivin – $98,202
8. Michael Sklenicka – $77,158
9. Mohammed Jaafar – $63,130
10. Justin Bonomo – $49,101