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Team India is on a roll! Just hours after Young Gun Abhinav Iyer took down the 2019 Asian Poker Tour (APT) Vietnam Main Event, Team India picked up another international title with one of the eight Platinum Pass winners Raman Gujral (cover image) clinching his career`s first international title in the $1,100 NLHE at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) for $76,760 (₹54.64 Lakhs)!
Talking about his win to PokerGuru, Gujral said “It feels good, I guess. I am not an emotional guy generally speaking. When shit happens, I usually am not disturbed much and when things go well, I tend to stay grounded. What I take back with me from this PCA event is just a conviction that there is a lot more to learn.”
Fondly known as the “Grandfather of Indian poker”, Gujral is a poker veteran with over 15 years of experience in the game. A cash game expert, Gujral posted his first score back in 2007 in the first formal live tournament to be held in India i.e. NLH event at the Asian Poker Classic in Goa where he finished 9th. His first title win came at the PokerGuru Tour Season 2 – May Edition, Goa where he shipped the ₹5,000 NLHE for ₹1.5 Lakhs.
Gujral was among the group of five Indians, along with Kavin Shah, Vivek Singh, Saurabh Sindhwani and Aneesh Nair, who had qualified for the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) through the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) India. They were joined by Sumit Sapra, Nikhil Segel and Sharad Rao, who had won their passes through separate events and challenges. Captained by Team PokerStars pro Aditya Agarwal and accompanied by multiple World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Nipun Java, Team India stormed into the PSPC. Rao, Segel, Agarwal, Gujral and Sindhwani made Day 2 of the PSPC but all six failed to progress any further, thus bringing an end to India’s PSPC campaign.
Commenting on his PSPC journey, the poker pro from Chandigarh said, “While playing in the $25K event I got to play with some very good players from all over the world. I realised that there is still a big gap to bridge between their skill levels and mine. If I want to be at par with them, I need to put in a lot more volume.”
Nonetheless, Gujral became the first India to post a score at the 2019 PCA when he finished 62nd in the PCA $1,100 National Event for $2,340 (₹1.64 Lakhs). Continuing his excellent form, Gujral entered the $1,100 – All Players Are in The Money event. The event pulled in a total of 406 entries, which included 56 re-entries creating a prize pool of approximately $393,000.
Gujral also informed us that another Indian challenger and PSPC Platinum Pass winner, Kavin Shah also cashed in the event.
The final table featured tough competition with heavy hitters like WSOP bracelet winner Jack Sinclair, British pro Florian Duta and German veteran Pascal Hartmann all in the firing line. Navigating through such a competitive final table, Gujral found himself face-to-face with Ukraine’s Artem Zverkhovskyy.
Explaining his strategy for the final table and his two toughest opponents, he said, “I reached the final table being one of the larger stacks. Jack [Sinclair] was short stacked and had immediate position on me. Florian [Duta] had given me a hard time when we are down to two tables as he had immediate position on me. I tried to avoid getting into a big pot situation with him for the most part on that table. Once we were on the final table, I had relative position on Florian which made my life easier. Eventually I was lucky to flop set over Florian’s set to bust him and got a massive chip lead over the other two remaining contestants.”
Gujral talked a tough pot that he faced on the final table, “There wasn’t any turning point as such but one big pot between the guy second in chips and me where I flopped a set over set meant that I reached three-handed with more than 80% of chips in play. From there it was easy to finish the job.”
With about $302,188 (₹2,15,11,403) in live tournament cashes to his name, Zverkhovskyy was no amateur. However, Gujral was able to get the upper hand in the final showdown when his improved to a pair of sevens, relegating Zverkhovskyy to the runner-up spot, as Gujral bagged his career-first live international title for $76,760 (₹54,64,198).
“Pokerstars has been incredibly supportive before and during this event and it feels like we let them down by not cashing in the PSPC. This tourney win is kinda of a redemption for team India.”, Gujral concluded.
1. Raman Gujral – $76,760
2. Artem Zverkhovskyy – $48,440
3. Jack Sinclair – $34,740
4. Florian Duta – $27,600
5. Mikhail Sokolovskiy – $21,640
6. Pascal Hartmann – $16,960
7. Wilson Lim Chong Way – $12,740
8. Sean Paul Legendre – $9,060
Cover Image courtesy: Danny McDonagh