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The curtains have finally come down on the India Poker Championship (IPC) January 2020 edition that ran four action-packed tournaments between January 15 – 19. After a record-smashing comeback series last September, there was a lot of anticipation surrounding this series. With the BPT series preceding the IPC was undoubtedly a challenge and something that impacted turnouts, the series still managed to crush guarantees across the board.
Sunday brought a blockbuster finale to the IPC with the ₹50K Main Event crowning a champion in Rubin Labroo. Playing alongside Day 2 of the Main Event was the series-ending ₹15K Head Hunter that featured a ₹22.5 Lakhs guarantee. The Head Hunter set a new attendance record at 364 entries comfortably surpassing the 348-entry mark set at the last IPC. Even the advertised guarantee was blown to smithereens with a total collection of ₹34.76 Lakhs!
The final three players struck a deal locking in ₹5 Lakhs each, keeping ₹1,15,400 and the trophy aside for the winner. Pocketing this extra cash and the trophy was Prajit Ghambir (cover image), who defeated Armaan Kochhar heads-up to collect ₹6.15 Lakhs in prize money.
The title win is a special milestone for Ghambir. Primarily an online player, Ghambir has not only snagged his career-first live title, he has also opened his live scorecard.
“I’m playing for the first time in Goa…This is my first major live tournament. I’m primarily an online player…Feels alright!” Ghambir said, talking about his win.
The 28-year old player had won satellites for both the series-opener 10K Kick Off and the Head Hunter. “The reason why I came down here to play was because I felt that this is going to suit my style a lot more than online play. I felt lot more comfortable. I’m happy with the results and of course I’d like to play next whenever the series is hosted.”
“To be honest, in the early stages of the tournament till Level 8 when the late registrations closed, I saw that there were 364 players, I was running card-dead, I did not pick a lot of hands. The idea was to survive in that first phase. When the late registrations were closed, I knew that people would now start shoving and there’d be a decline in the number of players. I just felt I had to capitalize and figure out the right positions to put my money in and try to win as many spots I could and before I knew it, there were just 55-60 players left. The way I play poker is,I make short-term goals, instead of thinking I want to ship it. So initially I just wanted to be in the money. Then I wanted to make it to the top 20. When I did make it to the final table, I was sixth in chips out of the nine and from there it was just how you maneuver, the spots that you choose.”
On his heads-up opponent Armaan Kochhar, Ghambir admitted, “He was intimidating. At the beginning of the final table, he had the bigger stack than mine. I wouldn’t say that he was putting undue pressure but when there were only a few players left, he had a massive chip lead and I understood that this is the time he could make not a few well-calculated shoves which I just wanted to just capitalize on.”
Both Kochhar who finished runner-up and Vipul Tiwari who placed third collected ₹5 Lakhs each.
The day-long event that had a turbo-paced format paid out the top 41 finishers with a min-cash worth ₹18,100.
Some of the notable ITM finishers were Abhishek Paul (14th for ₹53,900), Mayank Makhija (15th for ₹53,900), Ameya Gokhale (17th for ₹44,900), Wilson Yomso (18th for ₹44,900), Amar Reddy (26th for ₹26,100), Shravan Chhabria (33rd for ₹22,100), Vikaash Shah (34th for ₹22,100), Meet Jariwala (35th for ₹22,100), Goonjan Mall (37th for ₹18,100), Deepak Raina (39th for ₹18,100) and Gagandeep Malik (40th for ₹18,100).
Anurag Sangahi (10th for ₹63,300) bubbled the final table.
Vipul Tiwari led the final nine players with a staggering stack of 1,335,000. Himanshu Dwivedi (810,000) and Anil Adiani (740,000) rounded out the top three stacks entering the final table.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
Early into the final table, Kabir Khattar fell in ninth place. The hand in question saw Vipul Tiwari move all-in from the button and Khattar called from the small blind for the risk to his tournament life. Sahil Mahboobani called from the big blind. Tiwari tabled , Khattar showed and Mahboobani tabled . The runout saw Mahboobani pair his jack on the turn to score a triple up. Tiwari won the side pot as Khattar was eliminated.
The players went on a 10-minute break and shortly after they returned, Anil Adiani crashed out in eighth place, his ace-nine dominated by Armaan Kochhar’s ace-queen.
Sahil Mahboobani and Kyrylo Lavrov quickly followed Adiani to the rail in sixth and fifth places respectively.
Next up, Himanshu Dwivedi moved all-in with and was called by Vipul Tiwari who tabled . The runout saw both player hit a full house but Tiwari hit a higher full house, and that was the end of Dwivedi’s run. He collected a fourth-place payout.
The final three players then briefly discussed a deal and agreed to take ₹5 Lakhs each, keeping the remaining ₹1,15,400 aside for the eventual champion!
Just about 20 minutes after Dwivedi’s exit, Vipul Tiwari jammed against Prajit Ghambir’s . Both Tiwari and Ghambir hit one-pair on the rundown but Ghambir held a superior one-pair and eliminated Tiwari in third place.
The heads-up clash between Armaan Kochhar and Prajit Ghambir began with Kochhar holding 3,050,000 versus the latter’s 2,400,000. But Ghambir didn’t take long to close the gap and take the lead. On the final hand of the tournament, Kochhar shoved 1.4 Million with and Ghambir called from the big blind with . The board panned out and Ghambir’s two-pair won him the title!
Final Table Results (INR)
*denotes 3-way deal
Read our complete coverage of the event here.