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Organized by Raj Kundra‘s Viaan Industries Ltd. in association with Switzerland-based International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP), the third season of the Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL) was held from October 23 to 24 in Mumbai.
Topping the charts to win the title was Team Pune Kings. Captained by seasoned pro Gaurav Gala Team Pune Kings comprised of many other decorated players including the First Lady of Indian Poker Shuchi Chamaria, online pros Rubin Labroo and Akshay Nasa, alongside Tanmay Bagga and Akash Shekhar with Team Manager Amar Katharani. The winning team walked away with the ₹1.35 Crores first-place prize.
1. Pune Kings – ₹1.35 Crores
2. Mumbai All Stars – ₹90 Lakhs
3. Bangalore Royals – ₹65 Lakhs
4. Delhi Aces – ₹50 Lakhs
The two-day long extravaganza kicked off with a grand opening ceremony and had sizzling performances from a plethora of Bollywood celebrities including Karishma Tanna, Shamita Shetty, Sanjeeda Sheikh and Manj Musik.
Part of the extravaganza was the felicitation of two big names by the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP). While actor R. Madhavan was awarded the IFMP Film Personality of the Year, cricketer Harbhajan Singh was announced as the IFMP Sports Personality of the Year. Presenting the accolades to Madhavan and Singh was IFMP President, Patrick Nally.
The glitz and glamour of Bollywood gave way to some poker action as Day 1 of the PokerRaj MatchIPL Season 3 commenced. Nine city-based teams, Haryana Hawks, Bangalore Royals, Pune Kings, Mumbai All Stars, Kolkata Diamonds, Delhi Aces, Jaipur Jewels, UP Indians and Ahmedabad Hearts, squared off against each other in a bid to win the chance to represent Team India at the Nations Cup which will be held in Ireland.
With four sessions of 36 hands scheduled for Day 1, team owners and analysts took their time to understand every move and come up with a strategy that would benefit the entire team. Haryana Hawks, the winners of the previous Season, began the day on a positive note and kept that momentum going by topping the Leaderboard with the highest points until the end of Day 1.
Day 1 Standings (Points)
1. Haryana Hawks – 754.5
2. Bangalore Royals – 744.5
3. Pune Kings – 740.5
4. Mumbai All Stars – 737.5
5. Kolkata Diamonds – 728.5
6. Delhi Aces – 715.5
7. Jaipur Jewels – 707
8. UP Indians – 690
9. Ahmedabad Hearts – 662
Day 2, which was also the final day, witnessed another four sessions of match poker being played, where after the end of two sessions, the bottom 3 teams were eliminated. Day 2 began with a lot of intense team discussions, with all teams hoping to secure the top 6 spots. After a session, the defending champs, Haryana Hawks, had secured their hold on the top position on the leaderboard, but inching close were Bangalore Royals and Pune Kings.
The owner’s lounge was filled with moments of deep silence and intense discussions, all strategizing their way to the top 6. After Session 2 on Day 2, three teams saw their way out of Season 3 of PokerRaj MatchIPL.
The next two sessions were played amongst six teams and each session had a total of 46 hands played. The Leaderboard saw a lot of ups and downs with Haryana Hawks losing their hold on the top position and team Mumbai All Stars venturing into the top 3.
The final session of the day was riddled with several nail-biting moments as owners could see the hands being played but had no view of the Leaderboard. Delhi Aces finished fourth for ₹50 Lakhs and Bangalore Royals secured the third spot for ₹65 Lakhs.
The remaining two teams, Pune Kings and Mumbai All Stars were then called onto the stage.
The Chairman of Match Indian Poker League Raj Kundra announced that Pune Kings, led by Gala along with Chamaria, Bagga, Labroo, Shekhar and Nasa, had edged past Team Mumbai All Stars by a mere seven points, to win the league as well as a colossal ₹1.35 Crores in prize money, along with the honour of representing Team India at the Nations Cup. Meanwhile, Mumbai All Stars finished runner-up for ₹90 Lakhs.
Eka Vedantham of Jaipur Jewels was awarded the PokerRaj King of Poker Player of the League Award for his outstanding performance all through the Season.