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What a blockbuster comeback! The India Poker Championship (IPC) which had been on a hiatus since 2016, is back and in style! The series announced its return in July, almost 14 months after the IPC team took charge of the Big Daddy poker room onboard the erstwhile Maharaja Casino. After the bigger and better, Casino Big Daddy entered River Mandovi in March this year, it was only a matter of time before the IPC series would be revived. And as expected four months later, the announcement was made.
The series was heavily marketed by the tournament organizers, and it seems that it has lived up to the hype. The series-opener, ₹10K Freezeout, registered a jaw-dropping 437 entries, smashing the guarantee to smithereens and collecting nearly ₹43.70 Lakhs in prize money! Not only is this the largest field ever recorded in an IPC event, but also the most massive turnout in a ₹10K Freezeout event in Goa to-date!
It took more than 12 hours for the gigantic field of 437 entries to whittle down to the final nine players on Day 1. But the staggering number of entries forced the tournament organizers to add an extra to the event, with the nine finalists, led by Kavish Kukreja returning for the final day’s play on September 12.
The final day took less than three hours to crown a champion, and in the end, it was the rising star Siddharth Mundada (cover image) who was posing with the trophy. The event kicked off on a shocking note when one of the tournament favorites, Kanishka Samant was eliminated on the very first hand on Day 2, along with Shane Oswald. The double-elimination set the tone of the night with players falling in quick succession.
Mundada, who had made his WSOP debut earlier this year, was in sublime form. He orchestrated the eliminations of Kukreja and Manas Kalita, en route to his heads-up match against eventual runner-up Nikhil R. Facing a 5:1 chip deficit, it was a tough task was Nikhil to overcome. Mundada brought in all the experience he has acquired over the summer, playing against some of the best in the business in the ‘World’s Biggest Poker Festival,’ and made quick work of his opponent, clinching his maiden live title, along with a career-best live score of ₹8.80 Lakhs!
Final Day Chip Counts
1. Kavish Kukreja – 1,06,000
2. Siddharth Mundada – 970,000
3. Kanishka Samant – 950,000
4. Aashvin Prasad – 940,000
5. Nikhil R – 885,000
6. Manas Kalita – 475,000
7. Pradeep Sharma – 405,000
8. Shane Oswald – 275,000
9. Rahul Tulsija – 105,000
The final day of the record-shattering ₹10K Freezeout was off to an astounding start as the very first hand resulted in a double elimination. Shane Oswald moved all-in with and Kanishka Samant re-shoved holding . Start-of-day chip leader Kavish Kukreja called, covering them both, with . The board brought and missed all three players. Kukreja’s pocket cowboys held on, dismissing Oswald in ninth place and Samant in eighth place.
Mere minutes after the double whammy, Kukreja claimed his next victim in Pradeep Sharma who was eliminated in seventh place.
Due to internet-related issues, Sharma’s seventh place and Aashvin Prasad‘s sixth place exit were not reported in the live coverage.
Finishing in fifth place was Kavish Kukreja after he jammed his 1.7 Million stack holding against Siddarth Mundada’s . The board bricked and Kukreja had to make his way to the rail.
About 15 minutes later, Rahul Tulsija shoved for under 300,000 with and Manas Kalita called with . The community cards fanned out , and Kalita flopped a pair of aces to knock Tulsija out in fourth place.
Down to three-handed play, it was Manas Kalita‘s turn to depart from the final table. He pitted his against Mundada’s . The runout gave both players two pairs, but Mundada’s higher pair of aces won him the pot, while Kalita busted out in third place.
The final showdown between Siddharth Mundada (5.06 Million) and Nikhil R (1.16 Million) began with the former enjoying a 5:1 chip lead against Nikhil R. It was a short-lived match up, and within 15 minutes, Mundada had bested Nikhil for the top prize.
The final hand was not reported in the live coverage. Nonetheless, this victory brought Mundada his career-first live title, along with a personal-best live score of ₹8.80 Lakhs!
Final Table Results (INR)
1. Siddharth Mundada – ₹8,80,700
2. Nikhil R – ₹6,17,000
3. Manas Kalita – ₹3,96,700
4. Rahul Tulsija – ₹2,64,900
5. Kavish Kukreja – ₹2,03,800
6. Aashvin Prasad – ₹1,68,900
7. Pradeep Sharma – ₹1,41,800
8. Kanishka Samant – ₹1,14,900
9. Shane Oswald – ₹88,100
10. Milesh Jain – ₹74,300
Content & Images Courtesy: Gutshot Magazine & India Poker Championship
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