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This Week in Poker: February 19 – 26

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  • Namita Ghosh February 26, 2019
  • 7 Minutes Read

In the PokerGuru feature ‘This Week in Poker’ we bring you the weekly round-up of the biggest online scores by Indian MTT players along with the top stories from both the live and online poker circuit.


Here are this week’s top stories

If the second month of 2019 unfolded an exciting roller-coaster ride of big online and live tournaments, the closing week kept the poker world on its toes with significant upheavals replete with breakaways, new brand associations, and political turmoil.

Claiming the spotlight was the biggest-ever tournament to be hosted in India, The Game Changer. Coming from the stable of India’s premier online poker site PokerBaazi, The Game Changer has in effect, scripted history. For online tournaments, it has raised the bar as high as a never-before ₹2 Crore prize pool guarantee. It seemed quite a tall task for a single tournament with a ₹11,000 buy-in to muster up a participation number so high that the guarantee would be crossed, but it did! An unprecedented 3,777 entries from three starting flights saw the total prize pool hit a staggering ₹3.7 Crores. When the dust settled, a four-way ICM deal saw Prashanth ‘Iveyleague’ Sekar snag the title along with ₹33 Lakhs in prize money thereby, making him our PokerGuru Star of the Week”. Claiming the runner-up spot was Sikander ‘advanced_basic’ Rajwade (2nd for ₹39 Lakhs). With ‘brointer’ (3rd for ₹33 Lakhs), Pranay ‘setmeup’ Chawla (4th for ₹33 Lakhs) and Gaurav ‘DragGEReR’ Mittal (5th for ₹11,33,100) also earning big scores, The Game Changer capped off after making five millionaires and 378 players earning payouts.

Team PokerGuru ambassadors weren’t ones to be left behind. Ashish ‘OMG_spew’ Munot (6th for ₹8.30 Lakhs), Laksh ‘boomtlt23′ Pal Singh (20th for ₹1,43,526), Nadeem ‘SpadeHunter’ Basha (40th for ₹94,425), Gokul ‘Nygma’ Raj (133rd for ₹56,655), PokerGuru Staking’s Kartik ‘TheInternetKid’ Ved (146th for ₹56,655) and Jayjit ‘england’ Ray (250th for ₹41,547) hit it well at The Game Changer by posting scores.

Running alongside the marquee event were the regular high-value Sunday tournaments on PokerBaazi where Rahul ‘YOUAGAIN’ Pruthi topped the BSS SuperStack ₹25 Lakhs GTD (RE) for ₹6.14 Lakhs. PokerStars too upped the ante by hiking the prize pool guarantee for its biggest weekly event, the Special Progressive KO, ₹5,000 NLHE that saw a ₹5 Lakhs increase in guarantee and was taken down by Amar ‘AceConsultant’ Mehta for ₹3.76 Lakhs.

The virtual poker industry was abreast with significant changes. On the one hand, Kevin Martin parted way with Team PokerStars, on the other partypoker announced a brand-new Team Online. Aimed for partypoker to enter the realm of poker streaming on Twitch full blast, the brand announced Matt Staples as the first member of Team Online, and then added Hristivoje ‘AllinPav’ Pavlovic, Travis ‘dramaticdegen’ Darroch, former Unibet Poker ambassador Alan ‘Hotted89’ Widmann and Ryan ‘RSchoonbaert’ Schoonbaert to the team.

Along these announcements we heard a new poker variant, Split Omaha may soon be coming up on PokerStars while WSOP also announced nine online bracelet events for its 50th-anniversary series.

Dominating the live action was the PPPoker World Championship and the US Poker Open that played out this week. The inaugural run of the Asian Poker Tour (APT) in Taiwan, currently underway at the David Tai-headed Chinese Texas Hold ‘em Association (CTP) club in Taipei has turned out to be a huge success. With the TWD 33,000 buy-in Main Event crowning a champion today in Chow Cliff (TWD 2,443,800), the biggest event to be hosted in Taiwan just got over. Coming up next in the series is the Championships Event.

The subcontinent’s gaming industry was on an overactive mode as well. On the sidelines of the announcement of the third edition of the Emerald Poker Tour (EPT) cash game festival (Mar 21-24) at Casino Bellagio in Sri Lanka, the Gujarat High Court dismissed by default, poker crusader KN Suresh’s petition on the legality of poker. Online sites 11Wickets and Dream11 pulled out from Pakistan Super League (PSL) sponsorship in the wake of terror attacks in South Kashmir, and Manipur government announced plans to re-introduce lotteries.

Gujarat proved to be another hotbed of political turmoil. After Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar’s remarks on Law Commission report recommending a ban on casinos, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) went all guns blazing at Chodankar, accusing him of twisting the interpretation of the mentioned report.

For poker players, the thrills of live tournament action don’t really stop round the year. Even as The Indian Poker Series (TIPS) looks all ready for another action-packed edition (Mar 6-14) in Rozvadov, there’s more action to look forward to, with the Vienna Poker Festival (Feb 26-Mar 11), Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Jeju (Mar 2-9), 888poker LIVE Bucharest (Mar 4-10) coming up next.

We wrap up this week’s recap with tournament action from the PPPoker World Championship (PPWC), US Poker Open, APT Taiwan, L.A. Poker Classic (LAPC), Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Canterbury Park and World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.


Online Railbird Report

It was one of the biggest Sundays for online poker in India, the ‘The Game Changer ₹2 Crores GTD’ on PokerBaazi touched down to the finale. The historic event raised the bar in terms of prize pool guarantee and had a multi-day run across three starting flights. With 3,777 entrants, the aggressively marketed tournament obliterated the ₹2 Crores prize pool guarantee with the total prize pool reaching ₹3,77,70,000. The final table alone gave away over ₹1 Crore in cash prizes. All eyes were glued to PokerBaazi as the action kicked off on the final table. Prashanth ‘Iveyleague’ Sekar emerged victorious to become India’s first Game Changer champion after a 4-way deal with three other contenders, thereby, making him our “PokerGuru Star of the Week.”

Sekar banked ₹33 Lakhs, while runner-up Sikander ‘advanced_basic’ Rajwade’ pocketed the biggest payday of ₹39.08 Lakhs. ‘brointer’ and Pranay ‘setmeup’ Chawla netted ₹33 Lakhs each for their respective third and fourth place finishes.

Prashanth Sekar
Prashanth Sekar

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Other notable scores of the week are –

Rahul ‘YOUAGAIN’ Pruthi won ₹6.14 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘BSS SuperStack ₹25 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

Amar ‘AceConsultant’ Mehta won ₹3.76 Lakhs for 1st place in PokerStars India ‘Sunday Special Progressive Knockout ₹20 Lakhs GTD.’

‘Piko1432’ won ₹1.17 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘BSS MegaStack ₹5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

Matt ‘matpoker’ Matt won ₹1.17 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi’ ‘BSS PLO ₹5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

‘riteshcbec’ won ₹1.13 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi’s ‘The Monster 6-Max ₹5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

‘fcukstars420′ won ₹39,272 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Storm ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

buddhabr0t’ won ₹37,930 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘The Sunday Stars ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

‘Arjuns1997′ won ₹34,500 for 1st place in the Khelo 365 ‘BIG Splash ₹75K GTD’

‘ReDumBell’ won ₹29,491 for 1st place in the PokerStars India’s ‘The Sunday Warm-Up ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

‘PAAKTS’ won ₹28,442 for 1st place in the PokerStars India’s ‘Sunday Supersonic ₹1,100 NLHE ₹1 Lakh GTD’

‘sush2209’ won ₹28,288 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘The Classic ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

‘Sunjam’ won ₹19,847 for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘Sunday ₹1 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

‘Eyeslaolao’ won ₹16,500 for 1st place in the Khelo 365 ‘Deep Stack ₹30K GTD’

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Ryan ‘RSchoonbaert’ Schoonbaert & Alan ‘Hotted89’ Widmann Latest Addition`s to partypoker’s New Team Online

As part of its ambitious entry into poker streaming, leading online poker brand partypoker has announced Team Online, a team of high profile online poker content creators and streamers. After Matt Staples, Hristivoje ‘AllinPav’ Pavlovic and Travis ‘dramaticdegen’ Darroch were brought on-board, partypoker has gone on to add two more names to Team Online – Alan ‘Hotted89’ Widmann and Ryan ‘RSchoonbaert’ Schoonbaert.


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New Poker Variant Split Omaha May Soon Debut on the International PokerStars Client

Global poker giant PokerStars looks geared up to launch its latest poker variant – Split Omaha. The game bears a strong resemblance in graphics to Split Hold ‘em, a game variant that was released by the site in March 2018.


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9 Online Bracelet Events Announced by WSOP For 50th Anniversary Series

WSOP Online events

World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced last week that a record nine online bracelet events will take place as part of its 50th-anniversary edition this summer.

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partypoker LIVE Releases Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott’s Full-Length Documentary on YouTube

Four years after the death of poker legend Dave Ulliott, partypoker LIVE has released a full-length documentary titled ‘The Devilfish,’ highlighting Ulliot’s life and poker career. The documentary has been released on YouTube.

Dave Ulliott
Dave Ulliott

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Emerald Poker Tour 3rd Edition Announced

Cash game festival, Emerald Poker Tour (EPT) is returning to Casino Bellagio in Sri Lanka for its third edition from March 21-24. Industry leader and co-founder of online poker site PokerBaazi, Navkiran Singh has joined the venture as the 4th partner alongside Gokul Krishna, Sunitha ‘Suni’ Sunder and Vikram ‘Lungi’ Kumar.

Gokul Krishna, Vikram ‘Lungi’ Kumar & Sunitha ‘Suni’ Sunder
Gokul Krishna, Vikram ‘Lungi’ Kumar & Sunitha ‘Suni’ Sunder

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Gujarat HC Dismisses KN Suresh’ Appeal on Legality of Poker

The Gujarat High Court dismissed the petition by the secretary of Indian Poker Association (IPA), KN Suresh on the legality of poker in Gujarat. The court did so by default, due to Suresh’s failure to turn up for the February 14 hearing. Suresh later moved an application for the restoration of his petition.

KN Suresh
KN Suresh

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Manipur Govt Plans to Re-Introduce Lotteries

Deputy chief minister of Manipur Yumnam Joykumar Singh told the state legislative assembly that the government plans to re-introduce lottery schemes to improve revenue inflow in the state.

Deputy CM of Manipur Yumnam Joykumar Singh
Deputy CM of Manipur Yumnam Joykumar Singh

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11Wickets Pulls the Plug on PSL Sponsorship

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Pulwama district of South Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF men, several Indian gaming companies pulled out of sponsoring the Pakistan Super League (PSL). After Dream11, fantasy portal 11Wickets that was to co-present PSL with DSports channel also withdrew from its PSL sponsorship.


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GST Council Defers Decision on Lottery Tax

The Central GST Council deferred a decision on the rationalization of tax rates on lottery and re-scheduled discussion on the report tabled by the Group of Minister (GoM) on the same for February 24.

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AIGF Accuses Goa Congress Chief Girish Chodankar of Selectively Quoting Law Commission Report

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) slammed Goa Pradesh Congress chief Girish Chodankar’s recent statements demanding a ban on casinos with reference to the Law Commission report. The AIGF in an official statement said Chodankar had “chosen to twist” the mentioned report on betting and gambling, and incorrectly interpreted the extant legal and constitutional provision.

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2019 APT Taiwan

For the first time in Asia, Taiwan joined the list of nations that host live poker tournaments. With the Chinese Texas Hold ‘em Association (CTP) hosting the tournament at the CTP club, the 2019 Asian Poker Tour (APT) Taiwan made a smashing inaugural run starting on February 20. While the series features a total of 23 tournaments, many of them have crowned winners already.


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The biggest story was the Main Event that attracted a record field of 523 runners across three starting flights. Each of the runners ponied up the TWD 33,000 buy-in, making for a pot of TWD 15,219,300, which has set the benchmark as the largest prize pool ever in Taiwan. Only 53 players got paid and the event culminated by crowning a champion in Chow Cliff who overcame the nine-handed final table and reached a heads-up deal with Alan King Lun Lau to bag the APT Mythical Golden Lion trophy along with TWD 2,443,800 in prize money.

Chow Cliff
Chow Cliff Wins APT Taiwan Main Event

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2019 APT Taiwan Winners

Event Name Player Name Prize Money
Super High Rollers Jack Nai Yuan HuTWD 1,570,000
Dream MakerCheung Chung ChingTWD 2,65,200
Kitty Kuo High Rollers InvitationalAdrian AttenboroughTWD 2,073,400
Head HunterHwang Sang YeonTWD 150,300
PLO Hi Chen HaoTWD 121,600
High Rollers Single DayGuo DongTWD 699,700
NLH Single DaySebastian WongTWD 221,900
Main Event Chow Cliff TWD 2,443,800
Short Deck Mark Reyes TWD 158,800
High Rollers 1Ian Angrew Modder TWD 18,45,700
NLHE 1Azusa Maeda TWD 316,300
PLO HiAzusa MaedaTWD 149,200
Short Deck High Rollers Single Day 2Joo Hyen Park TWD 521,900
NLH Single Day 2 Shot ClockAlexsei VerashevTWD 202,300
Super Deep Stack Turbo Dong Guo TWD 218,900
Welovesports Deep Stack Hyper Turbo Lok GinoTWD 134,300
High Rollers 2Zhang ChangjieTWD 859,500
NLHE 2Hui Wei KwokTWD 269,300
Monster StackJames JaggerTWD 530,200
Deep Stack Turbo 1Sho FurutaniTWD 99,400
Deep Stack Turbo 2Liang Chih YingTWD 102,000
High Rollers Single Day 2Jennette TanTWD 795,800
Deep Stack Hyper Turbo Hiroyuki NodaTWD 106,800


2019 US Poker Open

The 2019 US Poker Open (USPO) that began at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on February 13 finally entered the history books on February 23, after David Peters took down the $100K Main Event. Peters dominated a field of 33 runners to take the event down for $1.32 Million. Additionally, he also raced ahead of other contenders to win the overall USPO Championship title, pocketing $100,000 that came with the honor.

David Peters
David Peters Wins 2019 USPO Main Event

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Other tournaments in the series crowned winners in Koray Aldemir, Nick Schulman, Bryn Kenney, and Stephen Chidwick. Chidwick, who made a great headstart by winning the series opener $10K NLH for $216,000, took down his second title at the series in Event #6 -$25K PLO, banking a payday of $351,000.

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2019 USPO Winners

Event NamePlayer Name Prize Money
Event #1-$10K NLH Stephen Chidwick $216,000
Event #2 - $10K PLO Jordan Cristos $179,200
Event #3 - $10K NLHLauren Roberts $218,400
Event #4 - $10K Short DeckSean Winter$151,200
Event #5 – $25K NLH Ali Imsirovic $442,000
Event #6 - $25K PLOStephen Chidwick$351,000
Event #7 - $25K NLHBryn Kenney$450,000
Event #8 - $25K 8-Game Mix ChampionshipNick Schulman$270,000
Event #9 - $50K NLHKoray Aldemir $738,000
$100K Main EventDavid Peters $1,320,000

2019 PPPoker World Championship

The PPPoker World Championship played out at Resorts World Manila from February 16-21. With a combined prize pool guarantee of PHP 30 Million ($574,665), the seven-day festival had 16 tournaments on its schedule. Headlining the show was the first-ever PPWC Teams Event and the PHP 20M Main Event. While the opening week saw Team India make an early exit from the Teams Event, Team Thailand claimed the banner and winner’s payday of PHP 7 Million (₹95,53,656) after defeating Team Malaysia to the finish line.

The attention then moved over to the Main Event where 383 hopefuls entered via three starting flights. We saw six Indians namely Abhinav Iyer, Kalyan Chakravarthy, Aditya Sushant, Rajeev Kanjani, Rishab Jain and Jasven Saigal progress to Day 2 and only Kanjanimade it to the final day where he finished eighth for PHP 446,200 (₹6.10 Lakhs). Sushant (17th for ₹2.11 Lakhs), Iyer (34th for ₹1.16 Lakhs) and Chakravarthy (57th for ₹1.08 Lakhs) also posted scores, while Jain and Saigal busted the Main Event empty-handed.

Rajeev Kanjani
Rajeev Kanjani

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Indian Cashes At 2019 PPWC

Player NameFinishPrize Money (PHP-INR)
Rajeev Kanjani8thPHP 446,200 - ₹6,10,851
Aditya Sushant17thPHP 155,200 - ₹2,11,740
Abhinav Iyer34thPHP 85,300 - ₹1,16,610
Kalyan Chakravarthy57thPHP 79,500 - ₹1,08,681

The event was eventually taken down by Filipino pro-Richard Marquez for PHP 4,850,000 (₹66.30 Lakhs).

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Josh Prager Takes Down LAPC One Million

The $1,100 buy-in L.A. Poker Classic (LAPC) One Million saw 1,171 entrants storming the felts. A deal between the final six contenders on the final table saw Josh Prager take home the title and a payday of $227,775.

Josh Prager
Josh Prager Wins LAPC One Million

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Nick Pupillo Wins HPT Black Hawk For $194,478

The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Black Hawk $1,650 Main Event attracted 588 hopefuls and outlasting them all was Nick Pupillo, who defeated HPT legend Reginald ‘Shawn’ Roberts heads-up to pocket his second HPT title and $198,478 in prize money.

Nick Pupillo
Nick Pupillo

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Matt Kirby Wins Canterbury Park Main Event For $99,573

The 2019 Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Canterbury Park $1,100 Main Event registered 479 entrants and topping them all was Matt Kirby who defeated Andy Redleaf heads-to claim the title along with $99,573 in prize money.

Matt Kirby
Matt Kirby

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Zachary Donovan Takes Down WSOP Circuit Coconut Creek Main Event

The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Seminole Casino Coconut Creek kicked off on February 8 with a roster of 14 events. Capping off the series was the $1,700 NLHE Main Event that attracted a total of 805 entries across two starting flights. Boston native Zachary Donovon defeated Sokchheka Pho heads-up to win the title and the $243,916 cash prize that came with it.

Zachary Donovan
Zachary Donovan

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And with this, we conclude this week’s roundup of the latest news updates and developments from the world of poker. We will return again next week with our weekly report, stay tuned.

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