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This Week in Poker: March 18 – 24

Saurabh Rohila, Sahil Agarwal, Vaibhav Sharma & Raman Gujral
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  • Namita Ghosh March 25, 2020
  • 5 Minutes Read

In the PokerGuru feature ‘This Week in Poker,’ we bring you the weekly roundup of the most significant 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!

With the Coronavirus outbreak now a global pandemic, over half the world’s population is presently on lockdown. As on date, the world tally of infected people stands at 434,568 confirmed cases, and the pandemic has already claimed 19,602 lives. Forced to stay indoors, and self-isolate, the global poker community seems to be warding off their boredom by spending more time playing online poker.

In such a time of crisis, Spartan Poker has taken the lead as far as CSR initiative is concerned. The site was the first one to announce that it would be donating all the rake that it collects from its Windfall tournaments for COVID-19 awareness and relief campaigns. The site has pledged to contribute at least ₹3 Lakhs every month for the cause.

As expected, with ‘social distancing’ protocols in place, the domestic sites have seen a remarkable rise in online traffic, and riding high on the wave of increased player activity was the Spartan Super Series (SSS). The series had an 11-day run before culminating on Sunday. Its flagship tourney – SSS #61 The Millionaire ₹1 Crore GTD – unlike its predecessor editions, was a one-day affair. Rising above a reg-infested field of 1,256 hopefuls (586 unique, 302 re-entries and 368 rebuys) was the up-and-coming poker talent, Saurabh ‘darksider’ Rohila. The 27-year-old IIT Delhi graduate works for an e-commerce company in Bengaluru. On Sunday, Rohila beat many seasoned pros, including his heads-up opponent Raman ‘tathagat’ Gujral to win his first-ever online title. While he has rightfully earned the bragging rights of becoming a Millionaire champion, earning a ₹23.46 Lakhs paycheque, Rohila also finished runner-up in the SSS#63 Electric Big Daddy ₹10 Lakhs GTD the same day for ₹1.52 Lakhs, taking his cumulative winnings on Sunday to ₹24.96 Lakhs. Needless to say, Rohila is our “PokerGuru Star of the Week!!”

A formidable player in his own right, Gujral finished runner-up for a hefty ₹14.24 Lakhs.

Two more players earned six-figure scores this week. Poker pro, coach, and the 2020 Red Dragon Manila Kickoff champion Sahil ‘Variance’ Agarwal is widely acknowledged as one of the top MTT players in the country. This former mentee of poker pioneer Aditya Agarwal took down the SSS #44 Super High Roller ₹55 Lakhs GTD last Thursday for a colossal ₹21.12 Lakhs. Eventual runner-up Vaibhav ‘Nikka Zaildar’ Sharma pocketed ₹14.34 Lakhs for placing second.

There’s much for poker aficionados to keep busy since Spartan Poker has come out with new DLY Prime tournaments that feature daily tournaments offering over ₹2 Crores in prize pool guarantees every week. Alongside, a week-long cash game promotion ‘Make It and Take It’ has begun on Poker Dangal.

PokerBaazi is another site that’s amping up its tournament offerings. While the PokerBaazi BankRoll Builder Series (PBBS) has already gone live, the popular PokerBaazi Monthly Value Series (PMVS) is coming up next from April 1 to 5. This time the PMVS features new game variants and a combined prize pool guarantee of more than ₹2.1 Crores. The tournament action is building up for India’s biggest tournament to-date – EndBoss ₹5 Crores GTD – that will run from April 15 to 19, promising a life-changing ₹1 Crore to the winner!

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a 21-day nation-wide lockdown to break the chain of the spread of the COVID-19, the online crowds are only going to get bigger! Not just in India but also abroad, online poker is witnessing an unprecedented spike in numbers. Though a prolonged lockdown could ultimately affect the economy and impact online traffic, for now, its boom time for online poker sites!

PokerStars’ 14th Anniversary-special, Sunday Millions had a smashing run on Sunday. The $12.5 Million GTD tourney needed 62,116 players to break-even. Not only did it cross the mark on the opening day itself when it clocked in 85,432 entries, late registrations on Day 2 made for a final field of 93,000 entries! The event collected an astronomical $18,603,200 prize pool, becoming the biggest online tourney to be hosted outside of the partypoker MILLIONS Online high rollers. At the end of it, Brazil’s ‘AAAArthur’ won the event for $1.192 Million following a four-way deal with the other three contenders. Remarkably, the champion had satellited his way into the tourney for only $11!

In other significant developments, former WPT and WSOPE champion David Sands has become the first high profile poker pro to test positive for COVID-19. The World Poker Tour (WPT) had to call off its delayed final tables for three important Main Events that were scheduled to be hosted at the HyperX Esports Arena, Vegas.

Gambling venues like casinos continued to close doors across the world and in the US, where Nevada and New Jersey have been completely shut down.


Online Railbird Report

The domestic felts bristled with heightened action this week, and dominating the action was the Spartan Super Series (SSS) that hosted its marquee tourney, SSS #61 The Millionaire ₹1 Crore GTD, on Sunday. The event was a battleground between 1,256 hopefuls (586 unique, 302 re-entries and 368 rebuys) and eventually crowned a champion in 27-year-old Saurabh ‘darksider’ Rohila. Bengaluru-based Rohila beat a stacked field of regs, including his heads-up rival Raman ‘tathagat’ Gujral to join the elite Millionaire club, earning a mouth-watering ₹23.46 Lakhs along the way. His remarkable performance makes him our “PokerGuru Star of the Week.”

Saurabh Rohila


While Rohila has enough reasons to celebrate, Gujral added a juicy ₹14.24 Lakhs to his wallet for finishing runner-up.

Raman Gujral


Another prominent name taking up the podium this week was MTT pro Sahil ‘Variance’ Agarwal, who took down the SSS #44 Super High Roller ₹55 Lakhs GTD for a colossal ₹21.12 Lakhs. Eventual runner-up Vaibhav ‘Nikka Zaildar’ Sharma pocketed ₹14.34 Lakhs for placing second.

PokerGuru Ambassador Madhav ‘Madzoopa’ Gupta was another player who won big this week. Gupta captured the SSS #51 The Elite Highroller ₹55 Lakhs GTD for ₹12.29 Lakhs.

The near-global shut down owing to the Coronavirus scare has led to a massive upsurge in online traffic, and this Sunday turned out to be huge for the PokerStars Sunday Million $12.5 Million GTD. The tournament was the brand’s 14th anniversary-special offering and beat all expectations to garner a gigantic field of 85,432 entries on the very first day itself! With late entrants on Day 2, the flagship clocked in 93,000 entries and set a new record by generating an $18,603,200 prize pool. This exceeded the guarantee by 48.8%, and if you don’t consider the partypoker MILLIONS Online high rollers, it is the most massive prize money that any online tournament has ever collected to-date!

Brazil’s ‘AAAArthur,’ whose prior biggest cash was a measly $90 had won his way into the tourney via an $11 satellite, and he converted that into a life-changing score by coming out as the eventual champion in this record-breaking tourney. The player clinched the title and $1.192 Million following a four-way deal with Stefan ‘CrAzY_sTeFaN’ Piele Dragos (runner-up for $921,328), ‘caroline2963 (3rd for $786,873) and ‘salonteskis’ (4th for $826,919).

The notable scores of the week include –

PlayerPrize MoneyEventPoker Site
Saurabh ‘darksider’ Rohila₹23.46 LakhsSSS#61 Millionaire ₹1 Crore GTDSpartan Poker
Sahil ‘Variance’ Agarwal₹21.12 LakhsSSS#44 Super High Roller ₹55 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Madhav ‘Madzoopa’ Gupta₹12.29 LakhsSSS#51 The Elite Highroller ₹55 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Nishant ‘FunkyouFTW1’ Sharma₹9.85 LakhsSSS#62 Sunday SuperStack ₹40 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Dhruvin ‘thepokerplayer’ Kothari₹9.80 LakhsSSS#37 Destiny ₹35 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Abhishek ‘thegrinder’ Garg₹8.27 LakhsThe Ballers ₹17 Lakhs GTDAdda52
rg90₹7.95 LakhsMega Suits AF ₹30 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Rubin ‘kornkif’ Labroo₹7.92 LakhsGodfather ₹25 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Harshit ‘hashstack’ Chopra₹6.23 LakhsAdda52 Millions AF ₹20 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Vidwath ‘Qweasdzxc’ Shetty₹5.94 LakhsBSS SuperStack ₹25 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Aarnav₹5.50 LakhsSSS#43 Ultron ₹22 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Raghav ‘thatssosick’ Bansal₹5.03 LakhsThe Summit ₹15 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Akshay ‘youcantcallme’ Nasa₹4.30 LakhsSunday Highroller ₹20 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Avinash ‘Pokerface63’ Anand₹4.30 LakhsSSS #57 The Beast – PLO Highroller ₹15 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Goonjan ‘gmtesting’ Mall₹4.08 LakhsThe Endeavour ₹15 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Chirag ‘mahikk’ Bhardwaj₹4 LakhsInception ₹10 Lakhs GTDAdda52
GodMode₹3.75 LakhsMega Stack ₹20 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Anirban D. ‘pokernoob’ Das₹3.70 LakhsDestiny 13.0 FinaleSpartan Poker
Madhav ‘goacartel’ Gupta₹3.67 LakhsThe Bout ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerbaazi
Kanav ‘SneakyBlinders’ Parwal₹3.59 LakhsReCharge ₹12 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Sanjay ‘Floppednuts’ Kumar₹3.53 LakhsBig Slick AF ₹15 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Anurag ‘NormanBates’ Srivastava₹3.36 LakhsHitman ₹7.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Shrey ‘pandeyshrey33’ Pandey₹3.23 LakhsSunday Special Progressive KO ₹15 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Laksh ‘B00MTilt23’ Pal Singh₹3.21 LakhsHighroller ₹15 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
CONSHOVE₹3.17 LakhsHoldem High ₹8 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Suyog ‘suyog15’ Pawar₹2.73 LakhsMaverick ₹10 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Don Julio₹2.63 LakhsSSS#50 TGIF ₹12 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
blackout420₹2.63 LakhsValue Town ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
deuceseven27₹2.51 LakhsThe Pride ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Arjun ‘Don Julio’ Kochhar₹2.39 LakhsSSS#63 Electric Big Daddy ₹10 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Hiteshh₹2.25 LakhsThe Race ₹7.5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Anuj ‘brockLesnar95’ Yadav₹2.11 LakhsUppercut 6-Max MAGIC Edition ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Sandeep ‘SandeeSingh’ Singh₹2.08 LakhsSSS #56 DareDevil ₹8.5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
vinaash₹1.91 LakhsMonday Hustle ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Guneet ‘guntz’ Kwatra₹1.91 LakhsDeep Freeze ₹6 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Aditya ‘hashoil’ Sardana₹1.80 LakhsGrinders#33 Main Event ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Ankit ‘d00mtr00p3r’ Wadhawan₹1.79 LakhsFri-Yay ₹6 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Alok ‘Mazacar’ Birewar₹1.62 LakhsSSS#45 Big Bounty ₹7 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Pranay ‘setmeup’ Chawla₹1.54 LakhsGrinders#19 Thursday MonsterStack ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Sahil ‘ImHighIshove’ Mahboobani₹1.50 LakhsSSS#36 The Dominator ₹6 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
99ayka99₹1.45 LakhsThe Monster 6-Max ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerbaazi
Spacedog₹1.45 LakhsOmaha AF ₹5 Lakhs GTDAdda52
[email protected]₹1.36 LakhsSaturday Eliminator ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Deepak ‘Optimist’Singh₹1.21 LakhsSSS#49 Dominator ₹6 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Ankit ‘Bhoochal’ Saxena₹1.21 LakhsNight On Stars ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Tyler7₹1.20 LakhsSunday Highroller ₹5 Lakhs GTDPoker Dangal
Reg_Slayer₹1.20 LakhsHexagram ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Isildur5292₹1.19 LakhsSSS#38 Mega Freeze ₹5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Md. ‘Barrel_57’ Zeeshan₹1.17 LakhsDestiny Junior ₹4 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Ram ‘mowgumotu’ Kakkar₹1.07 LakhsHexagram ₹2.5 Lakhs GTDAdda52
WizardofoZ₹1.04 LakhsThursday Heat ₹4 Lakhs GTD9stacks
Md ‘007Bahubali’ Zeeshan₹1.02 LakhsGrinders#24 Friday SuperStack ₹3 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Shardul ‘duuurrrr’ Parthasarathi₹1.01 LakhsTuesday MonsterStack ₹3 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Kartik ‘Pegasus1505’ Ved₹97,680Hexagram ₹3 Lakhs GTDAdda52
74vinayjain₹97,566Grinders#14 6-Max Wednesday ₹3 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Kabi143₹97,440Hexagram ₹2.5 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Hi Mad₹93,433SSS#60 Electric Afternoon Hi-Fi ₹3 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Anuj ‘anuj25395’ Yadav₹90,720Hexagram ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
faze123₹84,750Hexagram ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Akshay ‘SickRun’ Gupta₹83,475Ultimate PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Devrat ‘vickypune’ Singh₹78,267Hexagram ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Esoteric₹77,175Ultimate PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Karan ‘Paul7788’ Paul₹76,237Grinders #29 Saturday MonsterStack ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
bluffMyNuts₹75,458Ultimate PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Sharkyshark₹71,500Ultimate PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
prazz₹68,972Night Rider – Monster Stack ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Ayush ‘A111’ Jain₹68,599Sunday Kill PKO ₹5 Lakhs GTD9stacks
Junior-KK₹68,488Ultimate PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
swAAmi₹66,464BSS PLO ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
MR.BEAST₹62,488Tuesday Flash ₹4 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Bet2Win₹60,029SSS#59 Afternoon Showdown ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Anirban ‘nocluewho’ D Das₹56,806Sunday Stars ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
SK311281₹55,318The Classic ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Ala916₹54,099Night Rider ₹2.5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
dhramputra₹50,801NLHE 6-Max ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
PsykoEko₹43,341Deepstack ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Anshu ‘nope11’ Pandey₹35,464Battlefield Tuesday ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPoker Dangal
Fishonthetable₹34,697SSS#47 Afternoon Showdown ₹2 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
scorpio₹26,400Warrior Arena ₹1.2 Lakhs GTDPoker Dangal
Anshu ‘nope11’ Pandey₹24,156Dangal Friday ₹1 Lakh GTDPoker Dangal
ARNAV009₹24,108Monday Blues ₹1 Lakh GTDPoker Dangal
Somenn ‘Prokiller’ Singh₹16,482Saturday Hustle ₹50K GTDPoker Dangal
Lalit ‘MsDhoni07’ Devpal₹15,480Wow Wednesday ₹50K GTDPoker Dangal


PokerBaazi Announces Special April PMVS Edition

PokerBaazi will be hosting a special April edition of its popular PokerBaazi Monthly Value Series (PMVS). The series will run from April 1 to 5 and boasts of more than ₹2.1 Crores in prize pool guarantees over a 25-event schedule.

PokerBaazi PMVS

Spartan Poker Introduces New DLY Prime Tournaments

Online poker site Spartan Poker has launched DLY Prime tournaments. Starting March 22, the DLY Primes feature over ₹2 Crores in prize pool guarantees every week. The standout tourneys that are part of the DLY Primes include Destiny Junior ₹4 Lakhs GTD, 5 for 5, the Flash ₹4 Lakhs GTD and Deep Stack Bounty ₹4 Lakhs GTD.

Read the complete story here


Poker Dangal Announces Cash Game Promo ‘Make It & Take It’

Poker Dangal has launched a week-long cash game promotion ‘Make It and Take It’ starting March 25 that offers players a chance to win up to ₹15K bonus in a single hand on the site`s Texas Hold ’em cash tables.

Read the complete story here


Spartan Poker Starts Relief Efforts to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, industry leader Spartan Poker has announced that it will be donating all the rake collected from its Windfall tournaments towards the relief efforts for COVID-19. The site has pledged to contribute at least ₹3 Lakhs per month for the cause.

Spartan Poker initiates relief work for Coronavirus outbreak

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PokerStars Launches New Cash Game Variant – Swap Hold’em

Global poker giant PokerStars has launched a new game variant called Swap Hold ‘em. The six-handed game is available on the cash game lobby of the site’s .net and .uk clients as of now.

Swap Hold 'em

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Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Grow; Online Poker Booms

There is no denying that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is growing grimmer by the day. The worldwide count of confirmed cases has crossed the 423,000-mark, with the death toll close to 20,000. With countries going on lockdown and businesses shutting down to maintain the ‘social distancing’ protocols, all industries, including poker, have been affected.

Since the outbreak, multiple live poker series have been either postponed or canceled worldwide. Joining this ever-growing list was the PokerStars Players NLHE Championship (PSPC) Barcelona and the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event final tables from the stops at Gardens Pokers Championship, Borgata Winter Poker Open, and WPT LA Poker Classic.

Read the complete story here

As the virus has been rapidly spreading across the US, casinos have been forced shut. On March 17, the Governor of Nevada, Steve Sisolak, announced that all casinos in Nevada would remain closed for 30 days. Moreover, even the Atlantic City Governor Phil Murphy had ordered the closure of all nine casinos in the city for an indefinite period.

Steve Sisolak


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In India too, the situation is becoming dire, with the total number of positive cases inching towards 500. Since casinos in Goa and Sikkim have been shut down, the live poker scene is on a standstill. However, that inadvertently has led to an online poker boom of sorts. Last Sunday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for the ‘Janata Curfew’, it resulted in a massive spike in online attendance. Almost all the Sunday marquees crushed their guarantees on the day with three players entering the Millionaire’s club through the online MTTs.

PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi


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Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before some players from the poker circuit tested positive, and on March 23, former WPT and WSOPE champion David Sands confirmed that he has contracted the COVID-19. While no poker pro from India or even Asia has announced whetherthey have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, if the disease continues to spread, this cannot be ruled out.

David Sands


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Poker Central Launches Poker Masters Online in Partnership with partypoker

Renowned poker brand Poker Central has partnered with online poker site partypoker to announce the launch of the first-ever Poker Masters Online. The high-roller series runs from April 12 to 26 and promises $15 Million in prize pool guarantees across 30 events.

Poker Central partners with partypoker for Poker Masters Online

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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, till then stay indoors and stay safe!

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