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Its finally here! The most-awaited series on the domestic circuit, the World Poker Tour (WPT) India 2018, hit the ground running. The series got going with the ₹20,000 Kickoff No Limit Hold’em with many big names in contention for the top prize. If 2017 WPT India saw healthy participation numbers, then this year the series promises to be the grandest of all poker festivals ever, and looks on track to break all previous attendance records.
After a day brimming with exhilarating action that saw many favourites walking out and some new faces managing to make a mark, the starting field of 201 entries in the series-opener has whittled down to a final table of nine players.
India`s first-ever World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Aditya Sushant (773,000) will be leading the charge at the final table. A protégé of poker stalwart Aditya Agarwal, Sushant is clearly the hot favourite among the nine finalists and is rearing to open his scorecard at the series in style. Adda52 Team Pro Kunal Patni (536,000) and Abhishek Garg (453,000) round off the top three stacks.
The event will soon crown a deserving winner, as the final table resumes at 3pm today.
Taking a look at how the tournament ran, many heavyweights were seen in action including the likes of WPT Vietnam Main Event Winner Dhaval Mudgal, MadOverPoker Pro Zarvan Tumboli, Pranav Khandalkar, Rajat Sharma, Adda52 Team Pro Amit Jain, Bollywood actress and Adda52 Celebrity Pro Minissha Lamba, Sanjay Taneja, Nishant Sharma, co-founder of The Indian Poker Series (TIPS) Jaydeep Dawer, Meherzad Munsaf, Abhishek Jalan, Vivek Rughani, along with the First Lady of Indian poker Shuchi Chamaria, among many others.
WPT India was introduced in November 2017 with the WPTDeepstacks Series which took place onboard Casino Deltin Royale in Goa. The first series was a raging success attracting over 1,400 entries, with the Main Event alone contributing with 527 entries. The series-opener ₹20K Kickoff was taken down by Mumbai-lad Kanishka Samant, last year, who bested a field of 195 entries for a ₹9.12 Lakhs payday.
The man-in-charge and Business Head of Poker at Deltin Royale, Manish J. Adnani, stated “WPT 2017 was a great start for the WPT Family in India with 527 entries in the Main Event with a ₹2.8 Crore prize pool and ₹60 Lakhs for the winner. This was indeed a milestone in the Indian poker fabric. This year looks more promising judging by the numbers that the DPT July Main Event witnessed with 457 entries in the Main Event with a ₹1.59 Crore prize pool. We should witness a 20% jump in the WPT November Main Event numbers which would be a very healthy turnout.”
True to his prediction, the 2018 ₹20K Kickoff event drew in 201 entries, generating ₹3,801,312 in prize money, with the eventual winner set to take home ₹9.35 Lakhs today. The top 26 places will recieve payouts, with a min-cash worth ₹28,400.
The ₹20K Kickoff event kicked off with participation numbers growing by the hour. Soon, there were 65 entries in all and the numbers finally rounded off at 201 entries by the time late registration closed at the end of Level 6. With 25-minute levels we saw swift and energetic action on the felts.
Seasoned pro Dhaval Mudgal, who brought home his first international title in the 2018 WPT Vietnam Main Event for VND 2.42 Billion (₹76.02 Lakhs) and was part of the Indian team that took part in the 2018 WPT Korea Global Teams Event, was among the many top names in the running.
The Kickoff event also saw Young Gun Devesh Thapar, who scored a 13th place finish at the 2018 Asian Poker Tour (APT) Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Main Event Championship for VND 115.41 Million (₹3.40 Lakhs), in the mix.
First Lady of Indian poker Shuchi Chamaria, who has had a breakout month with a number of deep runs across various online sites and more recently final-tabled the Baadshah Gaming Live Tournament (BLT3) ₹35K Main Event finishing fourth for ₹3.25 Lakhs, was another top name in attendance. . After Level 12, Chamaria was among the final 40 players remaining in the field. However, a few setbacks resulted in her elimination short of the final table.
Adda52 Celebrity pro Minissha Lamba on the other hand made an early exit from the event. Lamba clashed with Mayer Penkar in a hand where she was seated left to under the gun and led out for 1,000 on the flop and big blind Penkar raised to 2,000. Lamba called to see the turn card open and made it 3,000 to call, while Penkar raised to 6,000. Lamba called again. The river was a blank for her and Penkar moved all in for 5,000 prompting Lamba to call. Penkar tabled for the nut flush and Lamba mucked her hand and went short stacked with only 300 in chips. She was eliminated shortly after.
Just as late registration closed towards end of Level 6, Ekaterina Solomon saw his tournament run end in a hand where he held pocket sixes against Vatsalya’s ace-jack. Solomon moved all in for 7,500 and was called by Vatsalya. The board ran out ace-jack-queen-nine-eight, bringing Vatsalya two pair and Solomon was railed out.
Aditya Arora, runner-up finisher at the 2017 WPT India Main Event was among the players who fell out early. In Level 6, Arora raised from the button for 1,500 with and was called by Santosh Adapuka who held . The flop ran and Arora slid in a c-bet of 2,000 that Adapuka called. The turn didn’t improve either of their hands, but Arora raised to 4,000 prompting Adapuka to call off again. Arora then moved all in with 4,000 on the river and Adapuka called, showing his straight that was enough to send Arora out of the game.
Devang Yadav then rivered a flush and scooped a big pot. In the hand he held against Pankaj Gulati who had . The flop fell and Yadav led out 2,100 while Gulati raised it to 5,000. Yadav quickly called, and the turn was the on which both players decided to check. The river completed Yadav’s flush draw and he then bet 10,500 that was called by Gulati, who held top pair with top kicker. Yadav’s hand held, and he doubled up on Gulati.
Action got interesting in Level 10 where Deepak Singh was seen playing in hyper-turbo mode in three consecutive hands. Ankit Takle lost two huge pots to Singh who doubled up twice in the process.
Young Gun Devesh Thapar then lost a big pot where he raised for 4,500 from the cutoff with and Abhishek Garg moved 36,000 all in with . The flop was the followed by the on the turn and the on the river. Garg rivered a straight to get a much-needed double up.
Not long thereafter, we saw Sandeep Singh doubling up with his higher two pair of aces and tens against Sanjay Taneja’s two pair of aces and eights, Aditya Pree dug off Rajat Sharma in a hand with his pitted against Sharma’s and though Sharma paired his queen on the flop, the on the turn gave Pree a superior set and with the river bricking Sharma’s chances, it was Pree who picked the pot.
One of the most crucial moments was witnessed when Dhaval Mudgal scored a double elimination in a hand where preflop, Mudgal led out 33,0000 and called all-in moves of Vineet Kumar, who bet 17,000, and Gokul Krishna, who bet 13,000 from the big blind. Mudgal held against Kumar’s and Krishna’s . The board ran and Mudgal’s pocket sevens saw him rake in the healthy pot as Kumar and Krishna packed up to leave for the rail.
Aditya Sushant currently holds the biggest stack on the ₹20K Kickoff final table, with 773,000 in his bag. With a career glittered with title wins, Sushant is the first Indian to bring home a WSOP gold bracelet. His latest achievements include winning the ₹35K Main Event at the third edition of Baadshah Gaming Live Tournament (BLT3) in October where he added ₹8.85 Lakhs to his quickly expanding poker resume.
Adda54 Team Pro and WPT regular Kunal Patni holds the second-largest stack on the final table with 536,000 in chips. A seasoned player, Patni was a prominent figure at the inaugural WPT India series where he added two cashes to his name. He finished fifth in the ₹7,000 No Limit Hold’em – Ship It Event for ₹26,000 and collected ₹1.25 Lakhs in prize money for placing 11th in the ₹30,000 No Limit Hold’em – Superstack Day 1. However, his best score at the WPT came in the €1,500 WPTDeepStacks – Berlin where he narrowly missed the title and took runner-up place for €96,140 (₹78.28 Lakhs), while Germany’s Dustin Mangold won the title and the €134,809 top prize.
1. Aditya Sushant – 773,000
2. Kunal Patni – 536,000
3. Abhishek Garg – 453,000
4. Bharat Bhushan – 451,000
5. Himanshu Kataria – 225,000
6. Dr Shambhu Mandal – 202,000
7. Ashish Kaushik – 146,000
8. Lokesh Budhiraja – 124,000
9. Abhishek Grover – 106,000
Content and images courtesy: onlinepokernews.in/PokerNews India
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