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The World Poker Tour Prime India, being hosted onboard the floating Casino Deltin Royale in Goa, handed out two WPT trophies on Friday, April 14. A few hours after Vineet Kumar took down the ₹40K PLO, the ₹30K Teams NLH Freezeout wound up proceedings, with the team of Rajesh Rajpopat and Nikhil Jalan emerging victorious.
The duo was among 43 teams who entered the tournament, which is a new addition to the WPT India schedule. Entering the final table as the second-biggest stacks, they made a dash to the finish line, defeating Clinton Tavares and Pratyush Ladha heads-up. In addition to punching their names as first-time WPT trophy winners, Rajpopat and Jalan collectively won ₹4.58 Lakhs in prize money.
Rajpopat is a seasoned hand in the live tournament circuit, having won his first live title in the ₹16.50K NLHE Super Knockout at the 2015 IPC for ₹1.58 Lakhs. He has had a close brush to winning the WPT trophy before when he came agonizingly close to taking down the 2017 WPT India High Roller. He lost the title heads-up to Rajnish Singh and bagged away a career-best ₹24.49 Lakhs as the runner-up.
Rajpopat`s tournament scorecard has three other final table scores from the Deltin Poker Tournament, including the 2017 July DPT Main Event (4th for ₹8.32 Lakhs), the 2018 July DPT ₹15K Bounty (8th for ₹51,233), and 2022 April DPT ₹15K Bounty (2nd for ₹3.91 Lakhs). With the WPT Prime India Teams NLH victory, the former Adda52 Mega Suits winner, Rajpopat, clinched his career-first WPT title, breaking an eight-year-long live title drought.
Jalan, who last cashed the WPT India ₹30K NLH SuperStack (18th for ₹85,000) in November 2017, and famously won PokerHigh’s flagship Remonetizer in March 2017, posted his first-ever live tournament victory.
The Teams NLH Freezeout had a unique concept with two players on each team. One of them started playing from Level 1 with 7,500 chips. If the player busted, their partner resumed with the same starting stack. On the final table, team members were swapped every round, and at three-handed play, both team members converged to play together, right down to the final hand.
The single-day tournament had a turbo-paced structure with 20-minute levels. Late registrations were left open until the end of Level 7. With 43 teams coming in, the tournament collected a prize pool of ₹11,73,900, and the top six teams got paid.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The final table saw its first elimination in Level 15, with the eventual winners, Nikhil Jalan-Rajeesh Rajpopat taking out the short-stacked Aditya Sareen–Shane Hodges. Looking to double-up, Sareen-Hodges jammed with . Jalan-Rajpopat called with and hit the winning flush on the board .
Next up, Rajeev Sachdeva–Siddharth Jolly was shown the door in eighth place. Their ace-queen hit top pair on board, but their opponents spiked a better two-pair.
Harsh Tanna-Niyut Shah had the most unfortunate departure, missing the payouts by whiskers. The team hit the rail in seventh place, falling on the money bubble.
Navneet Anantharaman-Prateek Uppal min-cashed the tournament in sixth place. The duo moved all-in for 45,000, and Rajpopat-Jalan called them off.
Anantharaman-Uppal were drawing thin, and to make matters worse, Rajpopat-Jalan hit a set on the board , trimming the final table to five teams.
Clinton Tavares-Pratyush Ladha then routed Abhishek R-Sandeep Sharma in fifth place when their two pair of aces and fives dominated the latter`s queen-ten.
Stalin Manoharan-Rohit Chauhan were dispatched in fourth place after their failed to improve against Clinton Tavares-Pratyush Ladha’s on the runout .
With the team of Harsha Reddy-Hemanth Kumar falling in third place, it was down to the heads-up round.
The heads-up between Rajesh Rajpopat –Nikhil Jalan and Clinton Tavares–Pratyush Ladha was short-lived. On the final hand, Tavares-Ladh moved all in with . The eventual champions made the call, showing . It was off to the races, and luckily for Rajpopat-Jalan, the board panned out , bringing them the winning two-pair of aces and kings, earning them the prestigious WPT trophy!
Final Table Results (INR)
Images & Live Coverage Information Courtesy: Gaming News 247
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