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Just four days into the 2023 WPT Prime Vietnam, Team India is already making a statement. Despite the home advantage of the Vietnamese players, the Indian delegation has put up a stellar performance, boasting six cashes, three final-table finishes, and a historic title victory.
Avneesh Munjal (cover image) rose to fame on Thursday night as the first Indian to clinch a WPT trophy in the ongoing series. This Mumbai-based poker pro, known for his numerous live cash finishes since 2019, lacked a title victory until now. However, he filled that void with an impressive performance amidst a field of 510 entrants in the VN₫ 2 Billion Guaranteed WPT Opener. Munjal’s triumphant conquest earned him a significant VN₫ 770 Million!
Munjal was a dominating force on the final table. With an early lead in chips, he strategically eliminated his competitors and maintained a significant advantage over Vietnam’s Ta Nhat Vu in the heads-up stage. Despite Vu’s tenacious resistance, extending the battle to a tense two-hour heads-up clash, he fell short of overcoming Munjal’s substantial lead. Even though Vu staged an artful bluff towards the end, he succumbed to Munjal’s relentless pressure, securing a second-place finish and a respectable VN₫ 540 Million.
On the heels of an exciting run in the recently-concluded APPT Cambodia 2023, where he won his maiden live title in $300 Event 14: 6-Handed Hyper Turbo, Mohit Bohra opened his scorecard at the series in the WPT Opener, earning VN₫ 30.20 Million in 22nd place.
Dhaval Mudgal, who set the pace for the Indian group at the series with his second-place finish in Event #3: Deepstack NLH, made his second final table appearance in the VN₫ 4.40 Million Event 7: Megastack NLH, claiming the ninth position for VN₫ 14.38 Million. Meanwhile, Gokul Raj placed 13th for VN₫ 11.20 Million.
Siddharth Jolly contributed to India’s final table tally, finishing fourth in the VN₫ 3.30 Million Event 8: 15/15/15 PLO for VN₫ 12.80 Million.
Vietnam kept the title tally ticking with Trung Gia Nguyen (Won Event #3: Deepstack NLH for VN₫ 143.50 Million), Dinh Tien Thanh (Won Event 5: Turbo NLH for VN₫ 58.90 Million), and Anh Duy Nguyen (Won Event 8: 15/15/15 PLO for VN₫ 42 Million) shipping the other side events.
The much-awaited VN₫ 3 Billion GTD Mystery Bounty kicked off its inaugural flight, Day 1A, on Thursday, May 18. UK’s Stephen Nathan emerged as the day’s chip leader among 17 survivors from an initial 132 entries. India’s Alok Birewar, a two-time WPT trophy winner, advanced to Day 2 carrying a below-average stack of 62,000.
India’s Avneesh Munjal Champions WPT Opener For VN₫ 770 Million
Buy-in: VN₫ 8.80 Million
Prize Pool: VN₫ 3.957 Billion
Places Paid: 65
The three-day-long WPT Opener finally concluded on May 18, crowning a champion in India’s Avneesh Munjal – the win marked his maiden live tournament title. Day 2 of the VN₫ 8.80 Million buy-in featured event began with 65 survivors returning to the felts from a starting field of 510 entries.
A notable presence on the domestic circuit, Munjal has more celebrated exploits in online tournaments with ₹3.92 Crores in tracked online winnings. In the post-tournament interview, Munjal said, “This is what I’ve been preparing for. The online tournaments that, I keep practicing, so it feels great. It was all about patience, especially at heads up. I was leading 6:1, and then he was almost near stack at one point, but I just stayed patient.”
Munjal entered Day 2 with the third biggest stack of 503,500. He was accompanied by fellow countryman Mohit Bohra who ranked eighth in chips with 331,000.
Bohra fell out in 22nd place VN₫ 30.20 Million, while Munjal made it to the final table with the second largest stack of 2,420,000, breathing down the neck of the final table chip leader Thai Bao Vu (2,510,000).
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
Starting with the second-biggest stack of 48 BBs, Avneesh Munjal quickly jumped into the chip lead when he sent Ngoc Anh Cao to the rail in ninth place on the first hand of the final table. The elimination hand saw Cao move all-in with and Munjal called with . The board ran , and Munjal’s turned flush ended Cao’s run in the WPT Opener.
On the seventh hand, Quang Van Pham moved all-in from UTG+1 for 545,000, holding . The action folded to Munjal on the hijack, and he called with . The rest of the table folded, and the board opened . Pham rivered a set, but it wasn’t enough to overpower Munjal’s Jack-high straight.
Twelve hands later, Phuong Ngoc Nguyen‘s faced off against Duy Tien Pham’s . The board bricked, sending Phuong Ngoc Nguyen packing in seventh place.
Two more hands played out before Munjal claimed his third elimination on the final table. The hand in question saw Munjal raise to 140,000 from the hijack. Next to act, Duy Tien Pham 3-bet to 445,000. The action folded back to Munjal, who asked for a count before announcing all-in for 5.30 Million.
Duy Tien Pham
The showdown brought , and Munjal’s pocket sevens held, dismissing Pham in sixth place.
Munjal kept his elimination spree going. On the 35th hand, he raised it to 300,000 from the small blind, and Thai Bao Vu jammed from the big blind with . Munjal snap-called with . The community cards brought , ousting Vu in fifth place.
Three hands later, Munjal brought about another elimination. He shoved for 8.10 Million from UTG, holding . Van Phuong Nguyen called all-in from the button for 1.80 Million with . The other two players got out of the way. The board ran , and Munjal’s rivered flush knocked Van Phuong Nguyen out in fourth place.
Three-handed play continued for 16 hands before Tuan Anh Nguyen faced the brunt of Munjal`s streak. In the hand in question, the Vietnamese player raised it to 225,000 from the button with . Munjal jammed for 7.40 Million from the big blind with , and Tuan Anh Nguyen snap-called all-in for 2.40 Million. The community cards were no help to Tuan Anh Nguyen, who walked out in third place.
The heads-up between Avneesh Munjal (10 Million – 100 BBs) and Ta Nhat Vu (2.60 Million – 26 BBs) had the Indian starting with a commanding chip lead. Despite the significant deficit, the battle lasted for over two hours. Vu fought hard and, at one point, managed to spin up his stack to 38 BBs, while Munjal held 46 BBs. Despite Vu’s valiant fight, he never managed to take the chip lead away from Munjal, eventually conceding to a runner-up finish.
Vu pulled off a cheeky bluff just before the final hand played out. The hand saw Vu raise to 350,000 from the button with . Munjal, holding , called to see the flop . Munjal check-raised to 700,000 following a 250,000 bet from Vu. The Vietnamese player called for 450,000, and the turn brought . Munjal checked again as Vu led out for 400,000. Munjal called, and the river showed . Munjal was in the lead with a flopped pair of fours and decided to check. Vu fired a bet of 1 Million, forcing Munjal to use up his final time bank. After much deliberation, Munjal folded his winning hand.
Vu’s good fortune was short-lived as the very next hand turned out to be the final one of the tournament.
On the 106th hand on the final table, Munjal raised it to 350,000 and Vu 3-bet to 1.20 Million. After some tanking, Munjal announced all-in for 7.20 Million, and Vu snap-called for his last 5.50 Million.
Ta Nhat Vu
The board relegated Vu to a runner-up finish as Munjal went on to clinch his maiden live title and lifted his career-first WPT trophy!
You can watch the replay of the final table live-stream below.
Final Table Results (VN₫)
Vietnam’s Trung Gia Nguyen Wins Event 7: Megastack NLH For VN₫ 143.50 Million; India’s Dhaval Mudgal Finishes 9th (VN₫ 14.38 Million)
Buy-in: VN₫ 4.40 Million
Prize Pool: VN₫ 508.28 Million
Places Paid: 17
In a thrilling showdown in Event 7: Megastack NLH, Vietnam’s Trung Gia Nguyen triumphed, claiming the title and a hefty cash prize of VN₫ 143.50 Million. Fellow compatriot Dan Chu The finished runner-up for VN₫ 90.90 Million.
Amid the roster of 131 entrants (105 unique), India’s Dhaval Mudgal also made his mark, battling through the competition to secure a commendable ninth place, earning himself VN₫ 14.38 Million from the VN₫ 508.28 Million prize pool – his second final table finish at the series.
Fellow Indian Gokul Raj bagged his first cash of the series, placing 13th for VN₫ 11.20 Million.
Final Table Results (VN₫)
Vietnam’s Anh Duy Nguyen Nails Event 8: 15/15/15 PLO For VN₫ 42 Million; India’s Siddartha Jolly Finishes 4th (VN₫ 12.80 Million)
Buy-in: VN₫ 3.30 Million
Prize Pool: VN₫ 128.04 Million
Places Paid: 6
In Event 8: 15/15/15 PLO, Vietnam’s Anh Duy Nguyen claimed the title, bagging a significant VN₫ 42 Million following a heads-up deal with Van Ky Lam (2nd for VN₫ 37.40 Million).
Among a field of 44 entries (28 unique), India’s Siddharth Jolly stood out, finishing in an admirable fourth place and earning VN₫ 12.80 Million from the VN₫ 128.04 Million prize pool.
Complete Payouts (VN₫)
*denotes a heads-up deal
Vietnam’s Dinh Tien Thanh Ships Event 5: Turbo NLH For VN₫ 58.90 Million
Buy-in: VN₫ 4.40 Million
Prize Pool: VN₫ 143.55 Million
Places Paid: 6
In a spectacular display of poker acumen in Event 5: Turbo NLH, Vietnam’s Dinh Tien Thanh emerged victorious. He took home the title and an impressive VN₫ 58.90 Million from a prize pool of VN₫ 143.55 Million. This triumphant win was achieved against a field of 39 challengers.
Complete Payouts (VN₫)
UK’s Stephen Nathan Leads 17 Survivors From Day 1A of the VN₫ 3 Billon GTD Mystery Bounty, India’s Alok Birewar Advances
The inaugural day of the VN₫ 3 Billion GTD Mystery Bounty saw a robust participation of 132 contenders. After several hours of strategic play, only 17 competitors remained standing – all assured a money finish.
Stephen Nathan from the UK came out on top of the Day 1A field, accumulating a stack of 388,000. Remarkably, he was the sole player to cross the 300K mark. Close on his heels were local players Nguyễn Trung Quân (276,500) and Ngô Văn ĐạT (241,000), making up the top three stacks of the day.
The two-time WPT trophy winner Alok Birewar (62,000) was the sole representative from India to advance from Day 1A.
Day 1B of the tournament commenced sharply at 11 AM (local time) on May 19. Following suit, Day 1C is set to unfold at the same time on May 20.
End of Day 1A Chip Counts
Content Courtesy: So Much Poker & World Poker Tour
Images Courtesy: So Much Poker & Crown Poker Club
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