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Back in 2013, we had featured Dhaval Mudgal (cover image) as one of our Young Guns, and the Delhi-based musician turned poker pro, who was already a recognizable name back then, has reached new heights since.
Bringing top honors to the country by taking down the biggest poker event ever hosted in Vietnam, Mudgal emerged victorious at the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) Vietnam Main Event and walked away with his career-best score worth a whopping VND 2,427,580,000 (~US$104,000 or ₹76.02 Lakhs)!
It was certainly a roller coaster ride for Mudgal, who found the perfect mix of skill and luck that finally got him his first WPT title after more than a decade on the circuit.
Like a true rockstar, Mudgal hit all the right notes, this time on the poker tables to outlast the record-breaking 679 entries to lift the WPT trophy!
This win is no flash in the pan for Mudgal who has a commendable $223,128 in career winnings including a title win at the Rockets Anniversary Series’ â‚¹5K Ruby Rebuy event in 2015, a Team Event title at MPC 23 and a third place finish at DPT Jan 2016 Main Event among numerous other deep runs.
2018 has been a breakout year for Indian poker and this latest win by Mudgal only adds to the glory of an eventful year that saw Indian challengers dominating the international felts. Starting with India’s pioneering poker pro Aditya Agarwal’s APPT Macau 2018 Main Event runner up finish, one of the most successful WSOP outings where Nikita Luther became the first Indian female bracelet winner when she successfully defended the Tag Team bracelet for the country, Nishant Sharma coming the closest any Indian has come to taking down the WSOP Main Event with a 34th place finish for â‚¹1.58 Crores along with Rughani’s 88th place finish for â‚¹53.48 Lakhs and Paawan Bansal’s runner up finish in The Closer event, Team India certainly made its presence felt at some of the biggest poker stops.
The final day saw the 15 finalists resuming play one last time to decide a champion. Leading the chip counts was Yik Yin Ray Chiu with India`s Dhaval Mudgal not far behind with the second largest stack.
Le Ngoc Khanh became the first one to hit the rails.
Mudgal didn`t have the best of starts himself and was put in a spot early on in the day. The hand in question saw Tai Hsing limping in from small blind with , and next to act Mudgal checked his option with . The flop was checked around and the dealer burned and turned the . Mudgal made it 155,000 to go and sure enough, he got the call. The river completed the board and Mudgal fired a huge bet of 275,000 with complete air. Tai check-called with queen high and took down the pot!
After the elimination of Tran Huu Khoi in 14th place, Mudgal went on to bust Low Kar Doi in 13th place. Mudgal opened to 105,000 with pocket queens, Thanh Phuong called, Doi 3-bet with , Mudgal called and Phuong folded. The board brought no help for Doi and he busted, while Mudgal scooped the pot and with that the chip lead as he now held almost 3,500,000 in chips.
Soon thereafter, Johannes Felix Hoeld went out in 12th place, followed by Ben Andrews in 11th place. By this time, Mudgal had won another huge pot and was sitting comfortably with a massive 4,350,000 in chips.
The next elimination and the official final table bubble boy was none other than the start of day chip leader Yik Yin Ray Chiu. He jammed with and Tai Hsing Hsiung woke up with . With no surprises on the board Chiu busted in 10th place.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Dhaval Mudgal – 3,940,000
2. Takao Shimizu – 3,335,000
3. David Tai Hsing Hsiung – 3,295,000
4. Nguyen Hoang Nam (Apu Weo) – 2,790,000
5. Nguyen Thanh Phuong – 2,320,000
6. Nguyen Duc Hai (Hai Chuot) – 2,030,000
7. Tran Cao Tam – 1,210,000
8. Norbert Koh – 815,000
9. Dao Duc Phuong – 635,000
Mudgal capitalized on his lead from the get-go and started chipping up to soon cross the 5 Million mark. The hand that got him there saw him raising the stakes to 170,000 with pocket queens and Apu Weo 3-bet to 350,000 holding . Mudgal called to see the flop , which got checked around. No action on the turn as well and the river completed the board. Mudgal fired a bet of 275,000, Apu Weo 3-bet to 600k and Mudgal called with two pairs to take down the pot.
Mudgal lost a pot to Hai Chuot but then scalped the first player off the final table in Dao Duc Phong. Mudgal opened from the cutoff for 160,000 with , while big blind Phuong shoved for 525,000 with . Mudgal made the call and won the pot on the rundown , busting Phuong in the process.
Norbert Koh was the next one to exit after he moved all in with and Shimizu made the call with pocket jacks.The board blanked out and Koh exited in eighth place.
Mudgal kept the momentum going and ran his stack up to around 5.9 Million, but then lost a huge pot to Hai Chuot when the latter doubled up through him, bringing Mudgal down to around 3,500,000.
The next final table casualty was Nguyen Hoang Nam (Apu Weo). Apu Weo opened, Phong 3-bet, Apu Weo shoved, and Phong snap called. Apu Weo tabled pocket kings against Phong’s and the latter rivered a straight to eliminate Apu Weo in seventh place.
By this point, Mudgal had lost more chips this time to Tai Hsing and then managed to dodge fate by surviving a hand that ultimately resulted in a chopped pot. Mudgal open shoved with to steal blinds from the button and got snap-called by Takao Shimizu in the big blind with . The board fanned out and the pot got split.
Mudgal then changed gears and managed to double up through Tai Hsing when the latter shoved from small blind with and Mudgal called at risk with . Mudgal clipped a king on the river and doubled up.
Hanh Phong was eliminated in sixth place when he shoved from the button with and got a caller in David Tai Hsing, who tabled . Ace high was good on the board and Phong was sent packing.
Mudgal was still going strong and soon picked up his second double up through Tai Hsing. Hsing shoved with and Mudgal woke up with to make the easy call. No surprises on the board and Mudgal scooped the pot to get back in the game.
After collecting a few more pots, Mudgal hit the mother load with a huge double up through Hai Chuot. Mudgal opened from the cutoff and Hai Chuot called to see the flop open . Action got checked around to the turn , Chuot bet and Mudgal called to see the river . Mudgal moved all in with for a straight and Chuot tanked-called with , only to hear the bad news.
Nguyen Duc Hai (Hai Chuot)’s run was short-lived after the previous disaster and as expected, he exited in fifth place. Takao Shimizu limped from the small blind and Hai Chuot checked his option to see the flop . Shimizu bet and Hai Chuot tank-shoved with . Shimizu snap-called with pocket jacks and won the pot on the turn.
Shimizuwas still stacking his chips from the previous hand when he orchestrated the next elimination, this time of the last Vietnamese player left in the running – Tran Cao Tam. Tam shoved with with and Shimizu called tabling . The board ran and Shimizu rivered a three-of-a-kind to take down the pot.
Mudgal’s swingy run continued as he lost a sizeable pot to Tai Hsing Hsiung but then soon recovered back from him followed by a huge double up. Hsiung raised to 550,000 from the button with and next to act Mudgal 3-bet to 1,575,000 holding pocket king’s. Hsiung jammed andMudgal snap-called. Pocket king’s held up and Mudgal raked in the pot.
Soon thereafter Mudgal axed Hsiung in third place. Hsiung’s were no match for Mudgal’s with the board spreading out . With that, the heads-up match was set between Shimizu (12,425,000) and Mudgal (7,950,000).
Heads up action was mostly dominated by Mudgal as he won almost seven pots to get even in stacks. Shimizu took some back and the battle continued until Mudgal finally managed to pull ahead.
Once on top, Mudgal was unstoppable and soon it was all over. Mudgal shoved with and Shimizu called with . The board ran and Mudgal paired his nine on the turn to seal the title and the first place purse worth VND 2,4287,580,000, along with the coveted WPT trophy.
Final Table Results
1. Dhaval Mudgal – VND 2,4287,580,000
2. Takao Shimizu – VND 1,702,030,000
3. Tai Hsing Hsiung – VND 1,097,540,000
4. Tran Cao Tam – VND 802,340,000
5. Nguyen Duc Hai (Hai Chuot) – VND 613,840,000
6. Hanh Phong – VND 490,420,000
7. Nguyen Hoang Nam (Apuweo) – VND 406,240,000
8. Norbert Koh – VND 323,390,000
9. Dao Duc Phong – VND 242,770,000
Image courtesy: somuchpoker.com