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The WSOP Main Event, the world’s richest sporting event is a dream win for any poker player, with millions in prize money and a lifetime of fame and recognition. The sheer grandeur and fame of WSOP, makes poker pros go weak in the knees, just at its mention and it is the ultimate poker pro’s fantasy! Just winning a WSOP bracelet spells instant entry into an elite club and poker-fame forever.
And what a WSOP it has been for Team India! Well it was our poker star from Chennai Aditya Sushant and L.A based Nipun Java who grabbed headlines early in the series clinching the first WSOP bracelet for the country. The latter even went on to win a second bracelet in the Event #71: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship.
A host of Indian poker players lived the dream by joining the action at this year’s WSOP Main Event and quite a few made notable finishes. India’s most renowned poker player and Team PokerStars pro Aditya Agarwal has been one of the most consistent and solid performers at the series. Attending his 12th WSOP series, Agarwal cashed an incredible ten times this summer and even went on to make his career-first WSOP final table. He was looking to continue the trailblazing run with fifth consecutive Main Event cash, but fell short of the money line.
The contingent however had two torchbearers in Rahul Byyraju and Paawan Bansal who were the only two Indians who survived through for Day 5 of the Main Event. Unfortunately that was the day Team India`s dream run at WSOP 2017 came to an end. Byrraju went out at 102nd place for $53,247, while Bansal finished 124th pocketing the same amount.
Meanwhile, the last event on the schedule for this year’s WSOP i.e. The Little One for One Drop is also now in the books and outlasting the 4,391-player field was Adrian Moreno who claimed his first bracelet along with a cool $528,316 in prize money. India’s Akash Malik exited the event on Day 3 at 77th place and cashed $5,500.
In side events, Team PokerMet Pro Dhaval Mudgal is still alive and kicking in the Venetian $1.5 million guaranteed Main Event. He kept the sweat alive with constant tweets:
Last unbag! Day 2 kicks off at 2k/4K we got 189k. 290 left with 225 paid! #TeamPokerMetPro
— Dhaval Mudgal (@Dirtbagpoker) July 16, 2017
Event #73: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT – World Championship
There’s something about a back-to-back Main Event final table finish that is truly amazing. The last to do it was Mark Newhouse, who finished ninth in both 2013 and 2014.
As Day 6 of the Main Event approached, there came up possibilities to see this feat repeat itself with two former November Niner`s Michael Ruane (3,450,000) and Kenny Hallaert (4,370,000) marching ahead to the final table. However the latter fell on Day 6 exiting in 64th place for $101,444.
Ruane is still in contention to make it back in the November Nine with the field currently down to 27 players. He will return for Day 7 with 9,340,000 good for 39 big blinds.
Bagging the biggest stack was Christian Pham with 31,440,000 chips followed by Valentin Messina who bagged 28,590,000. A few other notables still in contention include
Jack Sinclair (27,535,000), Ben Lamb (25,685,000), Richard Dubini (14,975,000), Michael Ruane (9,340,000) and Benjamin Pollak (8,870,000).
Day 5 Recap
Day 5 of the Main Event started with the remaining 297 runners, all guaranteed a payday of at least $35,267 and the day featured five and a half levels of play. At the end of Day 5, only 85 players remained.
The day saw the last of female pros in the field exiting as Kathy Liebert fell from the feature table followed by Juicy Li, Tracy Nguyen, and Jessica Ngu .
Yuan-Yuan Li was the last woman standing but she too exited the event before the last hand of the day was dealt.
Rahul Byrraju started Day 5 with 1,320,000 and put his aggressive style to work straightaway, climbing up to 1,900,000, courtesy Mickey Craft. The hand in contention saw Byrraju opening to 60,000 only to see Craft three-bet to 125,000. Byrraju called to see the flop and he check-called a bet of 226,000 from Craft. On the turn , Byrraju checked again while Craft bet 500,000. Byrraju thought before announcing all in for 659,000. Despite the bet being only 159,000 more, Craft eventually folded! Byrraju flashed the before taking down the pot.
It was not all-smooth sailing thereon for Byrraju as after sometime his downward fall started. First he lost a massive pot against Justas Vaiciulionis and eventually busted.
The decisive hand that almost decimated Byrraju`s stack saw the action start with a raise of 115,000 from Vaiciulionis and Richard Dubini called in the cutoff. Rahul Byrraju three-bet to 400,000, and the action reached Vaiciulionis, who moved all in with . Dubini quickly folded and Byrraju called with the superior stack holding . The board fell a brick and Byrraju was left with 14 big blinds.
The last hand for Byrraju saw Dubini opening to 115,000 and the Indian three-bet shoved holding which got called by Dubini who tabled . Byrraju was ahead preflop but Dubini hit a three-of-a-kind kings on the board to take down the pot, eliminating Byrraju from the event at 102nd place for $53,247.
Paawan Bansal was the other Indian in the field and started the day with 514,000 but lost a healthy chunk of his chips early on falling down to 335,000. He then managed a double up after he moved all in for his last 332,000 holding and got one caller in Paul Vas Nunes who tabled . Bansal clipped an ace pair on the board and took down the pot doubling up to 680,000.
He then lost a few chips to Michael Sklenicka who 4-bet preflop to make the Indian fold. The last hand for Bansal saw him moving all-in against Kfir Nahum on a flop. “Jack, please,” Bansal requested, while Nahum was hoping for a three or eight in order to avoid a setback. The blank on the turn changed nothing, but the river improved Nahum`s hand to a straight, and he took down the pot eliminating the Indian pro at 124th place for $53,247.
Indian Cashes at WSOP Main Event –
Day 6 Recap
The field of 7,221 had now been trimmed to just 85 players who are guaranteed $72,514, with the next pay jump at 81st place ($85,482).
The goal was to once again play out five and a half levels and hopefully be down to the final 27 players and that’s exactly what happened.
The day ended with 27 players remaining and a few notables who couldn’t make it to the next day were Neil Patel (29th for $214,913), Chris Wallace (32nd for $214,913), Dario Sammartino (43rd for $176,399), Max Silver(45th for $176,399), Mike Linster (47th for $145,733) and Kenny Hallaert (64th for $101,444).
Bagging the largest stack was of none other than Christian Pham’s whose poker career can become a script for a great movie. His first incredibly improbable moment came in 2015, when he claims to have accidentally registered for a $1,500 2-7 Single Draw event when he meant to register for $1,500 Limit Hold’em. As fate would have it, he went on to ship the event besting the 219 player field for $81,314.
This year Pham fired in a $575 Main Event qualifier, winning a seat. On Day 5, at one point his tournament life was on the line after bluffing all in on a four-straight board with one pair against a set, Pham needed a six and a six only to chop and survive, or it was curtains for his Main Event run. He found the six on the board to avoid joining the payout line. Two days later, he is chip leading the final 27 players after Day 6 of the world’s largest tournament, with a career-best $263,532 in prize money locked up.
The last 27 drew for their new seats after the eliminations of Joshua Horton in 28th when he made an inferior flush against Jack Sinclair.
Top 10 Chip Counts at the End of Day 6
1. Christian Pham – 31,440,000
2. Valentin Messina – 28,590,000
3. Jack Sinclair – 27,535,000
4. Ben Lamb – 25,685,000
5. Pedro Oliveira – 22,540,000
6. John Hesp – 20,880,000
7. Randy Pisane – 18,370,000
8. Scott Blumstein – 18,125,000
9. Richard Dubini – 14,975,000
10. Bryan Piccioli – 14,500,000
Event #74: The Little One for One Drop – $1,000 +111 No-Limit Hold’em
The last event on the WSOP 2017 schedule i.e. Little One for One Drop is done and dusted and outlasting the 4,391-player field was Adrian Moreno, who claimed his first bracelet along with a cool $528,316 in prize money.
Moreno came in today 11th out of 12 remaining players. Matt Berkey was holding a huge lead coming into the day with almost a third of the total chips in play, but Moreno managed to move up the ranks and eventually win his first WSOP bracelet.
The only Indian challenger in contention was Akash Malik who exited the event on Day 3. The hand saw Malik moving all-in with 184,000 in chips holding and action folded to Roman Valerstein who woke up with and called. Valerstein had a massive lead with his kings and he clipped a set on the board to send Malik to the cage at 77th spot for $5,500 as consolation.
There were exactly 100 players who returned to Day 3 and a few notables who couldn’t survive for the next day include Chris Ferguson (96th), Phong “Turbo” Nguyen (72nd), Jean Gaspard (69th), James Calderaro (64th), Upeshka De Silva (58th), Kevin Eyster (55th), Dan Heimiller (48th), Matt Affleck (42nd), and Eugene Todd (23rd).
It didn’t take much long for the 12 survivors from Day 4 to be trimmed down to form the official nine-handed final table.
Final Table Recap
The final table action was quick at the start as just in the 16th hand Alexandros Papadopoulos was eliminated in ninth place followed by Samuel Vonkennel who became the next casualty,
Ricardo Ramos was eliminated in seventh place by the eventual sixth-place finisher, Giuseppe Pantaleo.
Richard Dixon was sent to the rail in fifth place by the eventual champion and in the very next hand, Moreno finished Richard Dixon off.
Matt Berkey then emerged from the ranks and went on a big upswing knocking out Jimmy Guerrero in fourth place. Berkey himself didn`t last much longer and followed him out 14 hands later leaving Martin Lesjoe and Moreno close to even stacks going into heads-up play with the latter taking it down eventually.
On the final hand, Moreno got Lesjoe all in on the flop with the nut flush draw against a pair and hit the flush on the turn to seal the deal.
Final Table Results
1. Adrian Moreno – $528,316
2. Martin Lesjoe – $326,314
3. Matt Berkey – $240,588
4. Jimmy Guerrero – $178,764
5. Richard Dixon – $133,868
6. Giuseppe Pantaleo – $101,041
7. Ricardo Ramos – $76,871
8. Samuel Vonkennel – $58,953
9. Alexandros Papadopoulos – $45,578
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