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The $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT – World Championship at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the king of all tournaments and its championship title is an illustriousness that every poker player wants to possess. And India’s Nishant Sharma came very close to realising that dream. With the eyes of the entire nation on him, Sharma created history by doing what no Indian has done before, he reached the top 50 in the WSOP Main Event! His fellow 9stacks qualifier Vivek Rughani also made it in the top 100, an achievement only one other Indian pro can boast of.
PokerStars Team Pro Aditya Agarwal had previously set a high benchmark at the WSOP Main Event when he finished 71st for $96,445 (~₹66.09 Lakhs) in 2015 and became the first Indian to crack the top 100 threshold. He followed that up with 621st place finish for $18,714 (~₹12.82 Lakhs) in 2016 and 717th place finish for $19,900 (~₹13.66 Lakhs) this year.
Sharma’s finish on Wednesday is the deepest run by an Indian at the WSOP Main Event and will push the interest for poker in the country. In the words of Vivek Rughani, it’ll cause a ‘Poker Boom’!
With 26 runners still in the hunt, including 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada (8,850,000), who was also the youngest player to win the Main Event Championship title, the final days of the grand tournament is heading towards a cracking finale!
The participation of Indian challengers in the Main Event has been huge this year, crossing all previous records. The first starting flight Day 1A saw two Indians, Aditya Sushant and Rohan Dhawan progress further, while four Indians, Kavin Shah, Dharmesh Patel, Rishab Jain and Jaswinder “Bobbe” Suri qualified through the Day 1B flight. The biggest Indian participation came in through the third starting flight, i.e. Day 1C where 20 Indians headlined by veteran poker stars Aditya Agarwal, Paawan Bansal, Nikita Luther and the promising debutant Nishant Sharma progressed to Day 2C.
Eliminations along the way saw many hit the rails and only nine players moved forwards from Day 2C while ten others were shown the door. Mayank Jaggi, Nikita Luther, Shashank Jain, Akash Malik, Amit Jain, Muskan Sethi, Nipun Java, Vikram Kumar, Jasven Saigal and Abhinav Iyer were the Indians to bust out on Day 2C.
On the other hand, Paawan Bansal, Vivek Rughani, Jaideep Sajwan, Yudhishter Jaswal, Apoorva Goel, Kartik Ved, Rohan Bhasin, Nishant Sharma, Aditya Agarwal, and Sriharsha Doddapaneni advanced further. Joining these nine were Kavin Shah and Dharmesh Patel from the Day 2AB flight.
The group of 12 Indians fought exceptionally well on Day 3 but the run ended here for three of them, i.e. Shah, Patel and Bansal, while the remaining nine moved further to resume the battle on Day 4.
It was an intense day as many hopes were crashed and six contenders from Team India ended their run on Day 4 including Jaideep Sajwan (589th for $23,940 – ~₹16.44 Lakhs), Aditya Agarwal (717th for $19,900 – ~₹13.66 Lakhs), Rohan Bhasin (731st for $19,900 – ~₹13.66 Lakhs), Yudhister Jaswal (977th for $15,920 – ~₹10.93 Lakhs), Sriharsha Doddapaneni (1057th for $15,920 – ~₹10.93 Lakhs) and Apoorva Goel (1148th for $15,000 – ~₹10.30 Lakhs).
Keeping the bracelet hopes alive for India were three players who made it to Day 5 with impressive stacks. 9stacks qualifiers, Nishant Sharma (1,172,000) and Vivek Rughani (1,076,000) as well as Kartik Ved (1,096,000) resumed the battle as only 310 players remained in the fray.
On Day 5, Ved’s journey ended as his run finished in 128th place with him picking his maiden WSOP score to the tune of $57,010 (~₹39.20 Lakhs).
All eyes were on Sharma and Rughani as the two 9stacks qualifiers romped the show on Day 6. With their elimination, the Indian participation in the Main Event also closes down, but this doesn’t mean an end to Team India’s campaign at the 2018 WSOP.
Far from it, we see bracelet winner Aditya Sushant still very much in the contention for his second bracelet in Event #68: The Little One for One Drop – $1,000 +111 No-Limit Hold’em where Sushant (1,341,000) is holding the second-biggest stack with only 125 competitors in the field.
Day 6 Recap
Day 6 saw 109 runners return to the felts, among them were 9stacks qualifiers Nishant Sharma (5,800,000) and Vivek Rughani (1,545,000).
Sharma’s stack fluctuated throughout the day. He won a big pot from Samuel Bernabeu early on. With 1.6 Million already in the pot, the board revealed . Sharma bet from big blind against Bernabeu. The latter was in the think tank and the clock was called. The Spaniard eventually called and Sharma announced, “I got lucky on the river”, and tabled his for bottom two pair increasing his pile by 1,650,000 to touch 5,700,000.
He doubled up again through Michael Dyer when Sharma raised 225,000 from the button and received calls from Dyer and Ming Xi in the blinds. The fell on the flop prompting Dyer to bet 315,000 as Xi folded. Sharma called and the turn was dealt. Dyer checked and Sharma bet 575,000. Dyer check-raised all in and Sharma called. Dyer held against Sharma’s . The river missed both players and Sharma won the pot and added 4,700,000 to increase his pile to 10,000,000.
Some time later, Sharma opened to 350,000 from early position and got calls from Jorden Fox and Konstantin Beylin in the blinds. Sharma bet 450,000 after the flop 2x was flipped and received a call from Beylin. Both players checked to see the turn and river . Beylin rivered a pair with and Sharma lost 1,905,000 from his stack to come down to 10,300,000.
Thereafter, Tony Miles raised to 350,000 and got calls from Sharma in the hijack, Dyer in the cutoff and Bernabeu in the big blind. The flop brought and Sharma bet 675,000. Dyer called while the other two players folded. On the turn , Sharma bet just over a million and got a quick fold from Dyer. He raked in 1,900,000, to grow his stack to 12,200,000.
Dyer then opened for 400,000 and was the first to act as Sharma called from the big blind. The flop came and Sharma check-called a bet of 375,000. On the turn , Sharma checked once more and called a bet worth 650,000 before checking the river. Dyer increased it to 1,650,000 and Sharma tanked for a few seconds then called. Dyer rolled over the and Sharma mucked his hand, then mentioned in table chat “I had an ace, too.” He lost 2,805,000 bringing his stack down to 11,300,000.
Sharma lost 3,000,000 from his stack to Aram Zobian to slide down to 8,300,000, but managed to win back 3,000,000 through Artem Metalidi, taking his count to 11,300,000.
While it was roller coaster ride for the Indian challenger, Sharma was still playing his A-game on the felt. His luck eventually ran out when he opened for 425,000 and Zobian made it 1,225,000 in the cutoff. Sharma raised to 3,550,000 and Zobian moved all-in for approximately 10 Million. Sharma snap-called. Zobian had pocket rockets against Sharma’s pocket queens. Finding no help from the board , Sharma’s impressive run finished in 34th place for $230,475 (~₹1.58 Crores).
Sharma’s 9stacks qualifier companion Vivek Rughani had an equally fantastic run in the Main Event. While his run ended early in the day, he played an exhilarating hand against Benjamin Pollak on the featured table that got streamed on PokerGo.
The short-stacked Rughani raised 450,000 from middle position and was called by Pollak sitting next to him and Frederik Jensen from big blind. Jensen and Rughani checked the flop . Pollak bet 450,000 and Jensen folded and Rughani shove the last of chips. Rughani revealed against Pollak’s . While the latter had top paired jacks on the flop, Rughani had the possibility of hitting a straight. The turn didn’t effect either player and Pollak was able to maintain his lead. With Rughani on four outs – all nines, the river was exactly what Rughani needed and he doubled up!
The “onetime” comes in for India! ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡³
VivekRughani hits the river to double through @PollakB and Day 6 coverage of the @WSOP Main Event continues on PokerGO.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) July 10, 2018
Unfortunately, Rughani wasn’t able to hang on for long. Ivan Luca raised 240,000 from small blind and Rughani moved all-in with his stack of 1.4 Million from big blind and Luca called. The community cards ran , and Rughani’s were no match for Luca’s and he finished 88th for $77,695 (~₹53.47 Lakhs).
As Aram Zobian (41,585,000) leads the remaining 26 players into the seventh day of battle, there are many other top stack holders in contention for the top prize. Zobian himself set out on a hot streak towards the last leg of the day’s play. However, he suffered a big setback when Artem Metalidi (30,845,000) who now holds the second biggest stack doubled through him with kings against his ace-king while Jan Mach (40th for $189,165) was eliminated in this hand.
2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada (8,850,000) who at the age of 21 years, 11 months became the youngest player in history to win the WSOP Main Event is also in the running for Day 7. In his previous Main Event triumph, Cada outlasted a final table that included the likes of Jeff Shulman and Phil Ivey and Cada ran over Darvin Moon in the heads-up for the title to take home the top prize of $8,547,042. Once again Cada is moving towards the final table and will be gunning for his second championship title.
Antoine Labat (28,445,000), Michael Dyer (26,515,000) and Alex Lynskey (22,045,000) are the other big stacks as Yueqi Zhu (19,245,000), Martijn Gerrits (17,790,000), two-time WSOP bracelet winner Eric Froehlich (15,285,000), John Cynn (14,750,000), Frederik Jensen (12,100,000), Sylvain Loosli (11,635,000) and Ivan Luca (8,820,000) have also bagged their chips.
In the meantime, Jeff Trudeau (5,090,000), Bart Lybaert (3,825,000) and Barry Hutter (2,250,000) hold some of the shortest stacks and they’ll have to move up fast in the first few levels on Day 7 if they have any chance of making the final table.
The rundown on players who were eliminated on the day reads like a poker celebrity list. Brian Yoon (41st for $189,165), Benjamin Pollack (42nd for $189,165) who finished third in 2017 WSOP Main Event, James Obst (46th for 156,265), Jordan Cristos (69th for $108,745), WSOP bracelet winners Mike Cordell (63rd for $129,930) and Rifat Palevic (55th for $129,930), Ognjen Sekularac (96th for $66,330), Alexandre Reard (92nd for $66,330), Stefan Huber (76th for $91,610) and Shaun Deeb (105th for $57,010) lost out their stacks and exited the event.
The lone female survivor on Day 6, Kelly Minkin (50th for $156,265) ended up all in at risk with her ace-ten and failed to improve against the ace-king of Jensen.
Right as the field narrowed down to the last 44 players, eliminations picked up and frantic action on the featured table and the outer feature table brought an abrupt halt to the day’s play.
Finally, while Clayton Fletcher (28th for $230,475) was eliminated from the main featured table, he was followed to the rail by Jorden Fox’s (27th for $282,630) in a hand where he picked up pocket jacks in back-to-back hands and ran out of chips. Action on the outer featured table at this time saw Barry Hutter triple up and survive with treys against aces in a hand where Nicolas Manion had folded pocket kings face-up.
1. Aram Zobian – 41,585,000
2. Artem Metalidi – 30,845,000
3. Antoine Labat – 28,445,000
4. Michael Dyer – 26,515,000
5. Alex Lynskey – 22,045,000
6. Yueqi Zhu – 19,245,000
7. Kao Saechao – 18,985,000
8. MartijnGerrits – 17,790,000
9. Nicolas Manion – 17,630,000
10. Eric Froehlich – 15,285,000
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com.
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