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History has been re-created as India has picked up its third World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet! It’s almost poetic as the same event that got India its first bracelet last year where the team of Nipun Java and Aditya Sushant claimed a historic victory, once again crowned an Indian champion, this time the Team of Nikita Luther and German pro Guiseppe Pantaleo (cover image). With the entire Indian poker community railing the action, the duo finished the job with ease and pocketed $175,805 (~₹1.20 Crores) for their stellar run.
Opening with 1,032 entries that collected a prize pool of $928,800, Event #55- $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold ‘em paid out the top 155 teams.
Luther, who is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Poker Sports League (PSL), ranks 35th on Hendon Mob’s India All Time Money List with total live earnings of $111,522. She opened her live poker career at the India Poker Championship (IPC) in 2015 where she finished 5th for $2,913 (~₹1.99 Lakhs).
At WSOP her first appearance was in 2017, when she cashed in three events, her best performance coming through the $3,000 NLHE where she finished in 71st place to pocket $8,173 (~₹5.59 Lakhs). Her most memorable performance prior to win was the 5th place finish in WPT500 Aria for $65,000 last year.
This summer Luther showed up first in Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack NLHE where she finished 525th for $2,038. Early this week, Luther finished 17th in Event #54: Big Blind Antes $3,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em for $18,495 (~₹12.65 Lakhs).
Pantaleo on the other hand has been regular at WSOP and has 25 cashes at the series, reaching total earnings of $342,090. His best WSOP score so far has been in The Little One for One Drop – $1,000+111 NLHE in 2017 when he reached the final table and finished 6th for $101,041.
As Day 3 began with 28 surviving teams, Team Bon Koo-Bienvenido Caballero held the chip lead with 828,000. Team Pantaleo-Luther moved into Day 3 with a stack of 260,000.
Another Indian Team Aditya ‘bitti’ Agarwal and Jasven Saigal paired up for the event. The duo marched on to Day 3 but were eliminated before the money bubble and had to return empty-handed.
Many notables exited before the final table including Andrew Barber – Sam Razavi – Dan Smith and Erik Seidel (72nd for $2,252) and Fraser MacIntyre – Barny Boatman (62nd for $642).
The first team to leave the play on Day 3 was Team Jack Hardcastle (28th for $1,044) that saw bracelet winner Ryan Laplante in a hand against Team Samuel Gagnon.
The final three tables were redrawn here and in the very first hand, Luther doubled up for her Team against Team Zev Mandel with on the board.
Subsequently, Team Alexander Zeligman (26th for $1,688), Team Craig Mason (25th for $ 2,532) and Team Robert Gardner (24th for $ 1,266) were railed out. Team Adam Lamphere crossed the 1 Million mark in stacks at this point and several hands later, eliminated Team Jean Ballance (20th for $1,688) out of the event.
After Team Andrew Wilson (19th for $1,688) was sent to the rail, 18 teams were left and the play moved on to the final two tables.
Luther’s Team Pantaleo next sent Team Adam Clark (18th for $3,117) and Team Sean Simpson (17th for $6,234) out in a double whammy.
With the elimination of Team Jeff Sluzinski (12th for $9,875), Team William Reymond (11th for $9,875) and Team Thomas Moore (10th for $9,875), the nine-handed final table was formed.
Final Table Recap
Two-time bracelet winner Loni Harwood’s team comprising of herself, Haixa Zhang and Kelly Minkin was the first to exit out of the final table. Action continued with Team Pantaleo winning a pot against Team Lamphere.
Soon, Team Bon Koon that had Koon paired up with Bienvenido Caballero was shown the door in eighth place by Team Ikeuchi when the former who held pocket kings improved to a set but Ikeuchi who held pocket aces clipped the better set.
Team Levy comprising of Sarah Levy, Frank Mariani and Cord Garcia bounced off next in a hand against Team Rocha who held ace-king and hit top pair on the flop to take the lead while Garcia’s pocket nines failed to improve. Team Levy was eliminated in seventh place.
In the very next hand, Team Adam Lamphere with team members Ao Chen and Yijie Zhang hit the rail in sixth place. Ikeuchi raised to 125,000 from the cutoff and action folded to Lamphere in the big blind who moved all in. Ikeuchi made the call and tabled , while Lamphere held . The board ran . Ikeuchi who was already leading, flopped the top pair and held on till the river while Lamphere who could only manage a pair of queens exited.
After a lot of back and forth action, Team Loeser doubled through Team Ikeuchi first and then won a hand against Luther’s team.
A few hands later, action folded to Loeser in the small blind and he moved all in. Team Gabriel Neto in the big blind called, putting himself at risk. Loeser showed and Neto tabled . Loeser hit two pairs on the board to win the pot sending Neto and his partner Carlos Caputo out of the event in fifth place.
Pantaleo and Luther continued to win some pots, treading very carefully but confidently up the leaderboard. Soon, Team Alex Rocha including teammates Megan Milburn and Joanne Milburn ended their run in fourth place. Rocha shoved from the button for 1,040,000. Pantaleo tanked for a bit before moving all in. Loeser folded. It was off to the races with Rocha`s up against Pantaleo`s . The board ran out giving Pantaleo two pairs – aces and queens, eliminating Team Rocha.
The three-handed play went on for another hour before Team Manig Loeser left in third place. Loeser shoved for 1,165,000 from the button with and Pantaleo asked for a count and then called tabling a better . The board ran and Loeser along with his teammates, Joelle Parenteau and Daniel Weinand, were forced to leave.
The heads-up play started with Team Luther in the drivers seat with a 2:1 chip lead against Team Kazuki Ikeuchi. With the advantage in their corner, Pantaleo put the pressure right from the start and soon accumulated over 90% of chips in play! Ikeuchi managed a double up to survive and then managed to double up again to bridge the gap somewhat but it was all too little too late.
On the final hand of the event, Pantaleojammed from the button with and Iwata who had just sat down made the call tabling . The flop gave Ikeuchi a pair of aces and Luther’s rail shouted “DEUCE! DEUCE ON THE RIVER!” The turn didn’t help but then the spiked on the river – the rail exploded!
Pantaleo jumped up from his chair and ran to the rail to celebrate the victory!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Giuseppe Pantaleo – Nikita Luther – $175,805
2. Kazuki Ikeuchi – Hiroki Iwata – Sho Mori – $108,608
3. Manig Loeser – Joelle Parenteau – Daniel Weinand – $76,797
4. Alex Rocha – Megan Milburn – Joanne Milburn- $55,016
5. Gabriel Neto- Carlo Caputo – $39,936
6. Adam Lamphere –Ao Chen- Yijie Zhang – $29,380
7. Salah Levy-Frank Mariani – Cord Garcia – $21,910
8. Bon Koon-Bienvenido Caballero – $16,565
9. Loni Harwood – Haixa Zhang- Kelly Minkin – $12,700
Content & image courtesy WSOP.com
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