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With only a handful of tournaments left to play down to a winner before the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) wraps up for the year, the Indian challengers in Vegas continue to make deep runs and exciting scores. Right from the action in Event #75: The Closer – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (30 minute levels) – $1 Million Guarantee comes another trailblazing run of India’s Paawan Bansal, who came as close as one can get to winning his first bracelet, eventually settling for a runner-up finish! Bansal’s runner-up finish has earned him a career best score worth $378,765 (~₹2.60 Crores).
Former Main Event champion Joe Cada, who jumped into the event after his 5th place finish in the Main Event, won the tournament to bank the first-place payday of $612,886 along with his second bracelet this summer.
“I feel amazing. What a way to cap it off!”Cada said, after winning the tournament. “I’ve been running good and deep in every tournament, and the tournaments I busted, I feel good about how I played. I haven’t played many tournaments this summer, and I’m kind of upset that I didn’t play more, but it feels good to close it out.”
For Bansal, the day began with a stack of 287,000 and he had a pretty solid run throughout that included early double-ups. He even climbed to the top of the leaderboard when only five players remained with 13,900,000 in chips that were a huge lead over Cada who had the second biggest stack with 9,800,000. However, he soon lost the lead to Cada who doubled up through him. In a battle of the blinds, Bansal’s jack-seven were cracked by Cada’s ace-eight. The heads-up between them lasted jumped one hand and Cada triumphed, taking the tournament title.
With his score, Bansal who’s been the most consistent Indian performer at WSOP this year has also become the most successful Indian in the series so far. His six prior cashes amounted to $61,623 (~₹42.30 Lakhs) in winnings and now after collecting the runner-up pay cheque, Bansal’s tally at the end of his WSOP campaign stands at seven cashes making for a total of $440,388 (~₹3.02 Crores).
9stacks qualifier Nishant Sharma who had a fantastic run in the Main Event where he finished in 34th place for$230,475 (~₹1.58 Crores) was also seen in the thick of action at the event. Sharma’s run was quite swingy and he eventually finished 19th for $20,336 (~₹13.95 Lakhs).
One of the most experienced Indian pros in the mix was Team PokerStars India pro Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal who had cashed in five events this series. His run ended in 73rd place for $6,365 (~₹4.36 Lakhs), taking his WSOP earnings this year to a total of $76,199 (~₹52.31 Lakhs).
He added another Main Event score this year, with a 717th place finish that earned him $19,900 (~₹13.66 Lakhs), taking his total Main Event cashes tally to seven, fast approaching the world record by Berry Johnston who has ten Main Event cashes to his name.
Other Indian players who ran deep in the event include Raghav Bansal (38th for $13,328 ~₹9.14 Lakhs), Sriharsha Doddapaneni (148th for $4,021 ~₹2.75 Lakhs) and Muskan Sethi (453rd for $2,242 ~₹1.53 Lakhs).
The tournament pulled in participation from 3,120 entries through three starting flights. Since the tournament allowed unlimited re-entries, many players fired multiple bullets. Out of 502 who entered via Day 1A, 54 players advanced to Day 2, while Day 1B saw 947 entries of whom 96 bagged chips as play concluded. Yudhishter Jaswal had also entered Day 1B but busted empty-handed. The final starting flight, Day 1C saw the maximum participation, i.e. 1,671 and the overall prize pool surpassed $4.2 Million. From this flight, 181 players made it to Day 2.
Final Day Recap
A total of 331 players moved to Day 2 of the event and Jeffrey Tanouye (601,000) entered as the overall chip leader. The money had already been reached, with 457 players assured a minimum $1,121.
PokerStars Team Pro Aditya Agarwal had first featured in Day 1A, along with Muskan Sethi and Yudhishter Jaswal. While Sethi was able to cash, Agarwal and Jaswal had busted empty-handed. Agarwal then re-entered the tournament on Day 1C and made it to the end of the day with 332,000 in chips, placed eighth amongst the top ten on the leaderboard.
Event 75, the closer, we are down to 331 players and ITM. Last event of the summer before the long flight back home, 332k at 3k-6k(1k) #WSOP2018
— Aditya Agarwal (@AdiAgarwal_int) July 15, 2018
Day 2 started off quite well for Agarwal as he eliminated bracelet winner Farhintaj Bonyadi (156th for $4,021) early on in the day. Dan Heimiller opened to 35,000 from middle position, Bonyadi 3-bet shoved for around 150,000 from the hijack and Agarwal called from big blind just about covering the stack. Heimiller folded as the remaining two players tabled their cards. Bonyadi tabled against Agarwal’s who took the lead preflop. The community fanned out and Agarwal took down the pot, sending Bonyadi to the rail and increased his stack by 23,000 to 355,000.
With only 142 players remaining, Agarwal had extended his stack to 380,000.
380k at 8k-16k(2k) with 142 remaining #WSOP2018
— Aditya Agarwal (@AdiAgarwal_int) July 15, 2018
But, his stirring run ended in 73rd place for $6,365 (~₹4.36 Lakhs).
Out 73rd, thanks for all the support this summer. Can’t wait to be back next year #WSOP2018
— Aditya Agarwal (@AdiAgarwal_int) July 15, 2018
9stacks qualifier Nishant Sharma’s debut at the 2018 WSOP has been a revelation for the Indian poker fraternity. After his path-breaking run in the Main Event World Championship, Sharma entered The Closer on Day 1C and built up a commendable stack of 231,000 by the end of the day’s play.
On Day 2, Sharma eliminated Allen Kessler (36th for $16,392). When Chris Conrad opened from hijack to 125,000, Kessler 3-bet shoved from the cutoff for 595,000 and Sharma re-raised all-in from small blind. Conrad folded and Sharma turned over against Kessler’s . The flop brought the possibility of a club flush draw for Kessler, but the turn fell instead. He needed a queen on the river but found instead which sent him packing after the dealer verified that Sharma had him covered and with the pot his stack jumped up to 1,525,000.
However, Sharma couldn’t hold on to his place on the felt for long. When Tanouye raised all in from cutoff for 935,000, Richard Ali called from the button, Sharma re-raised all in from the big blind for about 2,300,000. Ali called with and Sharma tabled , while Tanouye had the best hand of the lot and tabled . The board ran , and Tanouye clipped a set of kings, while Ali found a pair of queens and Nishant Sharma was eliminated in 19th place for $20,336 (~₹13.95 Lakhs).
Raghav Bansal and Sriharsha Doddapaneni were also seen in action and had joined the event on Day 1C. While they had started Day 2 with stacks of 192,000 and 79,000 respectively, Bansal finished 38th for $13,328 (~₹9.14 Lakhs) and Doddapaneni’s run ended in 148th place for $4,021 (~₹2.75 Lakhs).
Among the notables to be eliminated on their way to the final table were German crusher Martin Finger (13th for $ 32,115), Tristan Wade (17th for $25,446), Chris Conrad (18th for $25,446), Leif Force (21st for $20,336), two-time bracelet winner Benjamin Zamani (22nd for $20,336), John Hennigan (159th for $4,021), Shaun Deeb (320th for $2,763), Vincent Li (327th for $2,763), Steven Wolanksy (334th for $4,734), and 15-time bracelet champion Phil Hellmuth (385th for $2,321).
Avery Bass’s (11th for $40,876) elimination led to the table redrawing to the unofficial final table. After Sampson Simmonds (10th for $40,876) busted out when his aces were beaten by Eric Afrait’s pocket kings, the remaining nine players reconvened to the official final table.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Joe Cada – 8,900,000
2. Richard Cox – 7,100,000
3. Joshua Turner – 5,200,000
4. Jimmy Poper – 4,250,000
5. Paawan Bansal – 4,170,000
6. Sam Simmons – 3,840,000
7. Eric Afriat – 3,500,000
8. Richard Ali – 3,450,000
9. Jeffrey Tanouye – 3,000,000
10. Brayden Gazlay – 3,000,000
Final Table Recap
Minutes into the final table, Bansal doubled through Brayden Gazleyin a hand where he jammed for 3,825,000 from the middle position and big blind Gazlay looked him up. Bansal had and Gazlay tabled . Bansal hit a flush on the board and doubled up his stack of 3,830,000 to reach 8,000,000.
The first elimination on the nine-handed final table was Joshua Turner. Eric Afriat raised from cutoff and Turner moved all-in from the button. Richard Cox re-raised and Afriat folded. Turner tabled and Cox turned over . The runout brought Cox a pair of tens and the pot while Turner was eliminated in ninth place.
In the very next hand, Afriat raised from under-the-gun and Brayden Gazlay shoved all-in from big blind, prompting Afriat to call. With the board running , Afriat’s pocket sevens held on against Gazlay’s , who was sent packing in eighth place.
Next, Bansal sent Jimmy Poper packing in a hand where the action folded around to the blinds and Poper shoved all-in from small blind. Bansal called from big blind putting Poper at risk. Bansal was in the lead preflop with against Poper’s . Bansal picked up a pair of fours on the community and it was enough to end Poper’s run in seventh place.
After Tanouye doubled through Afriat, Bansal suffered a bad beat in a hand against Richard Ali who moved all in from the small blind and Paawan Bansal said, “Let’s go!”
Ali tabled vs. Bansal’s . The gave Ali two pairs and he doubled up to 8,550,000.
Richard Cox bounced out next, in sixth place. On the 30th hand, the two Richards, Cox and Ali, went head-to-head when Cox jammed from first position with pocket jacks and Ali reshoved from cutoff with pocket tens. The rundown brought Ali a set of tens and Cox had to vacate his seat.
Bansal now replenished his stack by doubling through Ali. He shoved from under the gun for 4.225 Million and Ali called from the big blind with a covering stack. Bansal had while Ali held . Bansal had the preflop edge and Ali needed to improve to win the pot. The board ran out and Bansal doubled.
One hand later, Afriat raised to 1 Million from the cutoff, Ali called from the small blind, and Bansal called from the big. The flop came and action checked around. The turn brought the , Ali bet 1.2 Million, Bansal called, and Afriat folded. On the river , Ali bet 1.5 Million, and Bansal called. Ali tabled but it was no good against Bansal’s for two pairs.
Bansal then won three hands in a row before chipping up big in a hand where he raised the button to 1.2 Million and Afriat called from the big blind. The flop came and Afriat bet 1.3 Million. Bansal shoved, putting Afriat to a decision for his stack. He folded and Bansal took down the pot.
Then, Bansal opened to 1.3 Million in the cutoff and Tanouye called in the big blind. They checked all the way till the river on the rundown where Bansal’s beat the on showdown.
Soon Eric Afriat’s run in the event ended as he moved all-in from cutoff with Jeffrey Tanouye called with from the button. The board ran and Tanouye found a top pair of aces to eliminate Afriat in fifth place.
Another big setback for Bansal was when action folded around to the blinds and he shoved from the small, and after tanking for a while Cada called to put himself at risk. Bansal tabled against Cada’s . Clearly, Cada had the preflop edge and Bansal needed to improve in order to win the pot. The board ran out and Cada doubled up.
About 10 minutes later, Richard Ali moved all-in from first position and Joe Cada called from small blind. The showdown didn’t help either player and Ali’s were overpowered by Cada’s , confirming his fourth-place finish.
Jeffrey Tanouye then raised all in from small blind and Bansal called from big blind. With in hand, Bansal was in the lead as Tanouye held . The flop favoured Bansal as he clipped a set of queens, while the turn more or less sealed Tanouye’s fate. The river was inconsequential as Tanouye finished in third place. Bansal won the pot and raked in 21,500,000 in chips, swelling his stack to 23,000,000, placing him almost at an even footing with Cada who held 24,000,000.
Paawan Bansal’s run for the bracelet ended in the very first hand of the heads-up play. Bansal raised to 2,200,000 and Cada 3-bet to 7,000,000 and Bansal 4-bet jammed. Cada made the call and Bansal tabled against Cada’s . On the flop Bansal spiked five outs but the turn left him trailing and the on the river brought a fantastic win for Cada who hit quads while Bansal settled for a runner-up finish.
1. Joe Cada – $612,886
2. Paawan Bansal – $378,765
3. Jeffrey Tanouye – $278,774
4. Richard Ali – $206,813
5. Eric Afriat – $154,660
6. Richard Cox – $116,595
7. Jimmy Poper – $88,615
8. Brayden Gazlay – $67,904
9. Joshua Turner – $52,465
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com
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