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In the global poker circuit, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is not just any other tournament; it’s the biggest, the most prestigious and the grandest of all poker extravaganzas of the world, one that can propel a player to heights of instant and life-long fame and recognition. No wonder then, that every year, the WSOP Main Event pulls in thousands of poker lovers who plan and prepare to pitch the ultimate battle for this prestigious title.
And ever since an amateur player, Chris Moneymaker shipped the WSOP Main Event in 2003 there has been a massive surge in recreational players vying to win the coveted gold bracelet. The young accountant proved to the world that it doesn’t take years of professional training and sharpening of skills to win, and that “A nobody could topple the feared pros.”
In addition to achieving personal glory, what Moneymaker really did was to set in motion a poker craze in the US that has now gained more momentum with the recent regulation of online poker in some states.
For Indians who have been making their annual trips to the ‘mecca of poker’ Vegas for many years, taking down the WSOP Main Event is the ultimate dream. Buttressed by the active support of Indian poker sites and buoyed by an increasing international exposure, a bigger group has landed in Sin City this year as well.
Headlining Team India at the WSOP Main Event is the poster boy of Indian poker and Team PokerStars Pro Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal who carries with him an unmatched experience of numerous deep runs at this event over the past 13 years. Agarwal is one of the few Indian players who plays through the entire WSOP schedule, and will be seen in action next on Day 1B of the WSOP Main Event. Along with Agarwal, there are a lot of talented Indian players in the mix, many of whom have already done commendably well in the series so far.
This year the Main Event will run through three starting flights, and reach its second day of play for survivors of the Flight A and Flight B on July 5th while the players advancing from Flight C will resume the Day 2 battle on July 6. From here on, all fields will combine to compete from July 7 onwards right until a winner is crowned. The entry field in the Main Event has jumped higher every year and in 2017, 7,221 competitors entered the battle creating a prize pool of $67,877,400! This year too, the entry counters are expected to be crowded with people lining up to enter.
So as the Indian players get ready for the biggest sweat of poker about to kick off in a few hours, here’s a look-back at the Top 10 Indian runs at the WSOP Main Event over the past five years (2013-2017).
Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal
Aditya Agarwal is the top Indian performer at the WSOP Main Event ever, with the highest score till date and his WSOP profile is a rich repertoire of deeps runs at the event.
Agarwal picked up his first WSOP Main Event score in 2007 when he finished 450th for $29,883 (~₹20.51 Lakhs). He has, over time improved his game and his results are testament to his growing skill and experience.
Agarwal is the only Indian to have cracked into the top 100 in this event not once but twice. Looking at the past five years, his best score came in 2015 when he finished 71st for $96,445 (~₹66.09 Lakhs), Agarwal holds the top spot among Indians at the event. His 96th place finish in 2008 for $51,466 is not included in our list as we have considered results from the past five years only.
His other stellar runs include a 212nd place finish in 2013 for $42,990 (~₹29.46 Lakhs) and a 621st place finish in 2016 for $18,714 (~₹12.82 Lakhs), all of which find place on our Top 10 list.
Paawan Bansal seems to have made a meteoric rise in the Indian poker circuit. Bansal popped his WSOP cherry in 2017 and made quite an impression on his debut with a 124th place finish in the Main Event for $53,247 (~₹36.44 Lakhs). His score last year puts him on second place on our list and given his form so far this year, he is the one to watch out for these next few days.
A WSOP regular since 2013, Hyderabad based pro Rahul Byrraju made a deep run in the 2017 WSOP Main Event where he finished 102nd for $53,247 (~₹36.44 Lakhs). The run also catapulted Byrraju’s overall WSOP earnings to $110,261.
Bracelet winner Aditya Sushant, who brought India it`s first bracelet in the $1,000 Tag Team NLHE event paired with Nipun Java, has been participating at the WSOP since 2014. At the WSOP Main Event, his only deep run recorded came in 2016, where he finished 216th for $42,285 (~₹28.98 Lakhs).
Vivek Rajkumar has somehow gone missing from the WSOP but he still features in our Top 10 list with his 197th place finish in 2015 for $40,433 (~₹27.71 Lakhs).
Two-time bracelet winner Nipun Java is another active runner for the WSOP Main Event title. Java has the seventh biggest score by an Indian in past five years and this was achieved by him in 2014 when he finished 256th for $38,634 (~₹26.47 Lakhs). Java has been busy this year with five more scores already – look out for this guy on the table!
High-stakes cash game pro Akash Malik’s first WSOP score came in 2013 but it was in 2015 that he cashed the Main Event in 357th place for $24,622 (~₹16.87 Lakhs). Last year, Malik cashed in two events and this series he’s cashed in one event till now.
Raghav Bansal is easily one of the most aggressive players that have recently emerged on the Indian poker felts. Bansal has deftly taken his skilful aggression to the WSOP where he has entered and made it in the money in two WSOP Main Event till date, his first being in 2015 when he finished 960th for $15,000 (~₹10.28 Lakhs). His best performance at WSOP Main Event however, came through in 2016 when he finished 788th for $16,007 (~₹10.90 Lakhs) and for this achievement Bansal holds the tenth spot amid the top Indian Main Event scorers these past five years.
To win the 2018 WSOP Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em Main Event would be no small feat, as even to crack the starting flights and advance further is a huge challenge. But the spirited Indian group in Vegas is all ready to take on the stiff competition at the event, gunning to stake their claim on the bracelet and launch India in the higher brackets of the poker globe. As the clock ticks away, it’s going to be a week bringing thrilling moments of exciting runs right from the WSOP felts and as always we will be right here bringing you all the updates!
Stay tuned on PokerGuru for daily updates from WSOP 2018.