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Day 32 of the 53rd annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) was an eventful one for the Indian rail, with our ‘desi’ players running deep in several bracelet events. But before we get to Team India’s exploits, let’s take a quick look at the three tournaments that awarded bracelets.
Konstantin Angelov collected his maiden bracelet in Event #64: $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack for $199,466. India’s Nishant Sharma had returned on Day 2 with the 16th biggest stack, and as luck would have it, it’s the same place he finished, collecting $7,779 (~₹6.14 Lakhs). This was Sharma’s third score of the series and his 17th WSOP cash overall.
Eli Elezra, inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame last November, clinched his fifth bracelet in Event #63: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $611,362. He defeated the start-of-day chip leader Chino Rheem (2nd for $377,855) heads-up.
Massoud Eskandari won Event #59: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em, clinching his career-first gold bracelet and $330,609. Jennifer Gianera finished runner-up for $204,293.
Young Gun Neel Joshi headlined Team India`s run on Friday. He was one of four Indians returning on Day 2 of Event #65: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em. And even though he started the day with an above-average stack, he made his way up the charts to bag the seventh biggest stack of 2,215,000 among 26 survivors. With the likes of former bracelet winners Phil Hellmuth (3,290,000), Julien Martini (1,825,000), Justin Saliba (1,430,000), and Renan Bruschi (1,140,000) still in contention, Joshi will need to bring his A-game to Day 3 to make it to the final table.
Bracelet winners Abhinav Iyer (95th place for ₹5.37 Lakhs) and Kartik Ved (194th for ₹3.80 Lakhs) also cashed in the event. Japan’s Keiji Ito (6,360,000) commands the overall chip lead for Day 3.
Speaking of Kartik Ved, the head honcho of PokerGuru Staking quickly jumped into Day 1 of Event #66: $1,000 MINI Main Event No-Limit Hold’em (Freezeout). The event logged in a massive field of 5,833 entrants, and only 479 survived the opening day`s play. By the time the bags were brought out, Ved had accumulated the 12th biggest stack of 1,925,000 out of the 479 runners advancing to Day 2. Fellow countrymen Raghav Bansal also made the cut, albeit with a below-average stack of 860,000. Ankit Ahuja couldn’t advance and fell out shortly after the money bubble burst in 645th for $1,752 (~₹1.38 Lakhs). Jake Bluston (2,825,000) will be headlining the 479 players on Day 2.
India`s ‘original Poker Guru’ Aditya Agarwal was the biggest scorer of the team. After finishing runner-up in Event #76: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty eight months ago, Agarwal managed another deep run in the event this year, i.e., Event #67: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em, but failed to make the final table. He finished 44th for $13,730 (~₹10.84 Lakhs). The event is down to six players, and Nacho Barbero (12,225,000) holds a commanding chip lead heading into the final day.
The record-breaking Event #61: Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship, saw 42 ladies return on Day 3 and played down to eight players. Lynh Nguyen (3,870,000) emerged as the end-of-day chip leader. The Day 1 chip leader, Indo-American Gargee Sharma, fell in 27th place for $4,569.
Event #61: Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship – Day 3
The record-breaking 1,074-entry field in Event #61: Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship has been whittled down to just eight players after three action-packed days.
Day 3 opened up with 42 ladies taking their seats for a shot at making the final table at this one and only specialized ladies event of the series. As the dust settled after eight levels of play, Lynh Nguyen bagged the biggest stack of 3,870,000. Christina Gollins is almost neck-to-neck with Nguyen with 3,845,000, followed by Julie Le with 3,100,000 in third place.
The day was fast-paced, with quick eliminations early in the day. The field was trimmed down to just three tables in under two hours of play, with Day 2 chip leader Cherish Andrews still in the lead.
The Day 1 chip leader, Indo-American Gargee Sharma, was among the early eliminations of the day. Following Sharma to rail was short-stacked Tiffany Michelle, who exited the tournament in Level 23. Maria Konnikova followed her a few hands later in 20th place, leaving the rest of the players to be seated over two tables with Andrews still enjoying a commanding chip lead.
One of the rags to riches stories at the event was of Ranae Warren. Day 2 was tough on Warren, as at one point in the tournament, she barely managed to scrape through the money bubble with just 5,000 in chips. However, Warren worked her way up to finish Day 2 with the sixth biggest stack and had an equally inspiring run on Day 3, where she finished 14th in the day-end chip counts.
As the unofficial final table of ten began, the players were informed that instead of playing down to five as scheduled, they would go until only eight remained.
Jennifer Loman was the first to go in tenth place, and the day ended with a rather surprising elimination of Andrews in ninth place.
The remaining eight players will resume the final table action on July 2 at 2 PM (PDT). Viewers will get to follow the action on PokerGO`s YouTube channel as they battle it out for the top prize of $166,975 and the WSOP bracelet.
End of Day 3 Chip Counts
Event #65: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em – Day 2
The 1,359 player starting field in Event #65: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit in down to 26 players after two days of action. After nine levels of play on Friday, Japan’s Keiji Ito (6,360,000) had the most chips in the bag, followed by Richard Scardina (4,835,000) and David Jackson (4,700,000).
A group of four Indians was among the 224 players returning on Day 2, namely Young Gun Neel Joshi (266,000), PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved (180,000), and Young Guns Arsh Grover (130,000) and Abhinav Iyer (116,000).
Among the four, only Neel Joshi carried a stack forward to Day 3. He was first seen in action during Level 17, by which time he had doubled his starting stack to 597,000. Five levels later, he held almost 2 Million in chips.
During Level 25, Joshi was involved in a hand with Winamax Team Pro Romain Lewis. The French pro had pipped Aditya Agarwal heads-up in Event #76: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty last year to claim his maiden gold bracelet. Ironically, Agarwal’s compatriot knocked Lewis out of the event in 33rd place for $16,733. The hand in question saw Joshi bet 100,000 from the button, and Lewis moved all-in for 800,000. Joshi gave Lewis the courtesy of showing his cards before making the call.
The board ran confirming Lewis’ exit as Joshi chipped up to 3.10 Million.
Thirty-eight minutes later, Ramiro Petrone doubled up through Joshi, bringing his stack down to 1.715 Million. Despite the hit, Joshi bagged 2,215,000, putting him seventh in chips among the 26 survivors.
A well-known name in the domestic circuit, Joshi’s biggest career finish happens to be the ₹65.01 Lakhs he won for his runner-up finish in India`s biggest online tournament, PokerBaazi’s inaugural ₹5 Crores GTD EndBoss. Abhishek Maheshwari took down the event for ₹1 Crore.
Last year, Joshi had made a close run to the bracelet in Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em, ultimately finishing third for $72,031 (~₹53.58 Lakhs). Before his third-place finish, Joshi’s deepest run in a WSOP bracelet event was his sixth-place finish in the 2020 WSOP Online Event #36 $1.5K Fifty Stack NLHE for $59,878 (~₹44.75 Lakhs).
The chemical engineer from BITS Pilani had already cashed three bracelet events this year and has locked in his fourth cash with his deep run. However, a run to the top will not be easy for Joshi, especially with the likes of Phil Hellmuth in the hunt for his career-17th bracelet.
India’s only solo gold bracelet winner, Abhinav Iyer, was eliminated in Level 19. He jammed from the cutoff for about 240,000, and David Lopez re-shoved from the button.
The community card ran and Lopez’s flopped top pair, ousted Iyer in 95th place for $6,803 (~₹5.37 Lakhs).
Kartik Ved was also eliminated in Level 19, and he finished 194th for $4,818 (~₹3.80 Lakhs). This was Ved’s fifth score of the series, taking his overall WSOP (cashes) tally to 16.
Arsh Grover was looking to open his scorecard at the series and was the only one of the four returning Indians who busted short of the money.
Kyle Kitagawa money-bubbled the event after coming out on the wrong side of a cooler with his kings falling flat out into aces, assuring the remaining 204 players at least $4,818.
Martin Stoyanov (29th for $16,733), PokerStars Ambassador Steve Enriquez (37th for $14,090), Michael Gathy (40th for $14,090), Brian Green (43rd for $14,090), Alex Lindop (57th for $10,425), Renat Bohdanov (77th for $8,174), Andres Korn (82nd for $7,401) and Hossein Ensan (86th for $7,401) were other notables who hit the rail on Day 2.
Phil Hellmuth (3,290,000), Julien Martini (1,825,000), Justin Saliba (1,430,000), and Renan Bruschi (1,140,000) are bracelet winners who bagged and tagged for Day 3.
The remaining 26 players are assured at least $20,149, with $598,173 and the prestigious gold bracelet reserved for the eventual champion.
Day 3 will resume at noon (PDT) on July 2.
End of Day 2 Chip Counts
Event #66: $1,000 MINI Main Event No-Limit Hold’em (freezeout) – Day 1
Day 1 of Event #66: $1,000 MINI Main Event No-Limit Hold ’em (freezeout) served as a prelude to the upcoming Event #70: $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em Main Event World Championship. A massive field of 5,833 players joined the action, and after 22 levels of play, only 479 had a stack to carry to Day 2.
Jake Bluston (2,825,000) bagged Day 1 chip lead, with James Dike (2,505,000), Jaeyoung Choi (2,380,000), Vincent Li (2,315,000) and Jake Schwartz (2,275,000) advancing with the other top stacks.
India’s Kartik Ved jumped into the event shortly after busting Event #65 and worked up quite a stack. The former bracelet winner is ranked 12th in chips with a massive stack of 1,925,000. The Indian rail hopes the WSOP Online 2020 Event #64: $840 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold ’em champion will bring yet another bracelet home.
Ved has been one of the most consistent performers in the ongoing series, having already cashed five times – 103rd in Event #46: $ 5,000 No-Limit Hold ’em – 6-Handed for $8,807 (~ ₹6.96 Lakhs), 194th in Event #65: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold ’em for $4,818 (~₹3.80 Lakhs), 592nd in Event #37: $ 1,500 No-Limit Hold ’em – Millionaire Maker for $3,795 (~ ₹3 Lakhs), 123rd in Event #18: $ 1,000 No-Limit Hold ’em – Freezeout for $2,773 (~ ₹2.19 Lakhs) and 263rd in Event #34: $ 1,500 No-Limit Hold ’em – Freezeout for $2,407 (~₹1.90 Lakhs).
Raghav Bansal (860,000) was another Indian to make it to Day 2 and is currently ranked 148th among the survivors. Bansal has one prior cash in the series, i.e., $1,689 (~ ₹1,33 Lakhs) from his 75th place finish in Online Event #5: $600 Online Deepstack Championship. However, he has now locked in at least $2,165 with a deep run in the event but will be hoping to go the distance.
Ankit Ahuja was yet another contender representing the Indian tricolor. However, he fell in 645th place for $1,752 (~₹1.38 Lakhs).
Paawan Bansal and Young Gun Arsh Grover were also seen in action but busted short of the money.
James Calderaro (1,800,000 ), Leo Soma (1,175,000), Tyler Patterson (920,000), Shaun Deeb (700,000), and Women Poker Hall of Famer Kathy Liebert (585,000) are other top regs advancing to Day 2.
The $1000 buy-in event created a $5,191,370 prize pool and assured the top 875 places at least $1,602. The eventual champion will take home $594,189 and the alluring WSOP gold bracelet.
Bracelet winners who made ITM finishes on Day 1 include Brett Shaffer (537th for $2,002), Barry Hutter (602nd for $1,703), Pete Chen (630th for $1,752), Kate Kopp (692th for $1,752) and Robert Varkonyk (810th for $1,602).
Day 2 will start at noon (PDT) on Saturday, June 2, where the 480 survivors will return to Bally’s in a bid to move further ahead in the bracelet chase.
Top 10 Chip Counts at the End of Day 1
Event #67: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – Day 1
Event #67: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em registered a 419 entry-field, and after 12 hours of play, only six players remain in the fray.
Nacho Barbero holds the runaway chip lead with a stack of 12,225,000 (49 BBs). Ilya Nikiforov is a distant second in chips with 4,875,000 (20 BBs).
Former bracelet winners Rob Hollink (3,250,000) and Andrew Lichtenberger (2,500,000), along with Women Poker Hall of Famer Maria Ho (1,875,000), feature among the Day 2 survivors. Fabiano Kovalski (425,000) will enter Day 2 with just 2 BBs.
India’s poker pioneer Aditya Agarwal was seen in action in this event. Interestingly, he had finished runner-up in the Super Turbo Bounty NLHE last year, picking up a career-best $286,705 (~₹2.13 Crores).
Agarwal was first seen in action during Level 11 when his was pitted against an anonymous player’s . The runout gave the rival player a flopped pair of Jacks, but Agarwal had a better hand with the Broadway straight, getting him the bounty and pushing his stack to 289,000.
Seven levels later, Agarwal secured a double knockout. A short-stacked player moved all in from UTG, and Cliff Josephy re-shoved for 71,000 from the middle position. Agarwal was sitting on the button and pushed his covering stack into the middle. The players in the blinds folded.
The flop gave Agarwal a commanding lead. The turn and river were no help to the other players. The double knockout propelled Agarwal’s stack to 401,000.
Although this hand was not mentioned in the live reporting, Agarwal informed us that at some point during the day, he lost a massive pot to ten-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey.
Sadly, Agarwal’s run came to an end in Level 21. His elimination hand saw Mike Watson open to 50,000 from the early position. The action folded to Agarwal, who was in the big blind, and he moved all-in. Watson called with the bigger stack, putting Agarwal at risk.
The board ran , and Watson’s Jack kicker sent Agarwal to the rail in 44th place for $13,730 (~₹10.84 Lakhs).
This was Agarwal’s fourth cash of the series (his 52nd overall). The Goa resident had early success in the series with a final table finish in Event #3: $2,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em (9th for $23,634 ~₹18.36 Lakhs). He has already accumulated $84,545 (~₹66.75 Lakhs) at the 2022 WSOP, pushing his lifetime WSOP earnings to $955,952 (~₹7.54 Crores), and is on the cusp of crossing the $1 Million mark.
With the top 63 places assured payouts, Diego Sanchez money-bubbled the event in 64th place.
Former bracelet winner Tyler Cornell (63th for $10,984) was the first player to finish in the money.
Jonathan Little (12th for $27,269), Kyle Julius (15th for $22,327), Andrew Brown (19th for $18,625), JC Tran (24th for $18,625), Michael Mizrachi (25th for $18,625), PokerStars Team Pro Andre Akkari (40th for $13,730), Phil Ivey (41st for $13,730), Martin Zamani (45th for $12,013), Paul Volpe (46th for $12,013), Eric Froehlich (47th for $12,013) and Chance Kornuth (49th for $12,013) were among the notables who boarded the money bus.
The elimination of Mike Watson in 10th place ($33,924) led to the remaining nine players reconvening at the final table.
Rainer Kempe (7th for $72,683), David Mzareulov (8th for $55,401), and Paul Chauderson (9th for $42,970) were the last three players to fall before the play was halted on Day 1.
The remaining six players are assured a min-cash of $97,002, but their eyes will be on the $587,520 top prize and the coveted gold bracelet. They will resume play at 2 PM (PDT) on July 2.
End of Day 1 Chip Counts
Content & Images Courtesy: PokerGO, PokerNews & WSOP
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