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This Week in Poker: November 3 – 9

In the PokerGuru feature ‘This Week in Poker,’ we bring you the weekly roundup of the most significant online scores by Indian MTT players and the top stories from both the live and online poker circuit. Here are this week’s top stories!

The penultimate month of the year has been exciting for poker fans, with Team India taking the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) by storm. Even though the Indian participation at the WSOP is smaller this year, the Indian players in Las Vegas have kept the team`s scorecard ticking, but we`ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s check out what happened on the domestic virtual felts this past week.

The winningest MTT player in the country, Young Gun Gaurav Sood, dominates the weekly charts yet again – all but cementing his place at the top of the annual rankings. If all goes to plan, he will successfully close out the year at the top of the annual charts for a second consecutive year. On Sunday, the dentist-turned-poker pro won the two biggest tournaments underway – Adda52’s DOPT Highroller and Spartan Poker’s The Prestige – banking ₹23.65 Lakhs overall. No surprises then that Sood is our “PokerGuru Star of the Week!”

PokerGuru Ambassadors were not too far behind, with teammates Arjanveer Singh Chadha and Ankit Wadhawan chopping PokerStars India’s Diwali Rush Series Main Event title heads-up. While Chadha walked away with the title and ₹13.49 Lakhs top prize, Wadhawan settled for an equally commendable ₹11.60 Lakhs in second place.

Another PokerGuru Staking stalwart Mithun Mahesh is next among the week`s top winners with ₹12.51 Lakhs to his name. Mahesh won two titles this week: PokerStars India’s Diwali Rush-06 Super Highroller for ₹7.65 Lakhs and PokerStars India’s Highroller for ₹2.39 Lakhs. He also placed runner-up in Adda52’s Godfather Junior for ₹1.62 Lakhs.

Rising Star Ritwik Khanna, Sandeep Thakral, Suraj N Yadav, Prakash Gupta, Abhishek Chaurasia, and Harshad Barve featured among the week`s other top scorers.

With the post-Diwali celebrations out of the way, PokerBaazi has come out with a fantastic new tournament for the low to mid-stakes players, the 10 Mein 10 Lakhpati. Running for three weeks from November 15 to December 5, the site will be running daily qualifiers for ₹10, and the top 10 finishers in the weekly finale on Sunday will collect ₹1 Lakh each!

And as promised, coming to the WSOP updates, Team India picked up four scores this week. Vikranth Anga posted the most significant WSOP score by the team so far this year with an eighth-place finish in Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $53,824 (~₹40.05 Lakhs). Vidur Sethi finished 24th for $17,923 (~₹13.33 Lakhs).

MPL Poker Ambassador Dhaval Mudgal bagged his career-best WSOP finish in Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship NLHE, placing 30th for $7,120 (~₹5.30 Lakhs). The former bracelet winner, PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved, picked up his first cash at this year’s WSOP in Event #65: $1,00 Mini Main Event, placing 77th for $5,305 (~₹3.93 Lakhs).

Coming to the holy grail of poker tournaments, the WSOP Main Event, we once again saw several Indians in the fray. Abhinav Iyer (410,900), poker superstar Aditya Agarwal (217,000), Vidur Sethi (183,400), Shashank Jain (103,600), and two-time bracelet champion Nipun Java (50,100) have already made it to Day 3 in the Main Event.

Additionally, Kalyan Chakravarthy (156,600), Kunal Punjwani (149,500), the husband-wife duo Yudhishter Jaswal (85,000) & Muskan Sethi (84,700), Ankit Ahuja (75,500), and Young Gun Siddharth Karia (39,500) will be playing Day 2CEF on Wednesday.

Kunal Patni (86,100) and Dhaval Mudgal (33,700) might have busted the Main Event, but both of them have made Day 2 in Event #68: $1,111 Little One for One Drop.

 

Online Railbird Report

The ranked #1 player in the country for 14 consecutive weeks, Young Gun Gaurav Sood, has all but guaranteed to take the lead to a 15th week after netting a jaw-dropping ₹23.65 Lakhs this week. Sood championed the two biggest tournaments running on Sunday, Adda52’s DOPT Highroller (₹13.50 Lakhs) and Spartan Poker’s The Prestige (₹9.25 Lakhs) to top the weekly charts, also bagging our “PokerGuru Star of the Week” title!

Gaurav Sood
Gaurav Sood

 

PokerGuru Ambassadors didn`t do too bad either, and three of them featured among the top five winners this past week. PokerGuru Ambassador Ankit Wadhawan banked ₹13.65 Lakhs for chopping PokerStars India’s ₹75 Lakhs GTD Diwali Rush-23 Main Event title with teammate Arjanveer Singh Chadha for ₹11.60 Lakhs.

Runner-up Ankit Wadhawan
Ankit Wadhawan

 

His top finishes include:

> 2nd in PokerStars India’s Diwali Rush-23 Main Event for ₹11.60 Lakhs.

> 6th in Spartan Poker’s The Elite for ₹1.38 Lakhs

His teammate Arjanveer Singh Chadha added a hefty ₹13.49 Lakhs to his kitty. Chadha displayed top form in the Diwali Rush-23 Main Event that he won for ₹13.32 Lakhs.

Arjanveer Singh Chadha
Arjanveer Singh Chadha

 

Another one of PokerGuru Staking’s top talent, Mithun Mahesh, completed the trio of champions from the stable. Like Gaurav Sood, Mahesh won two titles this week and placed runner-up in another event to collect ₹12.51 Lakhs cumulatively.

Mithun Mahesh
Mithun Mahesh

 

His top finishes include:

> 1st in PokerStars India’s Diwali Rush-06 Super Highroller ₹ for ₹7.65 Lakhs

> 1st in PokerStars India’s Highroller for ₹2.39 Lakhs

> 2nd in Adda52’s Godfather Junior for ₹1.62 Lakhs

Rising Star Ritwik Khanna FT-ed three flagship tournaments, which comprised the significant chunk of the ₹11.49 Lakhs he earned over the week.

Ritwik Khanna
Ritwik Khanna

 

His top finishes include:

> 3rd in Adda52’s DOPT Highroller for ₹6.25 Lakhs

> 2nd in Adda52’s DOPT Epic for ₹2.95 Lakhs

> 4th in Adda52’s DOPT Tuesday Feature for ₹1.20 Lakhs

Sandeep Thakral (Runner-up in DOPT Highroller), Suraj N Yadav (Won ReCharge, 3rd in Destiny, and 4th in The Elite), Prakash Gupta (3rd in Diwali Rush-23 Main Event), Abhishek Chaurasia (Won Sunday Superstack), and Harshad Barve (Runner-up in The Prestige and DOPT Warm-up) were the other top scorers of the week.

 

Notable Winners of the Week

PlayerPrize AmountEventPoker Site
Gaurav ‘gauravarod’ Sood₹13.50 LakhsDOPT Highroller ₹50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Arjanveer 'ballistik310' Singh Chadha₹13.31 LakhsDiwali Rush-23 Main Event (₹15 Lakhs for 1st) ₹75 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Gaurav 'mozzie17' Sood₹9.25 LakhsThe Prestige ₹50 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Mithun 'ThePokeRajaIN' Mahesh₹7.65 LakhsDiwali Rush - 06 [Super Highroller] ₹35 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Abhisek 'Bittur' Chaurasia₹6.70 LakhsSunday Superstack ₹30 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
“ranksster”₹6.22 LakhsThe Elite ₹22 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
"Happyfish"₹5.20 LakhsDOPT Epic ₹20 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Vinayak 'salmanbhai' Bajaj₹3.63 LakhsThe Weekly HighRoller ₹12 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Jyoti Ranjan 'joey260186' Nayak₹3.38 LakhsThe Ballers Junior ₹10 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Nitesh 'Batmanpok' Katiyar₹3.29 LakhsTrending Thursday ₹16 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Raghav ‘mrbean98’ Ananth₹3.03 LakhsDOPT Tuesday Feature ₹15 Lakhs GTDAdda52
“erace”₹2.78 LakhsGodfather Junior ₹10 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Tanmay ‘tsb2127’ Sanjay Bhalerao2.75 LakhsMega Stack – Millionaire Bubble ₹15 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Abhimanyu 'PsychoDrama' Mittal₹2.71 LakhsDOPT 6-Max Monday Feature ₹15 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Bharat 'MojoJojo2193' Vasan₹2.44 LakhsBounty Builder HR ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Mithun 'ThePokeRajaIN' Mahesh₹2.39 LakhsHighroller ₹10 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Myron 'priyankAAchoprAA' Pereira₹2.26 LakhsThe Endeavour ₹12 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Pradip ‘Nit2Donk’ Ghosh₹2 LakhsDOPT Ultimate ₹8 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Suraj 'MR.BEAST' N Yadav₹1.95 LakhsReCharge ₹8 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Suraj 'MR.BEAST' N Yadav₹1.93 LakhsReCharge ₹8 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Kuldeep ‘Bacchapro’ Jorwal₹1.81 LakhsThe Big Show ₹7.5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
"peacelover"₹1.75 LakhsDOPT Grand Duke ₹7 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Tanmay ‘PlusEv’ Benara₹1.54 LakhsDOPT Frenzy ₹7 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Sanchit 'scofield1210' Nag₹1.36 LakhsMoney Heist ₹8 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
“Amaan12_9”₹1.24 LakhsFuturistic ₹7 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Aniket 'WhiteRabbit' Sharma₹1.21 LakhsFriday Bounty Junior ₹4 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Clinton 'Clinton Tavares' Tavares₹1.17 LakhsDiwali Rush - 08 [Uppercut Mini] ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
“tcs41194”₹1.16 LakhsMonster Turbo Junior ₹4 Lakhs GTDAdda52
“Yomme”₹1.05 LakhsDiwali Special ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Debneil ‘ChhotaDon’ Mukherjee₹1.02 LakhsThe Race 5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
“ShaktiMaan”₹86KDiwali Rush-22 [Final Warm-up] ₹5 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Ishan 'neatvat' Tipre₹84KDeepstack ₹4 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Mukesh 'Mukesh Surana'Surana₹84,799Weekend Punch ₹5 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Karan ‘karannthakker’ Thakker ₹84,000DOPT Warm Up ₹3 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Shubhadip ‘mig22’ Dasgupta₹83,400DOPT Warm Up ₹3 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Aditya 'konstantinn' Singh₹82,005Deepstack ₹4 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Aditya 'konstantinn' Singh₹81,627Deepstack ₹4 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
Shawn ‘spanktastic’ Chatterton₹75,385DOPT Jaqk ₹3 Lakhs GTDAdda52
007.devashish ₹69,849DOPT Frenzy ₹2.50 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Siddharth ‘CARDashian66’ Kadel₹60,390DOPT Deep Dive ₹2.20 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Ronima1978₹60,390DOPT Deep Dive ₹2.20 Lakhs GTDAdda52
monk5555₹55,766Holdem BOOST ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
Mohak 'Tiltin' Kapoor
₹53,648BSS ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
‘gokugg’₹52,000DOPT Royale PKO ₹2 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Prashant ‘prashant031’ Pandagre₹51,295Holdem BOOST ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
‘TheBlack(3’₹46,281Diwali Rush-29 Ultrasonic ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Shawn ‘spanktastic’ Chatterton₹45,926DOPT Suites ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDAdda52
Alok 'chhavi013' Kumar₹40,184BSS Night Sprint ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
capzeus₹38,763Reloaded ₹1.75 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
‘Mohitk’₹37,000Big Bang ₹1 Lakh GTDKhelo365
Takkar.singh₹36,768Sunday Night Rider ₹1.65 Lakhs GTDSpartan Poker
JumboJetPack₹36,683Sixth Sense ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
Amit 'walker90' Jaiswal₹33,908BSS Kickoff ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPokerBaazi
fishcake104₹32,950Ultrasonic ₹1.25 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
‘The Unicorn’₹32,599DOPT Daily Kickoff ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDAdda52
vinay2203₹31,293DOPT Flint ₹1 Lakh GTDAdda52
RAV1619₹29,932Deepstack ₹1.5 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
‘chunu79’₹27,939DOPT Flint ₹1 Lakh GTDAdda52
'anshgang'₹27,856BSS Afternoon Sprint ₹1 Lakh GTDPokerBaazi
‘Zamindar1’₹26,701Diwali Rush-27 Sunday Storm ₹2 Lakhs GTDPokerStars India
‘Chinchan0524’₹23,043Diwali Rush-24 6+ Deepstack ₹1 Lakh GTD PokerStars India
Gurpal 'twizelll' Singh₹18,182Afternoon on Stars ₹60K GTDPokerStars India
‘RltoDope′₹15,120Dominator ₹50K GTDKhelo365
BuddyAAA₹15,038The Centurion ₹75K GTDSpartan Poker
‘MoonMagic1998’₹14,022Diwali Rush-28 Omania ₹40K GTDPokerStars India
Siddhanth ‘Liu Kang’ Kapoor₹13,500Last Chance ₹45K GTDSpartan Poker
Sandeep 'effuno007' Varma RS₹13,495Bigstack Turbo ₹50K GTDPokerStars India
sanam bewfa9351'₹13,019Deepstack ₹50K GTDPokerStars India
aav007₹11,240Primetime Grind ₹50K GTDPokerStars India
'ziya12'₹10,996Daily 5-Max ₹50K GTDPokerBaazi
EKKADOUBLE₹9,768Omania ₹30K GTDPokerStars India
‘Warriori08’₹8,941Diwali Rush-25 Bounty Builder ₹40K GTDPokerStars India
gameplay_changed₹6,563Epic ₹25K GTDSpartan Poker
‘theCodedguy’₹6,402Diwali Rush-21 The Hot ₹40K GTDPokerStars India
Mohit ‘imohitahuja21’ Ahuja₹5,348PBBS#4 ₹20K GTDPokerBaazi
Prof.HK₹3,938Unstoppable ₹15K GTDSpartan Poker
‘dhamiabhis’₹3,700Quick Freeze ₹10K GTDKhelo365
‘Breakingbread93’₹3,425PBBS#3 ₹15K GTDPokerBaazi
‘mallupocker’₹3,342PBBS#5 ₹15K GTDPokerBaazi
‘vtvishal’₹3,092PBBS#2 ₹12K GTDPokerBaazi
Akilesh ‘lashxtreme’ Kurunghat₹1,667PBBS#1 Turbo DST ₹7.5K GTDPokerBaazi

 

PokerBaazi Announces “10 Mein 10 Lakhpati” (November 15 – December 5)

PokerBaazi has announced a brand-new weekly tournament, the 10 Mein 10 Lakhpati,offering 10 players a chance at becoming a Lakhpati for just ₹10 each week.

The event will run over three consecutive weeks from November 15 to December 5, with ₹10 buy-in Qualifiers running three times every day, from Monday to Saturday. All surviving qualifiers will get to play the weekly finale at 8 PM on Sunday. The top 10 finishers of the finale will win ₹1 Lakh each, and the bubble boy (11th place) will win a OnePlus Nord.

PokerBaazi 10 M 10 Lakhpati

Read the complete report here

WSOP 2021

The 52nd annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) is now 43 days past us, and the wait is finally over – the much-awaited Event #67: $10K Main Event World Championship has hit the ground running! But before the Main Event got started, PocketFives head and Event #39: $1,500 PLO champion Josh Arieh grabbed the headlines for the second time at the ongoing series. Arieh won his fourth bracelet (his second at the series) in Event #66: $10K PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $484,791.

Josh Arieh

 

Read the complete report here

Another eye-catcher was the news of Dan “Jungleman” Cates finally entering the WSOP bracelet winners club. The newly minted Run It Once coach trounced a 63-player field in Event #60: $50K Poker Players Championship to collect $954,020. Ryan Leng`s chase for a fifth career bracelet ended in a runner-up finish.

Dan Cates

 

Read the complete report here

Running alongside the starting flights of the Main Event was Event #65: $1,00 Mini Main Event. Georgios Sotiropoulos shipped the tourney for his third WSOP bracelet

Georgios Sotiropoulos

 

PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved was the only Indian to make Day 2 in the event, and he placed 77th for his first cash at the series worth $5,305 (~₹3.93 Lakhs).

Kartik Ved

 

Read the complete report here

There were many first-time bracelet winners too. Twenty-two-year-old college graduate Cole Ferrao walked away with his first WSOP gold in Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship NLHE. Eriz Zhang, Kevin Gerhart, Eelis Parssinen, and “Incel4life” also joined the bracelet winner’s club.

PlayerEventPrize Amount (USD)
Dan CatesEvent #60: $50K Poker Players Championship$954,020
Eelis ParssinenEvent #64: $5,000 Mixed NLHE/PLO$545,616
Josh AriehEvent #66: $10K PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship$484,791
Incel4lifeWSOP Online Event #7: $3,200 HR$318,889
Cole FerraoEvent #61: $600 Deepstack Championship NLHE$252,491
Kevin GerhartEvent #62: $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo 8 Or Bettter$186,789
Eric ZhangEvent $63: $500 Salute to Warriors$102,465

 

Team India posted a litany of deep runs this week. One of the more prominent of them was MPL Poker ambassador Dhaval Mudgal`s 30th place finish in Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship NLHE worth $7,120 (~₹5.30 Lakhs).

Dhaval Mudgal
Dhaval Mudgal

 

Vikranth Anga set the benchmark for the team this year with his eighth-place finish in Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $53,824 (~₹40.05 Lakhs). Fellow countryman Vidur Sethi placed 24th for $17,923 (~₹13.33 Lakhs).

Vikranth Anga
Vikranth Anga

 

Now about the WSOP Main Event! The pinnacle tournament on every poker player`s bucket list, the Main Event turnout this year has been better than predicted. Five Indian players made it through Day 2ABD, with India`s first solo bracelet winner Abhinav Iyer (410,900) leading the charge. WSOP veteran Aditya Agarwal (217,000), Vidur Sethi (183,400), Shashank Jain (103,600), and two-time bracelet champion Nipun Java (50,100) are the other Indians already confirmed for Day 3.

Abhinav Iyer
Abhinav Iyer

 

Even as five Indians have already secured their seat into Day 3 (to be played on November 11), another batch of five Indians will be playing Day 2CEF on Wednesday. Kunal Punjwani (149,500) leads this group, with the poker-playing couple Yudhishter Jaswal (85,000) and Muskan Sethi (84,700) also making it further. The U.S.-based Ankit Ahuja (75,500) and Young Gun Siddharth Karia (39,500) also found bags for Day 2CEF that got underway at 11 AM (local time) on November 10.

Kunal Punjwani
Kunal Punjwani

 

Another bracelet sweat is developing for Team India in Event #68: $1,111 Little One for One Drop, where Kunal Patni (86,100) and Dhaval Mudgal (33,700) have qualified from Day 1A, while Sanjay Sharma (36,800) made it through Day 1B. The final starting flight, Day 1C, is scheduled for November 10.

Kunal Patni
Kunal Patni

 

Read the complete report here

With this, we conclude this week’s roundup of the latest news updates and developments from the world of poker. We will return again next week with our weekly report. Stay tuned.

Poker Streaming – A Trend Fast Catching On in India

Poker streaming is a trend that had very few takers in India until very recently. In fact, up until a few years back, the list of Indian poker streamers was limited to just a very few poker pros.

All that is changing rapidly now. There’s been a sudden onslaught of players that have taken up live-streaming recently. Hardly does a week go by when we don’t see fresh, energetic live-streams from Young Gun Siddharth Karia, Raj Juneja, Anujkumar Kodam, Kshitij Kucheria, and Shobhit Bhargava, Aditya Wadhwani, Chirag Sodha, Jaideep Sajwan, and others.

Is this lockdown-induced poker streaming craze a value-adding pastime? Possibly for some, but the rage has undoubtedly caught on, and it’s also changing the poker industry’s dynamics. Sensing an opportunity, online poker brands are roping some of these players to live-stream their tourneys.

For this feature, we caught up with a few of our own ‘desi’ streamers. Let’s find out what drives them to stream and their views on this thoroughly fun activity, which presents a gold mine of learning for upcoming players.

 

Streaming Picking Up Pace in India

From industry old-timers to seasoned regs and upcoming pros, the list of Indian poker streamers is growing every week. But does this signify a tectonic shift in the domestic poker sector, or is it just a temporary, lockdown-pushed trend?

Star commentator Aditya Wadhwani feels streaming is here to stay. “It was always going to pick up, the lockdown was a catalyst to the current state surely,” he said.

Aditya Wadhwani
Aditya Wadhwani

 

Season 1 of his talk showIt’s Your Turn (IYT) With Aditya Wadhwani’ was just the starting point, and he plans to live-stream very regularly, along with “big schemes in the works” for IYT Season 2, once his at-home studio is set up.

Chirag Sodha, who has hosted four live streams on PokerBaazi`s YouTube channel, echoed the same thought. “I feel that the lockdown definitely pushed more people in this direction, but now that we can see its merits, it should continue to grow in popularity.”

He tried out streaming from his own Twitch channel first. “I wanted to know what it would be like! We eventually figured that a few of us could get on board and stream on the PokerBaazi channel so that we can reach more people, and it’s been great so far.”

 

A New Breed of Poker Streamers Emerging

Be it regs, newbies, or upcoming players, a whole new bunch of players have taken up live-streaming their poker sessions, and are going full-throttle about it!

For Kshitij Kucheria, streaming started as a means of warding off boredom and personally motivating himself to play. He has been streaming for three months and getting consistently better at it.

Kshitij Kucheria
Kshitij Kucheria

 

I saw a lot of people playing online poker because of the lockdown, but very badly… so I thought that I should just create some content so that people tune-up and learn,” said Kucheria.

Jaideep Sajwan had travel vlogging on his mind when he started his YouTube channel New World Nomads. After realizing that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to dampen his year’s travel and WSOP plans, he decided to dedicate two months to creating poker content “Initially I planned to make a few fun episodes on poker, and streaming just got added on.”

Jaideep Sajwan

 

Sajwan’s streams are lively, and he often invites other guests like Chirag Sodha and Sumit Sapra on air. Even though Sajwan insists that this was just a two-month content creation adventure that has come to an end, his streams are very popular, and chances are bright that he will persist with streaming.

Apart from the usual poker regs, there are upcoming players like Shobhit Bhargava from New Delhi who has been playing poker for only a year and a half but has a natural flair for streaming. His streams are energetic and entertaining, and it’s very evident that he puts in the extra effort in editing to churn out content.

Shobhit Bhargava

 

Bhargava is also one of the more active streamers as he streams on YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram from his channel ‘569poker’ thrice a week. “After falling in love with poker about 1.5 years back, I have been following a lot of poker streamers; however, finding a regular ‘Indian’ poker streamer was impossible. So that got me wondering what it takes to put up a decent quality stream,” Bhargava told us, emphasizing that he also wants to clear the myth that streaming is only for the pros.

 

Poker Streaming is Fun!

When Siddharth Karia began live-streaming his tournament grind on PokerBaazi, it was like an experiment starting out and an add-on to his daily poker regime.

Siddharth Karia
Siddharth Karia

 

It turns out, Karia is quite a natural to the genre, and he admits he’s enjoying it so far. “I thought that I can entertain and play my game, and I have started to look forward to my weekly Tuesday streams.”

Fun, you say?! Yeah, that, and a lot of hard work, according to MoneyMaker champion, Anuj Kodam.

“It’s a unique experience, quite daunting the first time, cause for hours, you just talk to yourselves. Who does that in real life? And keep people entertained with no person to react to. And delayed streams get tricky,” said Kodam, adding that it all comes down to one`s comfort groove, and streaming, in general, is a booming space that will add to the exposure of the game.

Anujkumar Kodam
Anujkumar Kodam

 

Kodam, who runs his own YouTube channel for “Poetry, Poker and everything in between,” is nowadays live-streaming his Saturday tourney runs on PokerBaazi. “I like playing poker and talking to people, streaming is the best of both worlds. I’ve been wanting to make content for a while, streaming was the low hanging fruit, so when (Poker) Baazi asked me, I was all in.”

 

The Challenges

No, poker streaming is not easy; take it from the former streaming ambassador for PokerStars India, Sharad Rao.

Sharad Rao
Sharad Rao

 

The talented poker pro from Pune has been away from the poker scene for a while, but when we spoke to him on the subject, he was quick to point out, “Streaming is not for everyone. Streaming and being in public space needs a special set of skills. But people who’ve got it- there’s a lot of potential to grow IMO. Everyone should give it a shot, see if it’s something they enjoy and if they think it’s their calling- invest hours. Being regular and following a schedule is the key!”

Inadequate response is another problem for streamers chipped in Kucheria. “The viewership is not good, and it is challenging to organically grow, though now I have got some permanent audience for myself…” says Kucheria, who has been streaming for three months. He is planning to shift his focus towards audiences who have not heard of the game.

Sajwan seemed to have a similar opinion and conceded that although the response to his streams has been amazing, he was expecting it to be better. Streaming has also affected his poker regime more than he expected.

“It’s too much hard work. Adding to the part that you gotta play poker and utilize those aspects, then you gotta stream and be entertaining enough. It definitely degrades your game. I thought this content adventure for two months would reduce my volume by 30% but ended up reducing it by 70-75%. So that was a huge loss for me for sure, and I don’t see that happening too much in the future,” Sajwan said, adding that he is planning to stop streaming to focus on the WSOP Online series and WPT Online.

 

Who is Everyone’s Favorite Streamer?

And the award for the best poker streamer goes to……Well, there are quite a few deserving candidates, to be honest. We asked our Indian streamer who they took inspirations from when creating content. While many international names popped up, a few Indian names were thrown in as well.

Muskan Sethi’s favorite international streamer is Lex Veldhuis, whereas Aditya Wadhwani’s top pick is Spraggy (Ben Spragg). As far as Indian streamers are concerned, Wadhwani feels, “In India, I think it’s important we check out everyone at this point, as it’s still a young crew. “

But if you take a vote, Sajwan is hands-down the most popular, at least among the Indian streamers we spoke to.

There is nobody who is creating content (in India) at JDSaz’s (Jaideep Sajwan) level,” Kshitij Kucheria said. His international favorites are Matt and Jaime Staples, and for the strategy aspect, he likes to watch streams by Jonathan Little.

For Kodam – Sajwan, and Poker Bootcamp India are the ones to watch, “JD is doing a great job in building the scene…” Kodam said, adding that he also follows Charlie Carrel and Ginge Poker.

So, who are Sajwan’s favorite Indian streamers? “I usually stick to streams of my friends, like Chirag Sodha, Anuj Kodam, and Siddharth Karia, whom I know personally and can relate to.”

 

Streaming – Helping Grow the Game

This sudden spike in interest for poker streaming in India is definitely good for the mind sport`s growth. There is no denying the fact that the world lives and breathes on social media. It is quite easy to lose oneself down the YouTube rabbit hole. An upsurge of poker-related content on such platforms will make it easier for the game to reach the masses, while also helping upcoming players hone their skills.

Sodha recalled, “Streamers like Adi (Aditya Wadhwani) and JD (Jaideep Sajwan) were probably the first ones to bring streaming to light. Recently we have seen so many streamers like Kshitij (Kucheria), 569poker (Shobhit Bhargava), Siddharth (Karia), Anuj (Kodam), Poker Bootcamp coaches Abhishek Goindi and Tanmay, Nikita (Luther) and many others.”

Chirag Sodha
Chirag Sodha

 

He emphasized that in the end, this will help grow poker. “It’s great to see! Personally, I feel good about being able to help people who are still new to the game – that’s where I believe my streams are doing some justice.”

Karia opined that streaming gives a feel of what poker players are experiencing, and will help make poker more popular amongst the masses. “People will be able to get a feel of what so many players are experiencing and going through while playing poker…Will surely depend on what kind of audiences are attracted to it. It will be fun to see how it unfurls!”

Wadhwani underlined how perspective helps get better at the game. “Watching different poker players go through their process in real-time, no matter the level of skill is a great way to see how differently this game can be played and enjoyed. Genuine engagement is a great source of inspiration in my opinion.”

 

Conclusion – Poker Streaming a Growing Space

We asked PokerStars India Team Pro Muskan Sethi her take on the new crop of Indian streamers, and she said, “I love it! I have immense respect for all the upcoming streamers of the Indian poker community. They say that whenever we step out of our comfort zone, great things happen!”

Muskan Sethi
Muskan Sethi

 

Sethi has had a lot of practice with content creation, running her “Off the Felt” video podcast, and streaming as the next big stop isn’t ruled out.

Bhargava is confident that a whole new industry is waiting to boom, though it may take a while.

Wadhwani made a pertinent observation. “I’ve noticed a definite upswing in support of poker content online from poker brands. Lockdown was a catalyst not just for the creators, the companies now require a source of the sport being showcased somewhere since live events are on hold. Since streaming is a digital medium like online poker is, the relationship should be symbiotic in theory.”

Verdict: Indian streamers have a lot to catch up on, to come to par with international streamers, but like poker itself, even poker streaming holds all the promises to become much bigger and better in the country. Let’s show some love to this passionate bunch of streamers, by watching their poker streams, and keep them motivated to create quality content for the fast-growing Indian poker community!

Team Ukraine Defends IFMP Nation’s Cup World Championship Title, Team India Finishes 4th

The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) Nation’s Cup is arguably one of the most action-driven and ‘sportified’ global platforms among all the poker leagues in the sport. With the COVID-19 caused hiatus for live stops, the Nation`s Cup, too, had to be held online to meet the dates that were announced. Using CISCO`s Webex digital platform to conduct the proceedings, the IFMP Nation’s Cup World Championship played out over the weekend on May 30 & 31, with 120 players from 12 countries coming together to battle it out for the prestigious title!

In the end, it was the reigning champions Ukraine who went two for two by defending the title. Ukraine had debuted in the competition last year, where they dethroned reigning champions Ireland to claim the top spot with 1,837 points. Repeating much of that dominating form, the team took an early lead and held on to it to win the title with 1,369 points.

IFMP congratulated the team on their remarkable victory!

There was a sizable virtual rail rooting for Team India. Captained by Gaurav Gala and comprising of eight other team members, namely, Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Krina Gala, Zubin Panthaki, Vidur Singhal, Anujkumar Kodam and Kalyan Chakravarthy, Day 1 saw wild swings in the team standings. India was placed fourth at the end of Day 1, a position it retained going into the finals. As it turned out, the team eventually finished in fourth place with 1,270 points.

Team Australia collected 1,320 points for a second-place finish, with Team Lithuania placing third with 1,281.5 points.

IFMP tweeted the official results.

The Indian arm of the IFMP congratulated the Indian team for its commendable performance.

 

IFMP Nation’s Cup

The Nation’s Cup is the marquee event on Match Poker’s annual calendar. Alongside defending champions Team Ukraine, the competition was attended by the European champion`s Spain, Singapore, Australia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ireland, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Poland, and Asian champion`s India. In all, there were 120 poker players from 12 counties who participated in the Nation`s Cup.

IFMP had confirmed on April 17 that the competition would be moved online to a digital platform due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. Test sessions were conducted with every team to ensure that things go smoothly during the tournament.

 

Team India’s Performance

Team India created history last year in November when it won the IFMP Asian Nation’s Cup for the first time. The winning team comprised of Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Prateek Mishra, Krina Gala, and Taran Mundkar and was captained by Gaurav Gala.

The team’s composition was changed for the finale, and while ‘Bitti’ was making an appearance in the contest for the third time, Mishra and Mundkar were replaced by Zubin Panthaki, Vidur Singhal, Anujkumar Kodam and Kalyan Chakravarthy, making for a total of nine players who represented the country in the Nation`s Cup.

 

Day 1

Day 1 began at 1.30 pm (IST) on May 30. The 12 teams played a total of four sessions, each session consisting of 50 hands.

While Team Taiwan closed out Session 1 on the top, by the end of Session 2, Ukraine had catapulted to the top, with Singapore and Australia in hot pursuit.

Team India was in sixth place after Session 1 but pushed back to the ninth spot after Session 2. The team rallied up to fourth place by the end of Session 3, a position it maintained through Session 4.

With Day 1 in the books, it was Team Ukraine in the lead with 1,412.5 points, followed by Singapore (1,386.5 points), Australia (1,349 points), and India (1,337points).

IFMP tweeted the end of Day 1 results.

 

Day 2

The teams played two more sessions of 50 hands each, completing a total of 300 hands before the draw for the finals took place.

At the end of Session 1 on Day 2, Team Ukraine had maintained its lead with 1,736.5 points, but Australia (1,709 points) had improved to push Singapore to the third position. India (1,659.5 points) stayed put in fourth place.

Team Singapore recovered fast and closed out Session 2 on the top with 2,074 points, with Ukraine, Australia, and India all close behind each other.

With 300 hands completed, the top six teams made it to the IFMP Nation’s Cup finals!

 

The Finals

The finals comprised of two sessions of 75 hands each.

Leading the final six teams into the final session of the IFMP Nation’s Cup was Team Singapore (1,037 points), followed by the teams from Ukraine and Australia. India managed to make it to the finals with 1,005 points, while Taiwan and Lithuania were the last two on the points tally.

PositionCountryPoints
1Singapore1037
2Ukraine1029
3Australia1022.5
4India1005
5Taiwan977.75
6Lithuania974.5

Denying Australia the win, Team Ukraine once again took on the winner’s mantel with a staggering 1,369 points. It also remained a reasonable distance ahead of Team Australia that finished second with 1,320 points, and Team Lithuania (1,281.5 points) that took third place. Team India led by Gala finished in fourth place with 1,270 points.

PositionCountryPoints
1Ukraine1369
2Australia1320
3Lithuania1281.5
4India1270
5Taiwan1268.25

Incidentally, this is the third time Team India has participated in the IFMP Nation’s Cup. The first Indian team to represent the country at this contest was in 2017, where the Harman Baweja-led Mumbai All Stars finished fifth at the competition. Team India led by Gala finished had finished fifth at last year in this contest.

A Roundup of the Key Achievements of Indian Players at the WSOP Over the Years

Before the COVID-19 outbreak sent the world scuttling indoors, 2020 bore all the promises of being another great year for live poker. Had things gone on as usual, we would have been only weeks away from the most extravagant poker series – the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP)!

Hotel bookings would have started filling in right about now, and Vegas would be lit up in preparation to welcome the hordes of poker players who visit Sin City each year for the annual series. The excitement for the upcoming WSOP, like at most places globally, would have been at its peak back home as well. Many Indian players, pros and recreational ones alike would have already finalized their travel plans, and social media groups would be abuzz with player’s buying/selling action or discussing travel and hotel arrangements!

Unfortunately, none of it is happening this summer as the global health emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the WSOP to postpone its plans, and the official word is that the 51st annual series will still take place sometime later this year. But for now, with Nevada on a complete shutdown, and international travel an absolute no-no, it’s going to be a non-WSOP summer.

The WSOP has tried to make up for this by announcing a new WSOP Super Circuit Online Series that kicks off on GGPoker on May 3. Nonetheless, even a record-shattering $100 Million guaranteed across 595 events cannot compensate for the delay of the annual live series that is the most-awaited poker festival for poker players the world over!

This is sadly a missed opportunity for us as well to report on our Indian players at the WSOP, at least these next two months. We have tried to fill in a part of that void by recounting some of the most prominent achievements by Team India at the WSOP in this feature!

There can be no debate that Indian players have been consistently setting a new benchmark at the WSOP with each passing year. Still, the last three years have been extraordinarily spectacular for Team India. The turnout of Indian players at the mega festival has increased drastically, and so have the results. Underlining this is the fact that Team India has brought back the gold bracelet without fail the last three editions!

Getting India its first gold bracelet was the dynamic duo of Nipun Java and Aditya Sushant in 2017. Nikita Luther won the shiny gold bracelet in 2018, with Young Gun Abhinav Iyer becoming the first Indian to win a solo WSOP bracelet last year.

There are more inspiring WSOP stories outside these bracelet victories as well. One of the most prominent of these has been scripted by poker veteran Aditya Agarwal, who has cashed the WSOP Main Event an incredible eight times already and boasts of 44 bracelet event cashes!

Nishant Sharma is another player who has done the country proud by becoming the first Indian to make a top 50 finish in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 34th in the prestigious tournament in 2018.

Here is a complete rundown of all the significant achievements of Indian players at the WSOP from recent memory!

 

Bracelet Wins

Winning a WSOP gold bracelet is on the top of the wish list for most poker players. Making that wish come true and also going down the history books as the first Indians to do so was the dynamic duo of Aditya Sushant, and U.S.-based Nipun Java, who won the $1,000 Tag Team in June of 2017 for $75,319 (~₹51.55 Lakhs) each. Java would go on to take down his second bracelet the very next month in the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

Aditya Sushant & Nipun Java with their rail

 

It was Nikita Luther, who entered the elite bracelet winner’s club in 2018. Incidentally, she won the bracelet in the same $1,000 Tag Team as her fellow countrymen the year before, effectively defending the title for Team India. Sharing the victory with her was teammate Germany’s Guiseppe Pantaleo.

Nikita Luther & Guiseppe Pantaleo

 

Young Gun Abhinav Iyer is the most recent bracelet winner from the country. He won The Closer in 2019. Even though he is the third Indian to have won a WSOP bracelet, he still holds the distinction of being the only one from the country to have done so in a solo event (barring Java who won an online bracelet).

Abhinav Iyer

 

Biggest Single Score

And topping this category is none other than Abhinav Iyer! The Mumbai resident decimated a field of 2,800 entries at the 2019 WSOP Event #84: The Closer that included his heads-up rival, Sammy Lafleur. Iyer pocketed a windfall of $565,346 (~₹3.87 Crores) for the win, which continues to remain the single-largest score by an Indian at the WSOP!

Abhinav Iyer

 

Paawan Bansal is a close second behind Iyer in this category. Call it coincidence, but ironically Bansal`s score also came from The Closer. Bansal placed runner-up in the event after losing the bracelet fight to former World Champion Joe Cada in 2018, but a runner-up finish fetched him a very generous $378,765 (~₹2.60 Crores) in prize money.

Nipun Java (runner-up at 2015 WSOP Event 46 – $3,000 PLO 6-Handed for $270,509 – ₹1.87 Crores), and Nishant Sharma (34th at WSOP 2018 Event #65: Main Event for $230,475 -₹1.58 Crores) round out the other top Indian scores at the WSOP over the years!

 

Most ITM Finishes

The poker boy for Indian poker, Aditya Agarwal, tops the list of Indian pros for accumulating the maximum number of ITM finishes at the WSOP. Agarwal’s WSOP tally is as long as 44 ITM finishes that add up to a staggering $580,782 (~₹4.44 Crores*) in live winnings. One of the earliest Indians to represent the country at the prestigious series, Agarwal, is also known for regularly playing most of the NLH events (barring the High Rollers) on the WSOP schedule each year. He collected his first WSOP cash way back in 2007, placing 116th in the $2,000 NLHE for $29,883 (~₹20.71 Lakhs).

Aditya Agarwal

 

Running through his long WSOP scorecard, Agarwal’s best score to date remains his 71st place finish at the 2015 WSOP Main Event that fetched him a whopping $96,445 (~₹66.85 Lakhs).

 

Most Final Table Finishes (Including Bracelet Wins)

The Delhi-born California resident Nipun Java and Chennai`s Aditya Sushant share the distinction of having final tabled the most bracelet events – three each.

Nipun Java & Aditya Sushant

 

Java’s first WSOP final table finish was in 2015 when he finished runner-up in Event #46 $3,000 PLO Six-Handed for $270,509 (~₹1.87 Crores). He had a breakout 2017 that saw him taking down two bracelets in Event #10: WSOP $1K NLHE Tag Team for $75,318 and Event #71: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship for $237,688 (~₹1.64 Crores), respectively.

Sushant, a former mentee of Aditya Agarwal, has been a great ambassador for poker in India. After winning the bracelet with Java in the $1,000 Tag Team event in 2017, Sushant came close to a second bracelet a few weeks later, finishing eighth in Event #66 $1,500 NLHE for $44,255. In 2018, Sushant placed ninth in the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE NLHE Championship for $20,969 (~₹14.35 Lakhs) for his third FT finish in a bracelet tournament.

 

Most Main Event Cashes

Dominating this category and by some margin in once again Aditya Agarwal. The former PokerStars India Team Pro has been a regular at the WSOP since 2006 and has made the annual pilgrimage to the mega-series for 14 years straight! While he has been eyeing the gold bracelet for well over a decade, he’s been consistently cashing in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event World Championship as well. With an incredible eight Main Event cashes, he is closing in on the current world record of 10 cashes presently held by Berry Johnston.*

Aditya Agarwal

 

The first time that Agarwal picked a score at the Main Event was in 2007, where he finished 450th for $29,883. The $96,445 (~₹66.85 Lakhs) that he won for his 71st place finish in 2015 is his best Main Event finish to date.

 

Deepest Main Event Run

Nishant Sharma was the biggest revelation at the 2018 WSOP as he went on to place 34th place out of a massive 7,874-player field in the $10,000 Main Event. This remains to date the deepest run by an Indian at the Main Event. In addition to the bragging rights, Sharma pocketed a life-changing $230,475 (~₹1.58 Crores) for his phenomenal deep run! The back-story to this win was equally inspiring. Sharma had won a Vegas package on 9stacks and converted that into the life-changing opportunity!

Nishant Sharma

 

While a top 100 finish in the Main Event was a distinction that only Aditya Agarwal (2015 WSOP – 71st for 96,445 – ₹66.85 Lakhs) enjoyed till then, the same year, Vivek Rughani (88th for $77,695 – ₹53.48 Lakhs) also joined this elite list.

Agarwal’s protégé and PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved (128th for $57,010 – ₹39.24 Lakhs) was another standout performer at the 2018 WSOP Main Event. He did even better the next year as he finished 51st for a whopping $173,015 (~₹1.18 Crores)!

Online Rankings

i Top Ranked Poker Players in India
Member Won
Member Won
Member Won
₹4,18,39,447
₹4,07,78,397
₹3,68,00,012
₹3,39,00,034
₹3,15,85,132
₹3,03,02,711
₹2,95,26,269
₹2,90,50,060
₹2,80,07,290
₹2,75,81,973
Member Profit
Member Profit
Member Profit
₹2,06,06,233
₹1,77,73,841
₹1,44,36,560
₹1,36,53,335
₹1,32,25,912
₹1,27,70,543
₹1,25,75,294
₹1,22,49,511
₹1,22,16,904
₹1,08,46,997
Member Points
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78,554
76,173
76,044
75,671
69,900
64,003
63,857
60,307
60,219
58,872

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