This Monday Motivation post, though inspiring, is also bittersweet. Young Gun Neel Joshi came within striking distance to clinching his career-first WSOP gold bracelet in Event #86: $1K Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em. He ultimately fell out in third place for a career-best $72,031 (~₹53.58 Lakhs). Even though this is Joshi’s career-best live score, his overall personal-best score is still his second-place finish in PokerBaazi’s inaugural ₹5 Crores GTD EndBoss last year.
Coming just five days after India’s poker pioneer Aditya Agarwal`s runner-up finish in Event #76: $10K Super Turbo Bounty, Joshi did exceptionally well to make the final table of a WSOP live bracelet tournament in just his second time attending the mega-series.
While Joshi could not extend India’s four-year-long streak of winning a gold bracelet at the annual series, his third-place finish is also the third-best score by an Indian at this year’s series. Agarwal’s runner-up finish in $10K Super Turbo Bounty is the highest score posted by Team India, followed by Abhinav Iyer’s 60th place finish in the WSOP Main Event.
Team India has to date secured six bracelets, with two of them won by our Young Guns – Aditya Sushant in 2017 and Abhinav Iyer in 2019. Joshi came close to becoming the third Young Gun to win a bracelet before falling two places shy of grabbing the honors.
When we had interviewed the young lad in October last year, he had shared his poker journey, telling us how he discovered poker while studying at BITS Pilani. The educational institution’s relaxed attitude towards attendance and his hostel’s thriving poker culture fueled Joshi’s passion for the game. His success on the virtual felts also overflowed into live poker, with a litany of scores coming in from domestic stops like DPT, BPT, and IPC.
Speaking of his most recent stellar run in the Super Turbo NLHE, Joshi was in dominating form on the final table of the 15-hour long tournament. The 24-year-old was placed third in stacks (1.72 Million), with just 18 players left in the fray. When the field dwindled to the unofficial ten-handed final table, Joshi held the fourth-largest stack (1.91 Million).
Given the structure of the Super Turbo tourneys, Joshi `s FT journey was also swingy. The Pune-based pro got lucky against Andrew Wilson’s pocket aces to claim the chip lead early on, but soon after, he lost almost half his stack to two-time bracelet winner Yuval Bronshtein.
Joshi bounced back to grab the chip lead with just five players remaining. However, he could not extend his stay at the final table for long, ultimately walking out in third place.
The chemical engineering graduate now boasts $118,652 (~₹88.18 Lakhs) in live tournament earnings. Meanwhile, his online tracked winnings have touched ₹4.63 Crores, with ₹1.66 Crores in corresponding profits.
Needless to say, we are very proud of Neel Joshi’s performance at the 2021 WSOP, and we hope to see many more deep runs for him in the future, and hopefully, even a bracelet!