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The highly anticipated and much-awaited Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL) concluded their inaugural season after two-days of action-packed poker at the Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai yesterday. The electric atmosphere was similar to what one would experience at any National Sporting Championship, with palpable excitement, tension and a whole lot of pride on the line.
Match IPL promoted by Raj and Shipa Shetty Kundra’s Viaan Industries Ltd., along with the International Federation of Poker (IFP), is a first-of-a-kind regulated sports poker tournament, approved and backed by both the IFP and the Indian Federation.
The format is a true sporting one where players compete on behalf of a team and battle for points and not money. The competition was played electronically on a computer app where registered players play representing their team, against others and the team with the highest points at the end of the stipulated rounds wins.
The seven teams representing different cities from across the country spent two intense days competing for prize money totaling ₹2.5 crores with the winning team getting the chance to represent India at the Match Poker World Cup to be held in Oxford, England next month.
A total of 200 hands (100 hands each day) were played in eight sessions over two days, with Harman Baweja’s start studded Mumbai All Stars in the lead at the close of Day 1.
The team boasted a glamorous lineup that included team owner Baweja, Nikunj Jhunjhunwala, Abhishek Jalan, Sacheen Ramchandani, Pratibha Arya, Ronak Gidwani, Anita Hassandani Reddy, Jagdeep Singh, Siddharth Anand and Keenan Tham.
As the second day progressed it became evident that this was going to go down to the wire as teams moved up and down the leaderboard with a manic sense of purpose.
Finally, at the end of the Day 2, Team Mumbai All Stars showed that a right mix of skill, strategy and a deep understanding of this mind sport can take you all the way to the chequered flag, as it became the first-ever Match Indian Poker League Champions, narrowly beating Aditya Agarwal’s Jaipur Jewels & Yatin Gupta’s Ahmedabad Hearts at second and third place respectively.
Needless to say, pandemonium broke loose once the final hand was played as Team Mumbai in their black jerseys erupted into wild cheers and a spontaneous team hug after having secured the cherished win in the inaugural season. The team was awarded with the top prize of ₹1.25 crores while Jaipur Jewels won ₹75 Lakhs and Ahmedabad Hearts banked ₹50 lakhs.
— Match IPL (@matchIPL) November 18, 2017
Actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra added to the glamour and excitement as she handed over the imposing shimmering trophy to the winners along with the prize money cheques to the top three teams.
Raj and Shilpa Shetty Kundra
To make the celebrations even sweeter, Moksh Sani, MD of Living Liquidz and co-owner of the Goa Kings team, gifted the winners an extremely rare bottle of Johnnie Walker Odyssey, a premium spirit, and collector's item. Jaipur Jewels owner Aditya Agarwal was crowned the player of the series!
Once the serious business was concluded, everyone was ready to let their hair down and party. Theory at Kamala Mills was the venue for a star-studded after-party that saw the likes of Shamita Shetty, Sonal Chauhan, Sanjeeda Shaikh, Aamir Ali, Kunal Kohli, Harman Baweja, Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Anita Hassanandani Reddy in attendance. It was truly a night to remember as the party continued till the morning, with no shortage of good company, music or beverages from event partner Living Liquidz.