This Week in Poker: January 2nd – January 8th

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  • Namita Ghosh January 8, 2019
  • 12 Minutes Read

In the PokerGuru feature ‘This Week in Poker’ we bring to you the weekly round-up of the biggest online scores by Indian MTT players along with the top stories from both the live and online poker circuit.

Here are this week’s top stories

2018 proved to be a landmark year for poker in India. In terms of growth and popularity, poker continued to reach new heights and now that we are just a week into the New Year, the future looks just as remarkable and promising.

After the holiday season through Christmas and New Year eve celebrations that saw a bit of a lull, action picked up over the first week of 2019. Setting the spirit of live tournament poker in the right direction was the much-awaited PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold ‘em Championship (PSPC) that kicked off at the Bahamas on January 5. Needless to say, anticipation for the event was steadily on the rise, as PokerStars kept handing out free Platinum Passes – 320 in all through various events, special challenges, special freerolls and the works all through last year. The PSPC is part of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) and the $25K buy-in event has lived up to its hype of being the most successful and biggest $25K tournament in the history of poker. What the grand, rake-free tournament has managed is to bring the world’s best and most talented poker pool on a single stage.  The PSPC has also kept the railbirds across the globe glued to exciting live tournament action.

As far as participation goes, the tournament set a new record for a $25k event, drawing in 1,039 entries that helped build a mammoth $26,455,500 prize pool. We saw a talented team of 10 Indian challengers gun through the event. Five of them – Kavin Shah, Aneesh Nair, Raman Gujral, Vivek Singh and Saurabh Sindhwani won their way into the PSPC by winning the inaugural season of Global Poker League (GPL) India. Nikhil Segel won Team PokerStars pro Jamie Staples’#MyUltimateSweatChallenge, and Sumit Sapra got his free Platinum Pass at the 2018 APPT Korea. Sharad Rao won his Platinum Pass in the freeroll event at the PokerStars India Diwali Rush ₹1.5 Crores GTD series in November, 2018. India’s poker veteran and Team PokerStars pro Aditya Agarwal as well as two-time bracelet winner Nipun Java were also seen in action.  Five of them, i.e. Agarwal, Segel, Gujral, Rao and Sindhwani advanced to Day 2 but unfortunately, here’s when Team India’s run ended. All the five Indians fell out of the event, while only 207 now remain in the field and will be returning to the felts on Day 3.  The money bubble is fast approaching in the event now, and 181 players will add to their bankrolls. Even though Team India’s run in the PSPC is over, several accomplished Indian pros are expected to stay back and play the other tournaments at the PCA, Agarwal being one of them.

Back in India, the domestic online sites were abuzz with activity. Giving an energetic and ambitious headstart to online action, fast growing online poker site 9stacks launched a major tournament series this past week, i.e. the HNY2019 with a total tournament prize pool of ₹1 Crore. The headline tournament of the series was the Sunday SLAM ₹30 Lakhs GTD that played out on Sunday and capturing the limelight was our “PokerGuru Star of the Week”, Sriharsha ‘G.O.A.T.’ Doddapaneni. Doddapaneni sailed through an 118-strong player field in the event to claim the title for ₹7.80 Lakhs.  We also saw Laksh ‘boomtlt123’ Pal Singh win the PokerBaazi ‘Baazi SuperStack (BSS) ₹25 Lakhs GTD’ for ₹5.09 Lakhs and ‘somzprash’ take down the BSS PLO ₹5 Lakhs GTD’ for ₹1.45 Lakhs.

Premier poker site, PokerBaazi has set a benchmark in terms of offering high-value tournaments for players. Continuing the momentum PokerBaazi made a big announcement this week as the site revealed plans for its upcoming tournament – the Game Changer. CEO of PokerBaazi Navkiran Singh speaking to PokerGuru revealed that the ₹2 Crore guaranteed online event will feature a multi-day format with three starting flights from February 20-22 and the final day slated for February 24. The event also promises ₹50 Lakhs to the winner.

The other big news over the week was of Nipun Java being declared as the Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year (POY) India. The world-renowned leaderboard index that ranks all tournament poker players disclosed its overall and regional rankings for 2018 and while poker couple Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell topped the overall 2018 GPI rankings in the mens and womens category respectively, Java topped the Indian rankings with the maximum score i.e. 1,782 points from 24 cashes.

Fresh gaming developments saw the Indian Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council hold its 32nd meeting and discuss the possibilities of lowering the GST rate on lotteries. The international gambling software firm Playtech has agreed to pay up $32.16 Million to Israel Tax Authority for tax owed from 2008 to 2017.

While the action will continue on the 2019 PCA right till January 16, PokerStars has also launched the online mini-PSPC with a modest buy-in of $25. Like the PSPC, the mini version will run through five days and is rake-free. Unfortunately, the offer is not open for Indians playing on the PokerStars India client.

Nonetheless, there is more thrilling action coming up, with the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Kickoff Vietnam 2019. The first of the APT tournament series begins on January 9 at Pro Poker Club, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The club has been a much-visited poker hotspot for Indian players and we can expect to see a number of Indians in the thick of action at the series.

Beyond Asia, there is the 2019 Aussie Millions Poker Championship to look forward to. Last year more than 7,500 poker players converged to participate in the series and this year, the Aussie Millions promises to be Asia-Pacific’s longest running poker tournament festival. We can hope to see a large Indian turnout at the series. The participation numbers have already got a big boost with a big number of players qualifying through the ‘Aussie100’ promotional campaign on 9stacks.

We sign off this week’s recap with tournament reports from Venetian $400 DeepStack Extravaganza V and partypoker €550 Grand Prix Gala.

Online Railbird Report

The biggest winner this past week was Sriharsha ‘G.O.A.T’ Doddapaneni, who topped the Sunday SLAM ₹30 Lakhs GTD event on 9stacks for ₹7.80 Lakhs. For this, Doddapaneni is our “PokerGuru Star of the Week”.

Sriharsha Doddapaneni
Sriharsha Doddapaneni

Other notable scores of the week include –

Laksh ‘boomtlt123’ Pal Singh won ₹5.09 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘Baazi SuperStack (BSS) ₹25 Lakhs GTD’

‘somzprash’won ₹1.45 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘Baazi SuperStack (BSS) PLO ₹5 Lakhs GTD’

‘Chennaino1’ won ₹1.40 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘Baazi SuperStack (BSS) MegaStack ₹5 Lakhs GTD’

 Sajjan ‘Sajjan007’ Barnwal won ₹3.50 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Special ₹15 Lakhs GTD’

[email protected]’ won ₹48,682 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Stars ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

‘IamUltron’ won ₹39,272 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Storm ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

‘SpidermanIndia’ won ₹35,132 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘The Classic ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

‘22AD82’ won ₹31,249 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Warm-up ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

Ashutost ‘TykerDurden’ Balodhi won ₹27,438 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Grenade’

‘shipit2daddy01’ won ₹26,842 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Dynamite’

‘ThatsItAllin’ won ₹18,048 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Supersonic ₹1 Lakh GTD’

‘1999chirag’won ₹17,850 for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘The Sunday ₹1 Lakh GTD’

Sunil ‘bababk’ Arora won ₹15,843 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Night Crawler’

Patrick Leonard Wins Over $110,000 on PokerStars

bitB Staking founder and partypoker ambassador Patrick ‘pads1161’Leonard posted two big scores on PokerStars amounting to over $110,000 last week. Leonard first shipped the $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $46,837 and then went on to finish runner up in the $530 No-Limit Hold’em of the Winter Series for $66,018.

Patrick Leonard
Patrick Leonard

Read the complete story here.

PokerStars Announces the Mini PSPC

The PokerStars Players NLHE Championship (PSPC) may have kept a lot of poker players on their toes for the sheer excitement and anticipation it has generated, but for those feeling left out of the $2K buy-in event, the gaming giant has announced the online version or mini-PSPC on its international client.

The mini PSPC follows the same format and structure as the PSPC but can be played into with $25 only. The online event kicked off on January 6 and will have a five-day run.

PokerStars PSPC

Read the complete story here. 

PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC)

The PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) hosted at the exotic Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas arrived this week. The event that is part of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) lived up to its hype as it set a new record for a $25K event with a massive 1,039 entries creating a jaw dropping prize pool of $26,455,500!

Two days of intense action saw the field shrink to 207. Colombia’s Farid Jattin bagged the chip lead after Day 2 (921,000), with Mustapha Kanit (888,000) and Griffin Benger (885,000) rounding up the top three stacks.

Farid Jattin
Farid Jattin

Team India was represented by a battalion of 10 challengers starting with the PSPC Platinum Pass winners Sumit SapraNikhil SegelKavin ShahRaman GujralSharad RaoVivek SinghSaurabh Sindhwani and Aneesh Nair, along with Team PokerStars pro Aditya Agarwal and two time WSOP bracelet winner Nipun Java. Rao (125,600), Segel (90,200), Agarwal (80,600), Gujral (69,600) and Sindhwani (65,500) managed to make it to Day 2 but all of them busted before the money bubble.

Sumit Sapra, Nikhil Segel, Kavin Shah, Raman Gujral, Sharad Rao, Vivek Singh, Saurabh Sindhwani & Aneesh Nair
Sumit Sapra, Nikhil Segel, Kavin Shah, Raman Gujral, Sharad Rao, Vivek Singh, Saurabh Sindhwani & Aneesh Nair

With all the Indians out of the PSPC, Team India’s chances at the PSPC title are over. The money bubble is expected to burst early on Day 3 and 181 spots will take home assured payouts. But for the eventual champion, it is not just going to be about the glory of winning one of the most talked-about poker tournaments in history but he or she will also bank a Life-changing $5.1 Million in prize money. This is the largest prize money to be ever given away in a PokerStars event.

Read the complete story here.

GST Council May Consider Reducing GST on Lotteries

In its 32nd meeting scheduled for January 10, the constitutional body GST Council may consider lowering the GST rate on lotteries.On December 22 last year, the council had rationalised the 28% tax slab and reduced rates on 23 goods and services. The next meeting will be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his state counterparts.

Read the complete story here.

Playtech to Pay $32 Million to Israel Tax Authority

This past week, Gambling software platform company Playtech plc. agreed to pay $32.16 Million to the Israel Tax Authority for tax owed between 2008 and 2017. The company confirmed that no fines were imposed by Israel and that the amount will be listed as an exceptional item in its 2018 books.

Playtech

Read the complete story here.

Nipun Java Tops 2018 GPI India POY Rankings

Poker power couple Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell had a remarkable 2018 and topped the overall 2018 Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings. Foxen was conferred with the Player of the Year (POY) title among the men, while Bicknell won the 2018 GPI POY in the women category.

The sole Indian to win two WSOP bracelets- Nipun Java topped the 2018 GPI POY India rankings after scoring 1,782 points (through 24 cashes).

Nipun Java
Nipun Java

Read the complete story here.

Genting HK to Buy Gaming Equipment

Gaming investment firm Genting Hong Kong recently renewed its agreement with FreeStyle Gaming PTE Ltd, which allows them to purchase electronic games equipment. The equipment will help diversify the games offered on their ships, attract a broader range of customers and help reduce manpower cost.

Genting HongKong

Read the complete story here.

Manig Loeser Wins Venetian $400 DeepStack Extravaganza V

This past week in Las Vegas the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza V series’ $400 Monster Stack event was taken down by Germany’s Manig Loeser. The event drew a huge field of 1,250 entrants, and Loeser banked the $74,323 top prize after defeating Eric Worre in the heads-up match.

Manig Loeser
Manig Loeser

Read the complete story here.

Denis Schneider Wins partypoker €550 Grand Prix Gala

The partypoker €550 Grand Prix Gala held at King’s Casino in Rozvadov was taken down by German pro Denis Schneider on New Year’s eveThe €500,000 GTD event attracted 652 entries (including 148 re-entries) with the top 89 places making it in the money. Schneider agreed to a four-way deal and won the top prize worth €75,243 along with the event trophy.

Denis Schneider
Denis Schneider

Read the complete story here.

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

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