This Week in Poker: January 30 – February 5

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  • Attreyee K. Ganguly February 5, 2019
  • 8 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

The global poker community seems to be thriving in the new year and as we step into the second month, let us take a look back at all the interesting things that happened this past week.

Two very popular live stops came to a close last week. The 2019 Aussie Millions concluded on February 4 and Indian challengers Vinod Megalmani and 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Aditya Sushant posted a total of three scores between themselves at the stop. In fact, Sushant was the only Indian from a battalion of five contenders, who participated in the A$10,600 Main Event, who made it in the money as he finished 87th for A$15,600 (₹8.07 Lakhs). The Main Event was eventually won by American pro and former WSOP champion Bryan Kenney for A$1,272,598, following a three-way deal with Mike Del Vecchio (runner-up for A$1,272,162) and Andrew Hinrichsen (3rd for A$1,097,739).

The 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open (WPO) was another popular series that is now on a 5-week long sabbatical as the $3 Million GTD WPT Championship Event is yet to declare a winner. Play was halted on the six-handed final table where Dave Farah is the chip leader and action will now resume on March 13 at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal was the lone Indian present in the event and he even managed to progress to Day 2 in the event before hitting the rail short of the money line.

The 2019 Asian Poker Tour (APT) Japan kicked off on February 1 and the first three events were won by Go Mori and Jin Bo. Meanwhile, the Okada Manila Millions is also underway with the first event on its schedule, i.e. the NLH Deepstack (₱200,000 Guarantee).

The virtual felts saw some intense and electrifying action as ‘dilbaghsingh’ took down the BSS SuperStack ₹25 Lakh GTD on India’s most trusted poker site, PokerBaazi, and banked ₹5.12 Lakhs in prize money. Pranay aankhdikhatahai Chawla was right on his coattails as he clinched the title in PokerStars India’s Sunday Special ₹15 Lakhs GTD for ₹3.24 Lakhs. However, the player who stole the show was Team PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik ‘TheInternetKid’ Ved.  Ved booked his seat at the 2019 European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi Main Event by winning an all-expenses paid package to the event through the EPT Sochi Qualifier hosted on PokerStars India. For this win, Ved is our “PokerGuru Star of the Week” and he is the second Team PokerGuru Ambassador to have won this package. Tathagatha Sengupta had won this very same qualifier last week.

Additionally, two new fantasy sports websites were launched in the domestic market, Play Games 24X7’s ‘My11Circle’ and Sugal & Damani Group’s ‘KhelChamps’.

While the online domestic front seems to be on the up-and-up, the international circuit too has many new developments in the pipeline. Phil Galfond‘s eagerly-awaited poker site, Run It Once, has finally announced its ‘Public Beta’ launch for February 6. PokerStars too had a few new updates up its sleeves. The online poker giant recently revamped its third-party tools and services policy, as a consequence automated seating scripts will be banned on the site starting March 1. Moreover, the brand also announced that it will be shortening the time banks to speed up cash game action applying to both regular ring games and zoom games, effective from February 5.

With the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announcing the complete schedule of its 50th anniversary special, the poker fraternity will be gearing up for year full of exciting poker action, especially with other stops like the 888poker LIVE London Kickoff 2019 (February 7-10), partypoker Grand Prix, Rozvadov (February 14-27) and European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi (March 2-029) coming up.

Meanwhile, local poker fans can look forward to the upcoming 2019 Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) February Edition which will kick-off on February 7 onboard the floating Casino Deltin Royale in Goa.

We wrap up this week’s recap with tournament reports from APT Japan, Aussie Millions, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica and WSOP Circuit Potawatomi.


Online Railbird Report

Team PokerGuru Ambassadors set a trailblazing path this past week and Kartik ‘TheInternetKid’ Ved made headlines by punching his ticket to the 2019 European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi Main Event! Ved bested 54 entries and defeated Ukiie ‘Irrraiser’ Somaiya heads-up to win the ₹4 Lakhs package and for this he is our “PokerGuru Star of the Week”

Kartik Ved

Other notable scores of the week are –

dilbaghsingh’ won ₹5.12 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘BSS SuperStack ₹25 Lakh GTD’

Pranay ‘aankhdikhatahai’ Chawla won ₹3.24 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Special – Progressive KO, ₹5,000 NLHE, ₹15 Lakhs GTD’

‘Apocalypto’ won ₹1.07 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘BSS PLO 5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

Lakh ‘boomtlt23’ Pal Singh won ₹1.07 Lakhs for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘BSS MegaStack ₹5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

Anik’ EagleSong’ Ajmera won ₹98,741 for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘The Monster 6-Max ₹5 Lakhs GTD (RE)’

Shubham ‘AK47_’ Madheishia won ₹47,190 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Dynamite’

‘vinaash’ won ₹45,297 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Stars – ₹2,500 NLHE ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

Sanjay ‘zeus’ Kandampully won ₹36,000 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Grenade’

Pranav ‘dak0o’ Bang won ₹34,392 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘The Classic ₹1,500 NLHE ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

 ‘animesh624’ won ₹31,072 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Storm – ₹300 NLHE (6-Max), ₹2 Lakhs GTD’

‘babadookdook777’ won ₹26,512 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Sunday Warm-Up ₹1,100 NLHE ₹1.5 Lakhs GTD’

‘500 FOX’ won ₹23,550 for 1st place in the PokerStars India ‘Ultrasonic ₹1 Lakh GTD’

‘thumkhi’ won ₹20,042 for 1st place in the PokerBaazi ‘Sunday ₹1 Lakh GTD’

‘fishingpro’ won ₹12,506 for 1st place in the MadOverPoker ‘Night Crawler’


PokerStars Bans Seating Scripts

PokerStars recently revamped its third-party tools and services policy, and as a result automated seating scripts will be banned on the site starting March 1. Any software that simplifies the user’s table-selections or notifies users when a specific player sits at a table will be prohibited.

Read the complete story here


PokerStars Introduces Shorter Time Banks

After announcing the ban on seating scripts, PokerStars is now shortening the time banks to speed up cash game action applying to both regular ring games and zoom games, effective from February 5. This change will not affect tournaments and other game types for now.

Read the complete story here


Phil Galfond Backed Run It Once’s ‘Public Beta’ Launch on February 6

This past week, Run It Once (RIO) founder Phil Galfond made the public announcement that the much-awaited Run It Once (RIO) poker platform will open for a ‘public beta’ launch on February 6. The site will launch with 6-max NLHE and PLO tables and will remain in the ‘public beta’ mode until the platform is nearly flawless.

Run It Once Cover

Read the complete story here


partypoker Introduces Diamond Club Elite

partypoker has expanded its existing VIP program by launching an all-new ‘Diamond Club Elite’ to award the site’s top raking players. Under the club, from February 1, players who opt-in for the program and contribute at least $200,000 in rake over a year-long period will be rewarded with up to 60% cashback.

partypoker Diamond Club Elite

Read the complete story here


2 New Fantasy Sports Websites Launched in India

The Indian fantasy sports industry saw two new entrants as Play Games 24X7 launched ‘My11Circle’, and lottery conglomerate Sugal & Damani Group, announced its all-new fantasy gaming platform, ‘KhelChamps’.

Fantasy Sports sites

Read the complete story here


Paytm Launches Free-to-Play Rummy & Fantasy Games

Taking its first steps in the gaming domain, Paytm launched rummy and fantasy games on its mobile app which are operated by gaming company Gamepind. The platform currently offers an array of daily fantasy games for cricket, football and kabaddi and are not for real-money at the moment.


Read the complete story here


Betfair Stops Services For Punters in India

Indian punters were in for a major setback as Betfair announced that it was discontinuing services in India. The company emailed its Indian users informing that from January 28, users from India will not be able to access their website and asked Indian residents to withdraw their funds.

Read the complete story here


Goa’s Tourism Master Plan Doesn’t Envisage New Casinos

The debacles in Goa’s casino industry continues as the recently tabled Tourism Master Plan by the Goa government left out provisions envisaging the establishment of new casinos. The State Tourism Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar told the state legislative assembly that the upcoming draft plan doesn’t envision new casinos in the state.

Read the complete story here


51 Arrested in Illegal Casino Bust in Delhi

The Delhi police recently raided and busted a casino that was functioning from Le Castle Micasa Resort located on the GT Karnal Road, Alipur. The police arrested 51 people including five women and seized chips valued at ₹49 Lakhs along with stake money totaling ₹5.4 Lakhs. The Crime Branch is interrogating the arrested people and further investigations are still ongoing. 

Read the complete story here


WSOP Announces Complete Schedule For 50th Anniversary Special Series

This year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) is going to be extra special since it is the brand’s 50thAnniversary. The premier tournament brand has unveiled a packed schedule featuring 73 events along with seven added events including the $600 Deepstack Championship and the $500 Salute to Warriors. A plethora of $600 and $800 buy-in events have also been added to this year`s roster.

WSOP Cover Image

Read the complete story here


PokerStars Announces 2019 Poker Schedule For Asia

This past week, PokerStars announced the schedule of poker stops in the Asia-Pacific region this year with details of two flagship events namely APPT Korea and APPT Manila along with two smaller festivals i.e. Okada Millions and Manila Megastack.

Read the complete story here


PokerStars Announces Dates & Key Events For EPT Barcelona

PokerStars also made the announcement of dates of the popular European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona. The EPT Barcelona will run from August 20 to September 1, starting from the prelims and will feature a Main Event and a High Roller along with the hugely popular €1,100 EPT National event.

Read the complete story here


The Stars Group Discreetly Conducted Merger Talks With Paddy Power Betfair

According to recent reports, late last year, The Stars Group was in discreet talks with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair regarding a possible merger which would have created the company worth £8.4 Billion. Both companies have neither confirmed nor denied the rumoured talks.

Stars Group & Paddy Power Betfair

Read the complete story here


Paddy Power Betfair Expands in Georgia

Last week, Paddy Power Betfair acquired 51% stake in Georgia’s biggest online gaming firm, Adjarabet in a deal worth £101 Million. Adjarabet holds 40% share of the gambling market in Georgia and offers iGaming products, online poker, sports betting and an exchange where gamers can bet against each other.

Paddy Power Betfair

Read the complete story here


Sheldon Adelson Gives $500K to Trump Aides’ Legal Aid

Sheldon Adelson recently donated nearly half a million dollars to help U.S. President Donald Trump’s aides caught up in a legal probe. Adelson, who owns Las Vegas Sands, contributed $500,000 jointly with his wife to the Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust which was set up to help Trump associates.

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

Read the complete story here


APT Japan 2019

The second stop on the 2019 Asian Poker Tour (APT) roster is the APT Japan that kicked off at Casino Stadium in Tokyo on February 1. The stop played out three events over the weekend. While the Kickoff event featuring a JPY 10,000 buy-in attracted a total of 46 entrants and was taken down by tour regular Go Mori, China’s Jin Bo claimed two back-to-back wins in the two other events. He first took down the two-day NLHE 1 that saw 46 hopefuls entering the field. Bo then went on to win the NLHE Turbo, outlasting 32 other competitors.

Jin Bo
Jin Bo

Since APT Japan does not award cash prizes, Mori won a ticket to the 2019 APT Philippines Main Event worth JPY 120,000, along with a four-night hotel stay worth JPY 40,000, while Bo won two tickets to the APT Philippines Main Event.

The JPY 30K Main Event played out its two starting flights and saw a total of 118 runners (Day 1A -52, Day 1B -65), only 32 of which made it further. Masahiro Kikuchi (199,000) who topped the 19 survivors from Day 1B holds the overall chip lead. The series has halted for the next five and action will resume on February 8. With the third flight of the Main Event to kick off on November 9, participation numbers are expected to grow in the event.

Masahiro Kikuchi
Masahiro Kikuchi

Read the complete story here


2019 Aussie Millions

Starting from January 15, the Crown Casino in Melbourne played host to one of the biggest poker festivals of the Southern Hemisphere, the 2019 Aussie Millions. Comprising of 23 tournaments, the series witnessed mind-boggling action from some of the best in the business.

The most-popular event at the series was the A$10,600 Main Event which attracted a record-breaking 822 entry field and was taken down by former WSOP bracelet winner Bryan Kenney for A$1,272,598. The final week also saw Cary Katz win the A$100K Challenge for A$1,481,760.

Bryn Kenney
Bryn Kenney

Read the complete story here

Team India had a decent showing at the series with two Indian pros, Vinod Megalmani and 2017 WSOP bracelet winner Aditya Sushant, registering three scores between themselves.

Megalmani opened the Indian scorecard in the A$1,150 Terminator where he finished fifth for A$13,485 (₹6.87 Lakhs). Sushant picked up a score in the A$1,150 Hyper Turbo finishing 25th for A$2,410 (₹1.22 Lakhs).

Vinod Megalmani
Vinod Megalmani

Sushant was also seen in action in the Main Event where he was the only challenger along a group of five Indians, namely 2019 APT Vietnam Main Event winner Abhinav Iyer, Raghav Bansal, Paawan Bansal and Megalmani, to post a score. Sushant finished 87th for A$15,600 (₹8.07 Lakhs).

Aditya Sushant
Aditya Sushant

Read the complete story here

The closing event of the series was the A$25K PLO which was shipped by Germany’s Anton Morgenstern for A$530,640.

Anton Morgenstern
Anton Morgenstern

2019 Aussie Millions Winners

Event NamePlayer NamePrize Money
A$1,150 Terminator
Ioannis Konstas-Angelou
A$1,150 Hyper Turbo
Michel Bouskila
A$1,150 Accumulator
Vincent Huang
A$2,000 Bounty
Luis Arrilucea
A$25,000 Challenge
Rainer Kempe
A$2,500 8-Game
Michael Gathy
A$1,150 Six-Max
Bart Lybaert
A$2,500 H.O.R.S.E
Daneil Mayoh
A$1,150 Opening Event
Muhammad Asad
A$1,150 Shootout
Justin Liberto
A$1,150 PLO
Paul Hockin
Ari Engel
A$1,150 Six-MaxBart Lybaert A$124,355
A$2,500 8-GameMichael GathyA$58,590
A$25,000 ChallengeRainer KempeA$826,465
A$1,150 AccumulatorVincent HuangA$139,070
A$2,000 BountyLuis ArriluceaA$137,575
A$1,150 TerminatorIoannis Angelou-KonstasA$59,695
A$1,150 Hyper TurboMichel BouskilaA$80,930
A$50,000 ChallengeToby LewisA$818,054
A$100K ChallengeCary KatzA$1,481,760
A$10,600 Main EvenBryn KenneyA$1,272,598
A$25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit OmahaAnton MorgensternA$530,640


2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

The 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open (WPO) pulled in a lot of well-known and familiar faces to the Borgata Hotel and Spa in Atlantic City. Out of the 23 events that were slated to play out over the course of 18 days, 22 have already crowned winners. The star attraction of the series, i.e. the $3 Million GTD WPT Championship Event was halted at the six-handed final table and is now on a five-week sabbatical. Play will resume of March 13, when the six finalists, led by Dave Farah, will return to the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, as part of televised coverage.

Dave Farah
Dave Farah

India’s poker pioneer and PokerStars Team pro Aditya Agarwal was the lone Indian representative in the Championship Event. He made the cut for Day 2 with a workable stack of 89,600 but hit the rail before the money bubble.

Aditya Agarwal
Aditya Agarwal

Read the complete story here

The final three events of the series were won by Spencer Sweisford ($300 Deeper Stack NLH for $51,636), Jean ‘Prince’ Gaspard ($230 Deeper Stack NLH for $18,441) and Mike Dichiard ($300 Deepest Stack NLH for $11,180).

2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open (WPO) Winner

EventWinner NamePrize Money
Borgata Deepstack Kickoff NLHE (Re-Entry) Pascal Zaklama $328,695
$340 Pot Limit Omaha (High)Tommy Tran $10,128
$350 Saturday Series Deep Stack NLHMike Collette $28,670
$560 Super Survivor NLH James Moore & 30 Other Players$5,000
$340 Seniors Deep Stack NLHBarry Leventhal $12,447
$230 Deeper Stack NLHKyle Yen$9,113
$340 Super Survivor NLH (Re-Entry)Spencer Champlin & 14 Other Players$3,000
$300 Deepest Stack Double Header NLHRalph Macri $50,000
$450 Almighty Stack NLHRaj Desai$175,429
$560 HORSEDaniel Hofer$13,000
$1,090 Six Max NLHJosh Bergman$77,946
$400 Saturday Series NLHSoheb Porbandarwala$52,081
$120 Ladies Deep Stack NLHAlida Veliu$3,325
$1,590 Heads-Up NLHPhil Hellmuth$37,248
CSOP Charity NLH TournamentKujdes Gagliardi$500 CSOP St. Jude Seat, a $300 Reception ticket and entry into the $3,500 BWPO $3,000,000 Guaranteed NLH event
$330 Black Chip Bounty Deep Stack NLHDeric Williams$10,401
$1,260 Double Black Chip Bounty 8-Max Semi-Turbo NLHAnonymous$32,931
$300 Deeper Stack NLHSpencer Sweisford$51,636
$230 Deeper Stack NLHJean ‘Prince’ Gaspard$18,441
$300 Deepest Stack NLHMike Dichaird$11,180


Kyle Cartwright Wins 2019 WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica Main Event

The 2019 WSOPC Horseshoe Tunica $1,700 Main Event drew a huge field of 639 entries. Clinching his eighth WSOP Circuit ring was Kyle Cartwright who defeated Steve Klein heads-up to claim $198,451 in prize money. Cartwright also won a seat into the 2019 Global Casino Championship.

Kyle Cartwright
Kyle Cartwright

Read the complete story here


Boulos Estafanous Ships the 2019 WSOP Circuit Potawatomi Double Stack

The 2019 World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Potawatomi saw its opening event crown a winner in Boulos Estafanous who shipped the $400 NLHE Double Stack for $23,809. The event attracted 307 runners generating $101,310 in prize money that was divided among the top 33 finishers.

Boulos Estafanous
Boulos Estafanous

Read the complete story here


Randall Hale Takes Down the 2019 WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica $250 NLHE Double Stack

Cash game player Randall Hale won the closing event at the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica i.e. the $250 NLHE Double Stack to claim his first-ever WSOPC gold ring and the first-place prize of $12,447. Hale topped the 254-strong entry field and defeated Randall Davenport in the heads-up match.

Randall Hale
Randall Hale

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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