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The last two weeks have witnessed electrifying live-action in Goa with back-to-back stops. Capping off the busy season was PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Munot (cover image), who came out on top of a field of 630 entries to win the World Poker Tour (WPT) India Main Event at the floating Casino Deltin Royale in Goa on Monday. The three-day marathon run saw Munot take home a career-best ₹63.48* Lakhs in prize money and his second live title!
Final Table Results (INR)
*denotes a $3,500 WPT Passport
The fifth leg of the WPT Season XVIII Asia Swing, WPT India, put up a smashing series for the Indian poker circuit. The handiwork of Danny McDonagh and supported by an experienced team at Deltin Royale, the WPT India, has set the standard for live poker tournaments in the country. The last two editions for the tour have been record-breaking, but this time there was a noticeable fall in numbers given the increasing competition with both the IPC and BPT hosting comeback events just before the WPT India.
Nevertheless, WPT came out all guns blazing with a never-before-seen Main Event guarantee of a colossal ₹3.25 Crores for its India stop. The players reciprocated as a total of 630 entries were clocked in over three starting flights to make for a total prize pool collection of ₹3.28 Crores, second only to last year’s WPT India Main Event record of ₹3.62 Crores.
Two hundred and eight players (two players had bagged twice and hence carried the best stack forward) entered Day 2 eyeing a spot on the nine-handed final table. Seventy-nine players were to finish in-the-money, and the money bubble burst in the sixth level of the night. The last player to fall out empty-handed was Sameer Chaturvedi.
With Chaturvedi’s ouster, the remaining 79 players were all in the money and assured to take home at least ₹79,865.
The first player to score an ITM finish was Abhishek Goindi (79th for ₹79,865), with 2017 WPT India Main Event champion Vikash Mantri (78th for ₹79,865) following suit shortly afterward.
Soon bigwigs like Sahil Agarwal (50th for ₹1.26 Lakhs), PokerGuru Ambassador Tathagata Sengupta (56th for ₹1.09 Lakhs), BPT Big Bounty champion Gokul Krishna (57th for ₹1.09 Lakhs), PokerStars India Team Pro Muskan Sethi (62nd for ₹1.09 Lakhs), Prabhat Mukherjea (70th for ₹94,535), and Young Gun Arsh Grover (74th for ₹79,865) hit the rail – all in quick succession.
2018 WPT Vietnam Main Event champion Dhaval Mudgal (44th for ₹1.44 Lakhs) was eliminated after his pocket deuces got coolered by Gaurav Chauhan’s pocket fives that held through the board. As play progressed, many others fell out before the final table and this included notables like IPC Main Event champion Raj Talwar (15th for ₹4.06 Lakhs), Day 1A chip leader Bhavdeepsingh Rana Jhala (16th for ₹3.39 Lakhs), Samay Parikh (18th for ₹3.39 Lakhs), Rubin Labroo (20th for ₹2.85 Lakhs), BPT High Roller runner-up finisher Ankit Wadhawan (22nd for ₹2.37 Lakhs), Sahil Chuttani (32nd for ₹1.67 Lakhs), defending champion Nikunj Jhunjhunwala (35th for ₹1.67 Lakhs), Raghav Bansal (46th for ₹1.26 Lakhs), Gagandeep Malik (48th for ₹1.26 Lakhs) and Kanishka Upreti (49th for ₹1.26 Lakhs).
PokerGuru Ambassador Gokul Raj (12th for ₹5.09 Lakhs), Anil Adiani (13th for ₹4.06 Lakhs), and Eka Vedantham (14th for ₹4.06 Lakhs) fell whiskers short of the final table. With the departure of Manoj Singh (10th for ₹5.09 Lakhs), the nine-handed final table was redrawn.
Munot entered the final table second in chips behind Jai Saha, who held a commanding chip lead. The rest of the finalists were an eclectic mix of pros and relative newcomers, with most of them making their first final table appearance.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
Early on in the day, Rajeev Kanjani doubled up through Simuli Sipila with his ace-jack holding on against the latter’s ace-eight.
Soon, Shardul Parthasarathi, who’d become short-stacked, became the first casualty on the final table. Parthasarathi’s preflop all-in shove for 270,000 was called by Jai Saha. Parthasarathi’s were trailing Saha’s and with the runout not bringing any ace or king, Parthasarathi was eliminated in ninth place.
Less than 30 minutes later, Yash Punjawat moved all-in with and picked up two callers – Ashish Munot in the cutoff with and Yuvraj Chaudhary in the small blind with . The board ran , and Chaudhary’s king-pair won him a massive pot while Punjawat was relegated to the rail in eighth place.
Chaudhary put those chips to use by taking out Nishant Sharma next. Sharma moved all-in for 1.3 Million with , and Chaudhary looked him up with . The community cards opened , and once again, Chaudhary’s king-pair won him the pot while Sharma was eliminated in seventh place.
By then, Munot, who had entered the final table in the second chip lead, had maneuvered his way into the chip lead. Kanjani was another player who was doing well on the final table. Soon after Sharma’s exit, Kanjani doubled up via Samuli Sipila for the second time with his ace-jack holding up against the latter’s ace-eight.
Around 40 minutes after Sharma’s departure, Sahil Nair announced all-in for 550,000 with , and Kanjani woke up with . The board ran , completing a full house for Kanjani and ending Nair’s dream run in sixth place.
Eliminations seemed to be coming swiftly, and minutes after Nair left the final table, Finland’s Samuli Sipila was sent packing. Sipila moved all-in for 200,000 with and needed help against Kanjani’s . The board improved Kanjani to two-pair, eliminating Sipila in fifth place.
Despite scoring two eliminations in a row, Rajeev Kanjani was bordering along the shorter end of the chip counts. He got a much-needed double-up from Chaudhary but got extremely unlucky to bust to the eventual champion. On his final hand of the tournament, Kanjani jammed for 1.7 million with , and Munot made the call with . The board favored Munot, who completed a seven-high straight on the river, eliminating Kanjani in fourth place.
Down to three-handed play, Munot raked in a huge pot worth 4.6 Million against Jai Saha with a flopped king-high straight to climb into the chip lead with a commanding 55 big blinds as against Saha’s 26 big blinds and Chaudhary’s 11 big blinds.
Chaudhary, who was the shortest stack of the three remaining players, made a move, and it worked as he squeezed out a double-up through Jai Saha. Left with only 2.72 Million, Saha moved all-in from the button in the next hand, turning over . Chaudhary called from the small blind with . The board panned out , and Chaudhary’s jack-high kicker was enough to eliminate Saha. The start-of-day chip leader left the table to collect a third-place paycheque.
The heads-up match between Munot and Yuvraj Chaudhary was a swingy battle that saw the chip lead exchanging hands a few times. Though Munot had a good headstart holding 11 Million (55 BBs) a reasonable distance ahead of Chaudhary’s 7.675 Million (38 BBs), the latter took down a pot early on to surge ahead. Munot, however, fought back to close the gap. The duo jostled over the next few hands before Munot pulled ahead with his pocket nines dominating the latter’s fives.
The last hand of the tournament was just as nerve-wracking and began with Munot open-raising to 550,000 on which Chaudhary moved all-in from the big blind for 5.575 Million. Munot made the call, and the cards were tabled.
Chaudhary seemed comfortably ahead through the flop and the turn, but the fifth street brought the , springing Munot ahead with a set of tens. And just like that, Munot’s tens won him the hand and the prestigious WPT title along with a personal-best ₹63.48 Lakhs in prize money that includes a WPT passport worth $3,500!
Content & Images Courtesy: WPT & Online Poker News, India
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