Capitalizing on the growing demand for poker in India, one of the world’s biggest brand-World Poker Tour (WPT) recently hosted its first-ever WPT India series in partnership with India’s largest poker site-Adda52.com. The series took place from 7th to 13th November at India’s most luxurious floating casino-Deltin Royale Goa and proved a grand success, attracting massive participation with over 1400 entries, including 527 in Main Event alone. It drew a good mix of pros and players from domestic as well as international arena. Some well-known international pros who were seen in action included Daniel Weinman, Bryan Huang, Sam Panzica and Peter Chen. While hundreds of the prominent players entered the series, only a few could win titles. Here is a look at the big winners:
55K Main Event Winner Vikash Mantri – INR 60,30,000
The inaugural 55K WPT India Main Event running from 10th to 13th November was a grand success with a record-breaking field of 527 entries in total. While there were several pros and international players like Bryan Huang, Pete Chen and Daniel Weinman who were battling it out for the title, it was Vikash Mantri who took down event for a whopping INR 60,30,000 in top prize money. Mantri who started the final table as the chip leader kept his lead for the most part and emerged victorious after beating Arjun Arora in the heads-up who took home INR 39,47,000 for his runner-up finish.
Hailing from the city of Mumbai, Vikas has made several deep runs across Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) events. This jaw-dropping victory at WPT India Main Event was a huge addition to his existing poker resume and gave him his career’s best live cash. Before this win, Vikas had also finished 4th at DPT Main Event in November 2016, which gave him a hefty INR 483,000 for his efforts.
High Roller Winner Rajnish Kumar -INR 36,38,000
The100K High Roller, which took place between 9th to 10th November, attracted impressive 148 runners. The freezeout event playing out over 2 days ended with Rajnish Kumar from Patna emerging victorious. He defeated Rajesh Rajpopat in heads-up who took home INR 24,49,000.
This victory at this High Roller gave Kumar his career’s best live cash. Kumar is well known in the high stakes circuit and had even won the Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) High Roller in July this year. A high stakes cash game player, he travels across the country playing in the biggest poker events. It is no surprise that Kumar has signed as a team mentor of the Match IPL Team Jaipur Jewels.
Superstack NLH Winner Sundeep Tulsyan – INR 19,00,000
The second event on WPT India schedule was the 30K SuperStack, a re-entry event which ran from 8th to 9th November and drew 284 entries and it was Sandeep Tulsyan who emerged as the champion of the event. He defeated the well-known player Abhishek Jalan in the heads-up battle. Tulsyan took home INR 19,00,000, while Jalan settled for a prize of INR 12,53,000 for his second-place finish. Tulsyan started the final table at the bottom in chips but made his way to the top.
Again, Sandeep is one of the well-known poker players and has made several deep runs across Deltin Poker Poker Tournament (DPT) and other prestigious events taking place in India. This grand victory at INR 30K WPT India Superstack NLH was by far his biggest live cash and first-ever WPT title.
20K Kickoff Winner Kanishka Samant –INR 9,12,000
The opening event 20K Kickoff that took place on 7th November and drew a total of 195 entries making a prize pool of INR 36,87,840 which was distributed to top 22 players with a min-cash of INR 36,900. The event concluded with a Mumbai-based pro-Kanishka Samant taking down his first-ever WPT title for a hefty INR 9,12,000 in the top prize money. He defeated Srinivas B in heads-up who took home a cool INR 6,08,500 for his remarkable runner-up finish in this tournament.
A technical analyst in Equity Research from Mumbai, Kanishka Samant is no stranger to live poker tournaments. He has made several deep runs and final table finishes across various prestigious events. This grand win at 20K Kickoff added substantially to his $78,575 in live earnings.
Bounty NLH Winner Sameer Tavanandi – INR 5,47,000
Sameer Tavanandi took down the WPT India Bounty NLH, a 2-day event that took place from 12th to 13th November. The last day saw the intense heat building up, as this exciting event eventually concluded with Sameer Tavanandi topping the 128 runners. He took home INR 5.47 lacs for his 1st place finish after beating Eka Vedantham in heads-up who settled for INR 5.14 Lacs.
Hailing from the commercial city of Mumbai, Sameer is one of the well-respected players on domestic circuit with several deep runs across Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) events. This victory at WPT India Bounty NLH gave him his career’s best live cash. Before this, his best score was INR 160,000 ($ 2,377), which he scored last year when he finished 4th in DPT 15 Bounty 2016.
PLO Event Winner Deepak Bothra – INR 4,88,000
12th November saw the PLO enthusiasts showing off their skills at the inaugural World Poker Tour (WPT) India in 20K PLO event that attracted 86 entries. Outlasting them all was Deepak Bothra who beat Vidur Sethi in the heads-up battle to take home the title for the top prize of INR 4.88 Lacs.
Deepak Bothra from the city of Pune is no stranger to live tournaments. He has won and made several deep runs across various Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) events taking place at Deltin Royale Goa. It was Bothra’s best live cash. Before this win, his best live cash was $6,604 (approximately INR 4.42 Lacs), which he got at DPT Bounty in February this year after finishing in the 2nd place.
Deep Turbo NLH Winner Rahul Melwani – INR 4,20,000
Closing out the inaugural WPT India series was the 20K Deep Turbo NLH that attracted a total of 111 entries with the top 12 places making it in the money. Besting the field in this event was Rahul Melwani who took home INR 4.20 Lacs top prize money. He defeated the well-known Rajat Sharma in heads-up battle who settled for 3.20 Lacs in prizemoney for his remarkable runner-up finish.
For Ruhul from the silicon city of Bangalore, it was his career’s best live cash by far. He is one of the well-known players in Indian poker circuit. He travels to various parts of the world to play in some of the most prestigious poker tournaments. He has made several deep runs across Asian Poker Series (APT), Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) and World Poker Tour (WPT) events.
SHIP IT NLH Winner Neeta Banker -INR 1,32,384
WPT India series had a unique event INR 7K Buy-in SHP IT NLH on its schedule. The event that took place on 11th November featured a unique format wherein each player began with a stack of 1,200 for the first round and got a 10,000 stack for the final round 2. Beating the lot in this event was Neeta Banker who defeated Abhishek Jalan in the heads-up to clinch the title for INR 1.32 Lacs.
Neeta is a recreational poker player and travels to various parts of India to take part in poker tournaments and cash games. For Jalan, it was second runner-up finish of the WPT India series as he had earlier finished second best in the WPT India SuperStack NLH event for a hefty INR 12.53 Lacs.
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