As many as 8 Indians won the $30,000 Platinum Pass from PokerStars and hence became eligible to take part in the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) for their chance to win from a $25+ million prize pool. However, none of them cashed in the inaugural tournament, which turned out to be the largest $25k buy-in tournament in the poker history. After bricking out the PSPC event, a few Indians then decided to take part in other events at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) series.
One of these Platinum Pass winners was our cash game expert Raman Gujral, who could not cash out in the $25k PSPC tournament, like his other fellow Indians. However, he did not give up and went on to take part in other tournaments of the ongoing 2019 PCA series and eventually became the first Indian to post a score when he finished 62nd in the PCA $1,100 National for $2,340 (INR 1.64 Lac).
Gujral is back in the news and this time for winning the 2019 PCA Event #32: $1,100 NLHE for $76,760 (INR 54.64 Lac). This win is his first international title and also his career-best score for Gujral, who posted his first win in May 2012 when he had won the INR 5K NLH Event at the PokerGuru Tour Season 2. His first formal live tournament was the $500 + 50 NLH event at the 2007 Asian Poker Classic in Goa where he finished 9th for $1,300. The player must be happy after winning this PCA event for his best live score and thus earning yet another international title for India, just after Abhinav Iyer taking down the 2019 APT Vietnam Main Event for his career-best INR 69.51 Lac.
This is a massive win not just for Gujral, but for India as a whole as it is the first victory by an Indian player at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). On his way to this grand win, Gujral beat a strong field of 406 entries, which included some of the best poker players from around the world.
The final 10 in the tournament were some tough players hailing from different countries. However, Gujral played some good poker and ensured that the Indian flag wave high in Bahamas. In the heads-up play, Gujral faced Ukraine’s Artem Zverkhovskyy, a well-known pro with over $300k in live winnings. The latter tried hard but couldn’t go all the way eventually finishing runner-up.
The final hand saw Gujral (holding Kd7s) hit a pair of sevens on the board to emerge as the winner to take home his best score. Zverkhovskyy had to settle for $48,440 for his runner-up finish. Another Indian Platinum Pass winner Kavin Shah also took part and managed to cash in the event.
Talking about his win and journey to the victory in the tournament, Gujral said, “It feels good. I got queens a couple of times on the last two tables and I ended up winning big pots each time. In one of those pots, I had QQ on big blind. The CO opened and SB shoved 25 bbs with K9o and I called from BB and scooped a big pot. In another hand on the final tables when we were four-handed, I raised with 9-9 from UTG and got called by Florian Duta who was 2nd in chips (I was chip leading at that time). Flop was Q-9-6 with two diamonds. Florian check-raised me on the flop and continued betting on Q turn. The river was an irrelevant 3c and he bet again. I shoved, putting him all in and he snap-called with 6-6. This was a huge cooler for him and I had a huge chip lead over the remaining two contestants in the tournament.”
“Things then kept going my way….there is so much luck involved in winning a live poker tournament .. all we can do is to keep improving our game so that when the shit goes our way we have a real chance of winning the title. Often we do most things right and end up busting out without cashing. And on other days, we are unstoppable despite not playing our best. Today was one of those days when almost everything was going in my favour. I think, I played reasonably well in the tournament”.
Talking about the support and love from the Indian community, Gujral said, “To tell you the truth, winning the title was OK, but the support and kind words from the Indian poker community touched me more”.
Final Table Payouts (USD):
- Raman Gujral – $76,760
- Artem Zverkhovskyy – $48,440
- Jack Sinclair – $34,740
- Florian Duta – $27,600
- Mikhail Sokolovskiy – $21,640
- Pascal Hartmann – $16,960
- Wilson Lim Chong Way – $12,740
- Sean Paul Legendre – $9,060