Heads-Up With Ujjwal Narwal, India’s First National Poker Champion!

India’s No.1 Poker Site – Adda52 wrapped up its ‘National Poker Championship’, India’s first 1 Crore GTD tournament at INR 2,500 buy-in last night. Players from all across the country competed against each other across 4 days, each looking to etch their name in the history books. After several days of intense fights, it was eventually Ujjwal Narwal aka ‘fourteenk’ who shipped it for INR 16 Lac in top prizemoney. He beat a record field of 4,214 to become India’s first-ever National Poker Champion!

The runner-up to finish in the event was ‘tenfiveftw’ who pocketed an impressive INR 10,50,000 for his efforts. The final table of the event had some good regs in Kanishka Samant (3rd for INR 7,50,000), Arjanveer Chadha (4th for INR 5,00,000), Siddhanth Kapoor aka ‘bullzeyepower’ (5th for INR 3,88,280), Avneesh Munjal aka ‘IamAM’ (7th for INR 2,00,000) and Hardik Shah (9th for INR 95k).

Across its 3 starting flights, the marquee tournament drew a total of 4,214 entries, highest number in the history of online events in India. Only 383 made it to the final day with Bhanu Akkina (807,989) being the biggest stack and the Day 1B chip leader ‘tuomez’ (783,592) being the second biggest stack among them. Interestingly, all players on final day were paid. The first person to get eliminated on money bubble did not get cash prize but he received a ticket to Adda52 Millions.

Aditya Degala became the first player to finish in the money at 382nd for INR 8,280. Some good regs to finish in the money included the likes of Rohan Patnaik (16th for INR 50k), ‘selffish’ (18th for INR 35l), Anmol Mehta (27th for INR 25k), the final day chip leader – ‘bhanu2727’ (39th for INR 25k), 2nd biggest stack for final day – ‘tuomez’ (46th for INR 18k), Naren Purohit (49th for INR 18k), Deepak Bothra (55th for INR 18k), Anuj Kumar Kodam (65th for INR 18k), Ashish Munot (72nd for INR 13,656), Nishant Sharma (76th for INR 13,656), Anish Patra (79th for INR 13,656), Varun Gupta (86th for INR 13,656), Jaydeep Dawer (99th for INR 13,656) and many others.

Some notables to cash were ‘King0fMerge’ (124th), Kavish Kukreja (142nd), Sriharsha Doddapaneni (143rd), Rubin Labroo (157th), Abhishek Garg (218th), Mihir Thakkar (225th), Adda52 Team Pros Kunal Patni (257th) & Tarun Goyal (260th), Sahil Mahboobani (265th) and Eka Vedantham(269th).

Ujjwal started playing poker just 2 years back after seeing the online success of his college senior – Akshay Nasa, who has been crushing it for the past 2 years or so. He learned a lot from him and later joined a few stables to get better. Now, he is not in any stable but he is in the company of some solid players who are playing poker professionally and consistently crushing online.

He started putting in volume on Adda52 in mid 2018. His first win was Adda52’s Godfather and just a few months later he then won The Whale. He has also won Hitman once and Beast three times, apart from cashing several other events. According to him, Adda52 has the best-structured MTTs.

We got in touch with Narwal to know about his win, journey and plans. Here are the excerpts:

OPN: Hi Narwal! Thanks for speaking with OPN and congratulations on winning NPC on Adda52. How are you feeling after becoming India’s first-ever National Poker Champion?

Narwal: I have been running deep in these high-value tournaments a lot and it feels amazing to finally take one down.

OPN: With 4,214 entries, it was a record field in the history of online tournaments in India.Tell us what the journey was like, making it to the FT? Any special hands you would like to share?

Narwal: I played really aggressive throughout. I didn’t want a deep run and end up at ranks 5-10 or so. I felt that all the money was in top 3-4 positions and I didn’t mind taking few high variance spots to get there.

OPN: How about the FT journey? Who do you think was the toughest opponent at the final table?

Narwal: I started the FT as one of the shortest stacks. I just waited out for a few other short stacks to get a few pay-jumps and then played really aggressively when I was the shortest. I didn’t know anyone on the the final table except Kanishka Samant, Arjanveer Chadha and those two are very good regs.

OPN: How about your heads-up experience? Who started as the chip leader and what happened in heads-up? Could you also share final hand that won you this historic tournament?

Narwal: I started the heads up with 4:1 chip deficit but the heads-up went really smooth for me. I was constantly picking up chips every other hand and my stack just increased constantly. My final hand was – I min-raised with 29bb and ‘tenfiveftw’ shoved for 16bb with Q9o, I called with JJs and won it!

OPN: 16 Lac is a big amount! Any special plans on how you intend to spend your prize money?

Narwal: I’m planning to travel more and play more live tournaments. So, I’m probably gonna go to Goa for DPT Colossus at the end of this month and take up Manila/Vietnam trip in the summers.

Thanks Narwal for your time! We wish you many more success ahead in online and live poker!

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