The 50th WSOP kicked off yesterday and will run through July 16. Today will see its first bracelet event-$500 Casino Employees Event. The world’s biggest tournament series is once again being held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Vegas. This year’s WSOP is going to be even bigger as it features a record 89 bracelets as compared to 78 bracelets awarded in 2018. This time around, there will be a total of 80 live bracelet events with another 9 bracelets to be awarded online at WSOP.com. Over 100,000 entries are expected this year and the cumulative prizepool is likely to cross $200,000,000!
In celebration of the 50th annual WSOP, this year’s schedule includes a unique event – the BIG 50 (running from May 30 to June 7), which is one of the 19 exciting new events. For the first time, the WSOP will award a bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in short deck event, a four-day event starting on Sunday, June 2. Some of the other key events debuting at this year’s WSOP include $50,000 NLH high roller from May 31 to June 3, a $1,500 buy-in Bracelet Winners Only starting on June 10 and Mini Main Event, a $10,000 buy-in event that kicks off on Monday, July 1. This time around, there will be six low buy-in ‘Deepstack’ tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $600-$800. Once again, the biggest highlight will be the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, which begins on July 3. Another big news to share is that the WSOP has made sweet changes to its structures by making most events very deep.
This time around, a record Indian contingent is expected to attend WSOP. Adda52 Team Pro Kunal Patni will be attending his 5th WSOP and he seems to be well-prepared for the world’s biggest event.
Patni, who quit his lucrative banking career for poker, travels to various parts of the world to enjoy his passion – poker. Currently ranked 7th in India All Time Money List, he is one of the most skilled players with $442,895 in total live cashes. His best live cash is $115,819, which he got in January 2018 for his runner-up finish at WPTDeepStack Berlin Main Event. Patni was among the top 4 earners at the recently concluded DPT Colossus Super High Roller. He finished 7th in the 50K Warm-Up and then followed up that with a 4th place in the main event. While he already holds a DPT and an APT title, he is yet to win a WSOP bracelet. Given his form, he is one of favourites to win a bracelet.
As Patni gets ready for the 2019 WSOP, we caught-up with the Mumbai Pro to know about his WSOP preparations, plans and of course his advice for Indian players attending WSOP for the first time.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
OPN: Hi Kunal, congratulations! You were among top 4 earners at the recent DPT Colossus. You finished 7th in the 50K Warm-Up and then followed up that with a 4th place finish in the main event. How do these deep runs help you for what promises to be world’s biggest event in Las Vegas?
Patni: It’s always great to do well in a big live series before WSOP, which is the biggest live series for any poker player. I had not played live poker for sometime and this gave me very good practice. The structures for DPT Colossus were fantastic and this time the WSOP also promises some great structures. So that ways, it was perfect timing for me to get a good time at the tables before WSOP.
OPN: WSOP is a dream event for a player. How have you been preparing yourself for the same?
Patni: The last 2 months have been only WSOP preparation for me. I used to play a lot of cash games on adda52.com earlier but I stopped recently to focus only on improving my MTT game. I have also been coached by IPP, one of India’s biggest and best coaching stable, for nearly a year now. My game has seen a massive improvement since I joined them and I am really grateful to them.
OPN: What makes this year’s WSOP so special for you? What events will you be playing there?
Patni: This would be my 5th year attending WSOP. This year is special because they have included a lot of low-buy in bracelet events this year and hence one doesn’t really need to go to other casinos to play them. Also, WSOP has made fantastic changes to its structures and made them very deep.
OPN: Various things to look forward to! What are you looking forward to the most at WSOP 2019?
Patni: Over the last couple of years, I have made the mistake of burning myself out by not doing much other than poker during WSOP. This time, I want to make a conscious decision to keep myself enough free time to rejuvenate and be fresh for every single tournament.
OPN: There are lots of big guns from India participating in WSOP events. Who is your favourite to win the bracelet for India?
Patni: This is really a tough question. There are so many Indians who are perfectly capable of winning the big one. Aditya Agarwal has to be one of the favourites here for sure. He’s the most experienced campaigner from India and has always done exceedingly well at WSOP. Sriharsha is another person who is one of my favourites. I am happy to be sharing an apartment with him this time. The others in the apartment are Kartik Ved and Raghav Bansal. Both of them are also excellent poker players and quite capable of winning the bracelet home for India.
OPN: Many Indian players would be attending WSOP for the first time, what is your advice for them?
Patni: Don’t burn yourself out. You are like a kid in a candy store. Be careful with your bankroll management or it can just go for a toss. Have lots of fun as it’s one of the best cities in the world.