Indians have been taking the live felts by storm especially in the South-Asian tournament circuit. Currently in the spotlight is Naveen Valluri, a 46-year-old former IT consultant based in Ottawa, who shipped PokerStars’ Road to PSPC Manila series-opener ₱1 Million GTD Warm-up and took home ₱353,158, after a heads-deal with Jeffrey Pamplona who banked ₱322,842 as the runner-up.
A total of 63 players returned for Day 2 from a starting field of 426 entrants. Valluri returned with a below-average stack and was the second shortest in chips by the time the final table was reached. However, he battled his way back hard and managed to get back in contention. Valluri went on to eliminate an impressive five players on the final table before clinching his maiden live poker title.
“Since I made it to Day 2, I was always below the average stack, so I was just folding, folding. It was either an all-in or a fold, that was the play. Even on the final table I was the second shortest stack, then I got lucky in a few places and then got a couple of bluffs through and it all worked out. I’m a very avid player on PokerStars. I like the software, but winning a live event is a big feather in my cap”
Apart from Valluri, India’s Chirag Shah (188,000) was also part of the Day 2 field. However, unlike Valluri (181,000), he couldn’t go all the way and his run in the event ended in 31st place for ₱13,800.
The tournament paid out the top 65 places, with Brazil’s Marcelo Tamura (65th for ₱9,300) being the first ITM player. The final table was formed after the elimination of Japan’s Daisuke Kanai in 10th for ₱33,000. Grace Takayama was the first casualty from the final table and he was followed by Allan Daypuyar (8th), Jonaldo Auza (7th), Michael Bueza (6th), Richard Marquez (5th), & Lester Timonera (4th).
Down to three players, Elmer Kalaquian moved all-in from with queen-jack off-suit and Valluri called with the king-queen suited. While both players hit top pair on the flop, Valluri improved to two pair on the river, busting Kalaquian in 3rd place and moving into the heads-up with Pamplona.
In the heads-up, Naveen Valluri (7.6 Million) held the chip lead over Jeffrey Pamplona (5.1 Million). The two struck an ICM deal and kept playing for the title. Finally, it was Valluri who shipped the title.
Final Table Payouts (PHP)
- Naveen Valluri – ₱353,158*
- Jeffrey Pamplona – ₱322,842*
- Elmer Kalaquian – ₱188,000
- Lester Timonera – ₱148,000
- Richard Marquez – ₱116,800
- Michael Bueza – ₱92,900
- Jonaldo Auza – ₱70,002
- Allan Daypuyart – ₱49,800
- Grace Takayama – ₱39,800