The inaugural PokerStars LIVE Red Dragon Manila will be remembered long for some amazing performances by Indian players. The high-value series began on a strong note for Team India with Sahil Agarwal winning its Kickoff event and finally ended on a similar note with Ankit Ahuja taking down one of the last marquee events of the series – PHP 250K Red Dragon High Roller where he outlasted a strong field of 101 entries to win the title for PHP 6,112,000 (INR 85.82 Lac)!
Post his major victory in the High Roller, the 33-year old Ahuja said, “This is the first tournament I’ve ever won where I’ve fired more than one bullet – I busted my first pretty early and decided to give it another go. It’s just as well I’ve won really as I missed my flight by making Day 2 yesterday.”
A freelance business and tech consultant, Ahuja has been around since 2011 but has been playing tournament poker seriously for just over two years. This high roller victory was his fifth live title and it took his live earnings to a whopping $737,420 to rank him 6th on ‘India All Time Money List’.
Only 33 players returned on Day 2 of the event and among them were 4 Indians headlined by the veteran pro Dhaval Mudgal. Among them, Kanishka Samant was the first player to hit the rail finishing 13th for PHP 460,000 (~INR 6.45 Lac) and Sahil Agarwal followed him in 11th place for PHP 495,000 (~INR 6.95 Lac). Mudgal was doing pretty well but his run eventually ended in 7th place for PHP 1,094,000 (INR 15.36 Lac) after his 10h 7h failed to beat Ks 10c on a 2s Kh 3h Ac Qc board. As for Ahuja, he went on to take down the tournament for PHP 6,112,000, his second best score.
The final table of the event lasted for about 8 hours and the eventual champion Ankit Ahuja started off in style by busting Hwany Lee in 9th place. Thereafter, there was no looking back for Ahuja and he went on to outlast everyone to eventually reach the heads-up with Malaysia’s female pro Natalie Teh.
After Shigeji Kusakabe‘s elimination in 3rd place, the heads-up began with Ankit Ahuja (4,530,000) holding a massive lead over the start-of-day 2 chip leader Natalie Teh (520,000). The final hand of the event saw Ahuja with pocket tens and Teh with Ad-4s. The board ran 7h 9s Kh 8h Js giving Ahuja the coveted pot as well as the title. Teh eventually settled for PHP 4,248,000 for her runner-up finish.
Final Table Payouts
- Ankit Ahuja – PHP 6,112,000
- Natalie Teh – PHP 4,248,000
- Shigeji Kusakabe – PHP 2,809,000
- Chongxian Yang – PHP 2,199,000
- Ngoc Anh Cao – PHP 1,773,000
- Kyungkun Lee – PHP 1,381,000
- Dhaval Mudgal – PHP 1,094,000
- Kannapong Thanarattrakul – PHP 852,000
- Hwany Lee – PHP 644,950