The 2019 edition of the India Poker Championship got off to a rousing start with the 10K Kickoff on September 11, at the Big Daddy Casino, Goa. The stakes were high and the event was jam-packed with action, even running till late in the morning. And even though the clock kept ticking, the enthusiasm among the players did not dim, even as the tournament reached the 100K High Roller event, spread across two days.
Nashik's Siddharth Mundada was the winner of the opening event, pocketing INR 8.80 Lakhs from the total prize pool of INR 43+ Lakh.
The High Roller increased the stakes further, bringing the total prize pool up to a guaranteed 1 Crore. The second day of action ended after 12 levels of competition.
1. No dearth of notable names
The IPC 2019 is being talked about for its envious line-up of participants. For the 100k High Roller event this year, the trend continued, with a host of notable names from the poker industry pitted against each other. Some of the names included Aditya Sushant, Eka Vedantham, Nikunj Jhunjhunwala, Sriharsha D, Madhav Gupta, Nishant Sharma, among several others.
2. The glittery star cast
The featured table saw film star Kunal Khemu, a recurring face at the IPC, locking horns with Sangeeth Mohan, who managed to carve out a large chunk from Khemu’s chips. The featured table also saw TV personality, and IPC debutant, Anita Hassanandani betting, only increasing the glitter on a starry Goa night.
3. WSOP bracelet winners in attendance
Nikita Luther, the first Indian woman to win an International Poker title, and a WSOP bracelet bearer, graced the tournament with her presence, and started off as one of the favourites, alongside the duo of Abhinav Iyer and Aditya Sushant, both of whom are also WSOP bracelet carriers.
4. Nikunj Jhunjhunwala bows out
Some of the past champions couldn’t taste the same success this time around. Jhunjhunwala, a past High Roller victor, had to bow out after a big pot with Gaurav Kathuria.
5. Dwarkanath leads end-day chip count
Praveen Dwarkanath, who started the day by leading the stack after the first break, ended the first day on top of the charts, with a total chip count of 1.24 million, followed by Kanishka Samanth, who also breached the 1-million barrier. The first break of the opening day had also belonged to Dwarkanath, who led the stack with 286,000 chips, followed by Vivek Rughani and Rajat Sharma.
6. Pranay Chawla, leader of the final table
With 7 players left from the initial pool, Pranay Chawla led the list with 6.58 million under his belt, followed by Ankit Wadhawan and Vaibhav Sharma.
7. Gaurav Kathuria sixth, Dhawal Mudgal fifth
Gaurav Kathuria ended with his career-best live cash winnings worth INR 8,13,500, but was on the receiving end of a straight by leader Chawla, who busted Kathuria on the sixth spot. It brought an end to Kathuria’s raging run at the table. Dhawal Mudgal was knocked out at fifth.
8. Ankit Wadhawan fourth
Another player to be busted by Chawla, who increased his lead further by restricting Wadhawan to the fourth spot. It increased Chawla’s lead further, and Wadhawan had to be content with the amount worth INR 12,71,300.
9. Vaibhav Sharma ends up 3rd, Nitish Gupta first runner-up
He stole a big pot from Chawla earlier, but Nitish Gupta could only end up only second best.
Vaibhav Sharma sure gave others a run for their money, but could not move past the third spot after running into Chawla. It meant that Vaibhav walked away with a pocketed amount of INR 20,89,900, while Nitish bagged INR 35,24,500.
10. Pranay Chawla crowned champion
Pranay Chawla, known to many as ‘setmeup’, was crowned the champion of the High Roller event after two riveting days of action. He looked the clear favourite for a long time, and ended up with INR 51.66 Lakh after slugging it out for 12 hours.