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Gutshot Exclusive: India’s First Triton Poker Series Champ Santhosh Suvarna Poker
Amarylisa Gonsalves
Posted on 15 May, 2023
By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 15 May, 2023
By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 15 May, 2023

Gutshot Exclusive: India’s First Triton Poker Series Champ Santhosh Suvarna

When I started writing about poker two years ago, I realised that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the pinnacle poker series in the world and that only four Indians have won the WSOP bracelet so far, namely Aditya Sushant, Nikita Luther, Abhinav Iyer and Kartik Ved. As I crawled my way into the industry, I learnt about Triton Poker Series and there was no Indian who had shipped it.

Fast forward to 12th May 2023, at around 1.30 AM, I received a call and when I answered it, I heard an ecstatic voice saying, “He shipped it! He shipped it!” in sheer excitement and joy. It was a close aide of Santhosh Suvarana, who was happy for his friend who had done the unthinkable! For the first time, the Indian flag had been fluttered at the Triton Poker Series.

The name Santhosh Suvarna has engraved itself in the books of poker history. The 43-year-old Indian-origin player had achieved something that no Indian has before. The very first event of the series, Event 1 $25K GG Super Millions, brought good news to the Indian subcontinent as Suvarna became the first Indian to claim a Triton Poker Series title after he took down the event. 

Triton Poker Series needs no introduction. Being one of the most prestigious poker series across the globe, this high-stakes poker series witnesses some of the best and most notable players regularly grinding at the event. 

After a successful edition in Vietnam two months ago, the series returned with another Super High Roller Series in North Cyprus. The ongoing 2023 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series North Cyprus edition is the iteration of the Triton Poker Series, and it is turning out to be a ground-breaking one. The series is currently being hosted at the luxurious Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino in North Cyprus. The series has a total of seven events, with buy-ins ranging from $25,000 to $1 Million.

Santhosh Suvarna Ships Triton Poker SHRS Cyprus $25K NLH GG Super Millions Event

The ongoing North Cyprus 2023 edition is Suvarna’s third Triton Poker appearance and he has managed to make headlines at the very first event. Being the top finisher, Suvarna bagged a massive $700,000 (₹6,19,50,000), along with a Shamballa Jewels bracelet. That’s not all, he also walked away with not one but two shining trophies – a Triton Poker trophy and a GG Poker trophy.

We got in touch with Suvarna to understand what the victory meant for him. Talking about being the flag-bearer at the Triton Poker Series, Suvarna says, “I am feeling great to be the first Indian to ship a Triton event because it’s one of the best poker events happening at this moment.” 

Suvarna made his Triton Poker Series debut last year at the same venue during the North Cyprus 2022 edition. In that edition, he had one final table finish wherein he cashed $245,000 for his eighth-place finish at the $7,500 NLH event. Post that, he made his second appearance early this year at the Triton Poker SHRS held in Vietnam in March 2023. Here he made it to another final table finishing fourth at the $7,500 NLH event. 

He describes the series as “the best high roller poker tournament in the world.” “You get to play alongside the best players in the world,” he adds. He further praises the Triton organisers saying, “It is a very professionally run poker series by the Triton management.”

The $25K GG Super Millions event saw a total of 158 entries chipping in to generate a prize pool of $3,950,000. He shares, “It’s good to beat 158 players. Although it’s a small field, these were all super strong players grinding in this event. I am feeling extremely happy to beat all of them and ship one for India.”

Entering the final table with the second shortest stack and managing to overpower it is no child’s play. But Suvarna did it like a boss. He talks about his overall experience during the final table, saying, “I started as one of the short stacks on the FT. I knew I just needed either one double-up or small steals here and there. The FT field wasn’t easy at all. All the final tablists were super strong and the chip leader had a huge stack to his advantage.”

Talking about his strategy he says, “I wanted to play super strong and take one place at a time. I made some good folds also, that was the key and luck was on my side too.” Although he says everyone was strong he admits that Sam Greenwood was the best on the table. 

He had made it to two other final tables. However, he couldn’t nail the top spot. He says, “I was making small small mistakes in FTs I played earlier. I evaluated my games and made fewer mistakes this time. I was super confident this time.”

Santhosh Suvarna Finishes Fourth At 2023 Triton Poker SHRS North Cyprus $40K NLH

He shared that he will be playing all tournaments at the ongoing Triton Poker SHRS North Cyprus 2023 series, including the 100K Main Event and the 200K Invitational event. He will be pairing with Seth Davies at the invitational event. Talking about Davies, he says, “Seth is a great player and a very nice guy too. He is my pro partner in the 200K invitational event.”

By the time the game had reached a three-handed play, Suvarna was sitting with the highest stack, which was greater than the stacks of Nicolas Chouity and Selahaddin Bedir combined. Eventually, the three settled on a three-way deal. “Even though I was having a huge chip lead, Nicholas is a good friend of mine. They were asking for a deal for which I couldn’t say no. We agreed for a friendly deal and continued playing for the trophy,” he shares. 

We asked him what is the best thing about playing high-stakes poker, to which he says, “There are many advantages of playing at high stakes, such as playing among the best and learning from them. Here you can make very good friends and business connections with very big people.”

Speaking about the Indian players, he says, “There are so many good players in India who play very good tournaments. I feel happy when fellow Indians perform well across the world tournaments.” 

The humble player adds, “I am still learning, and I just play as any other tournament without keeping stakes or prize money in the mind.”

He has played alongside some of the top pros across the world. He says, “Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwik, Brian Kenny, Phil Ivey, Sam Greenwood, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Tony G, Mikita Badziakouski, WSOP bracelet winner Hossein Ensan, WSOP 2022 Main Event winner Espen Jorstad and many more who are at the top right now.” “This has only been possible because of Triton Poker,” he adds. 

Apart from the Triton Poker Series, he has also played at European Poker Tour (EPT) and World Poker Tour (WPT). What makes Triton Poker stand out from the other poker series, he says, “I have been to EPT and WPT, but Triton Poker is the top in terms of quality. They conduct their events with utmost smoothness, their live updates are in real-time and they treat their players like VVIPs.”

He shares his thoughts on playing in India, he says, “I learned my game in India and definitely love to play tournaments in the country irrespective of the stakes. And moreover, I know most of the players in India, so it’s good and fun to socialise and play with friends.”

Curious, we asked him where he is headed next after the Triton Poker Series. “Nothing is planned as of now. Looking forward to WSOP if time permits.”

Finally, being at a high-stakes level, we asked him to share a piece of advice for Indian players who want to play internationally or want to play the Triton Poker Series. The shy and modest player says, “I am still learning, I don’t think I am at the stage to advise. A lot of Indian players are doing very well at international circuits, and I wish them good luck.”

He finally says, “After WSOP, if there is any tournament you wish to play, that should be Triton. They are the best.”

Suvarna is a talented and respected figure in the world of poker. His success in live poker tournaments, as well as his entrepreneurial ventures in poker and in the casino industry, have earned him a name that is not only known but also admired in the Indian poker community as well as in the international circuit. And now, this feat of putting India on Triton Poker’s map has made the world aware that Indian poker players are not far behind. 

Suvarna recently played the High Roller event at WPT Prime India 2023 in Goa, and when I happened to meet him in the poker room, the Triton Poker player was more than happy to have a quick chat. With his dedication towards the game and the humility he carries, we are sure Suvarna has a bright future ahead of him in the world of poker. 

Be it shipping more titles by playing or through his entrepreneurial ventures, there’s no doubt that Suvarna will continue to make a significant impact in the Indian poker scene for years to come.

For more news and the latest updates in poker, keep reading Gutshot Magazine. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Telegram.

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