As time passes, the excitement is increasing towards the India Poker Championship (IPC) that announced its biggest ever live series yet, with an ₹5 Crore series guarantee. What’s even better is that we’re expecting a completely new segment of players at this event, with leading financial information brand Moneycontrol coming on board as presenting sponsor of the IPC, which takes place between 14th – 19th January 2020 in Goa!
This series will be special for another reason – the crowning of the India Poker Champion. At the end of every season, IPC crowns the India Poker Champion and there’s no prestige greater than this in the Indian poker community. All past India Champions are very notable figures in the community, who have gone on to win plenty more awards and titles over the years.
This time too, everyone is getting out their A-game as there’s plenty in store for the Champion. The India Poker Champion will receive a massive ₹20 Lakh sponsorship deal which includes all IPC events in the upcoming editions plus the honour of being a Spartan ambassador. Along with that, he/she will also be gifted a stunning Panerai luxury watch worth ₹6.67 Lakh!
The Chennai-based player was in his early twenties when he came out to Goa and became the very first India Poker Champion in December 2010. He beat 87 entries including Farukh Shaikh in heads-up to take down the title. He proved it wasn’t just a one-time thing, following it up with a 5k IPC Event victory in February 2011. From there, the player has grown leaps and bounds, working on his fitness and focussing on his game, and eventually becoming one of India’s undoubted best players. Sushant has one of the most impressive stories in the poker community. It began with the India Poker Champion title in Goa and went on to $650k+ in live earnings including bringing home India’s first ever gold bracelet from the World Series of Poker!
IPC Director and co-founder Sameer Rattonsey was also on fire in the original 2010-11 season where he had a number of finishes including the Main Event title in April as well as December 2011, proving he’s among the best in the business. Since that neck-to-neck IPOY race with Abhishek Goindi and then being crowned India Poker Champion in 2011, Rattonsey even went on to co-found Spartan Poker which is today one of the biggest online poker platforms in the country. He also shipped an HKD 4,000 Event at Macau Poker Cup Championship, Taipa in 2012 and since then, he’s become more of a recreational player and not someone who grinds it out at every live event, with a bigger focus on the IPC which returned to the live scene a couple of months ago!
Here’s another very well-known name in the Indian poker industry who is today even into coaching and training new players who want to take the game seriously. But for Goindi too, IPC turned out to be the turning point. He started off in the 2010 season when he decided to quit his day job to focus on poker. He was a professional player for a number of years and in that 2010-11 season, there was a tight race between him and Sameer Rattonsey for the India Player of the Year title, with Goindi eventually squeezing through; you can read all that and more here. Goindi was crowned the first ever IPOY winner and since then, he’s accomplished much in the poker world. In 2012, he went on to bag $136k for finishing runner-up in the Macau Red Dragon, the closest any Indian has come to winning that title!
It was his first time in Goa to play poker. In fact, first time in India itself, and Sri Lanka’s Anu Meddegoda went on to make his country proud by winning the 30k IPC Main Event in January 2013. He’s always going to be a remembered name in the history of IPC, currently being the first and only non-Indian to have won the title of India Poker Champion. He had to get through a tough field but eventually managed to take home top honours. The poker scene in Sri Lanka is also slowly rising, and IPC also did their first international series in Colombo in September 2013, where many local players like Meddegoda also took part. Meddegoda is into fitness and runs a gym chain in Sri Lanka now.
This guy almost needs no introduction, being one of the most renowned high stakes players in the country. With a fearless game, Nikunj has played at all sorts of levels. Primarily a cash games specialist, he decided to try his hand at tournaments, but only the higher-buy-in ones. That’s when he enrolled into the IPC Highroller and Main Event in December 2015 and guess what? He ended up shipping both, and that’s a moment that will never be forgotten in IPC history! It was the first IPC edition he played that year and it turned out to be a triple whammy for him, winning the Highroller, then the Main Event and of course, the title of India Poker Champion. Though he didn’t play the events in between, he had enough points to win the IPOY award as well. He’s still a major threat at live events, in recent years winning the DPT Highroller (2019) as well as WPT India Main Event (2018).
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