The India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) Jan/Feb 2023 has officially kick-started, and it’s that time of the year again! The online felts of Spartan Poker are ready to be set ablaze with some fireworks and never-seen-before action, the players are set to lock horns and compete for the prestigious IOPC titles, and we are looking forward to witnessing the biggest online poker series in the country so far. And why not? It’s not every day that you have an online poker series running with a guarantee of a massive ₹43 Crore!
And above everything else, it’s IOPC! As Spartan Poker pro Zarvan Tumboli rightly points out, “Naam hi kaafi hai!” Who will clinch an IOPC title for the first time? Who will nail multiple titles this season? Who will top the leaderboard? A 100 questions are running through my mind right now, but the question that has been ruling my mind ever since the IOPC Jan/Feb 2023 schedule was announced is—Who will ship the Main Event The Crown title in the latest edition?
As we gear up to witness the grand poker fest over the next 18 days, we all have our eyes on the ultimate Main Event The Crown! The champions so far have defied all odds to earn that title and proved that they deserve every bit of the victory, the prize money, the fame and the attention.
I am undoubtedly curious about who wins The Crown, but that’s still 15 days away. Meanwhile, I decided to do some individual R&D and speculate about the players who might potentially become the next IOPC Jan/Feb 2021 Main Event champion.
ALSO READ: IOPC June 2022: List Of Winners
I dipped my toes in the waters and I was lost in a sea of capable and talented players who have the potential to get their names go down in history. However, I had to narrow it down to a handful of names and so I did. These players have an illustrious IOPC history or have been consistently nailing online games. So here’s what I found!
Yudhishter Jaswal narrowly missed the IOPC Main Event title with both his stacks during the IOPC January 2021. He entered Day 2 of the event with two stacks. One of his stacks bubbled the final table at the 10th spot. Had he not busted at the 10th place for ₹3.74 Lakh, Jaswal was undoubtedly the strongest contender on the FT. Nonetheless, he put up an intense fight with his other stack after entering the FT with the second-highest stack and eventually finishing third for ₹17,53,400. Yes, he was that close to nailing the title, but unfortunately did not.
Jaswal is a well-known name in the Indian poker circuit. He is one of the few Indians who grind at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) regularly. Will Jaswal return this season to claim the ME title?! It will be interesting to see.
Himanshu Arora has started the year with a bang. He is currently the number one online player in the country, ‘WhatiffGawd’ has been consistent on the virtual poker felts over the past few weeks. Additionally, he also cashed ₹4,00,000, at the IOPC June 2022 leaderboard by finishing at the seventh place. He also shipped the last event of IOPC in July 2022.
Looking at his current form and consistency, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him nail the Main Event title this IOPC season.
IOPC has given the country a lot of poker stars over the years, and Aniket Waghmare is one of the names that came into the spotlight because of IOPC. Waghmare had been playing and nailing feature tournaments online. But the January of 2020 turned out to be a game changer for Waghmare, who clinched two of the biggest marquee tournaments, the IOPC Millionaire Legends and IOPC Masterminds, in that edition.
He hasn’t stopped since. He is a regular grinder in IOPC’s feature tournaments, and this series seems to be his forte. He is also the defending champion of the IOPC Blaze tournament. With three of the most prestigious IOPC titles already to his name, will Waghmare come hunting for the glorious Main Event crown in this edition?
Sriharsha Doddapaneni and IOPC have a long association. The version of Doddapaneni that unleashes itself during IOPC is something we’d call the #BeastMode. During the January 2021 edition of the series, he achieved the unbelievable feat of claiming two of the biggest events, IOPC High Roller and IOPC Super High Roller for a combined winning of over ₹54 Lakh from just two titles. Besides, he also cashed at other events. (Fun fact, he made more than the Main Event winner Laksh Pal Singh who cashed ₹51,80,500).
With such great IOPC stats, will Doddapaneni finally claim the diamond-studded crown this season?
Another player with impressive IOPC records in the past few years is Sahil Chutani. During the January 2022 season, he nailed two marquee titles, namely the IOPC High Roller and IOPC Legends. Although the Legends victory was a deal with Raghav Bansal, Chutani took the title home. But that’s not all, ladies and gentlemen. He successfully defended his Legend title in the following edition, July 2022. That’s a record no other player has accomplished in the history of IOPC.
He is surely coming to defend his Legends title, but he can also eye and possibly take down the Main Event too, don’t to forget his strong online presence.
The name that Anuj Yadav has earned for himself in the poker circuit in the past few years is remarkable. Among his multiple featured tournament victories at the IOPC, the most significant one is the IOPC Super High Roller one he claimed in July 2020. And the highlight of his IOPC career is when he topped the IOPC July 2021 leaderboard breaking Bhanu Prakash’s streak.
Apart from that, he also made it on to the FT of the IOPC July 2021 Main Event and finished third for ₹20,99,782. Yadav has also been a promising name in the Indian poker circuit. It would be great to see Yadav make it to the FT once again and nail it this time.
Next on my list is four-time IOPC leaderboard topper Bhanu Prakash. We have seen him top the leaderboard multiple times, but we now want to see him clinch The Crown. He’s been a regular crusher on the virtual felts, which makes him one of the most capable contenders for the Main Event.
Gopal Bajaj is another bright name in the Indian poker circuit. With countless online poker titles to his name, this young lad has made sure that the opponents feel intimidated when playing against him at the tables. In the last edition of the IOPC, Bajaj nailed a total of four titles for ₹9,33,276, and cashed at 63 events.
To top it, he has already started his IOPC Jan/Feb 2023 season with a victory on the first day of the series. It will be a pleasure to see this pro player add a title like the IOPC Main Event to his list of online poker titles.
Another online reg that deserves to have the IOPC Main Event winner tag alongside his name is Vishal Bajaj. This online reg has shipped many online titles including IOPC and Final Table Series (FTS) titles. Bajaj has also made it to the final table of the IOPC United tournament in July 2021. Additionally, he’s also been consistently winning online poker tournaments across poker platforms.
Bajaj is among the most promising players when it comes to winning the Main Event title in the current edition of the series. This title will be like a golden feather added to his hat.
Harshad Barve is again a well-known name in the Indian poker circuit, with online titles like the marquee IOPC Blaze of Glory (July 2021) in his kitty. If you follow regular online poker events, you will know that Barve is a regular crusher on the virtual felts. Ballers, Elite, Destiny, Ultron, Poker for People, Armageddon, Deepstack Turbo, are just some of the titles that the Pune-based pro has to flaunt.
The player’s command over his game, both on the live as well as on the virtual felts is praise-worthy. With the kind of experience and skills that Barve brings to the table, it would be wholesome to see him nail the IOPC Main Event title in this edition.
Well, those are some players I think have the potential to become the IOPC Main Event champion in the current IOPC edition. The winner could be some other player as well, but whoever wins one thing is assured and that some surprises will give viewers a hefty dose of entertainment, thrill and action.
Do let us know what you think about these capable candidates in the comment section. Also, feel free to let us know who you think could be the next IOPC Main Event winner.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by expressing herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in anything that satisfies her creative self, like drawing and DIY crafts.
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