One of the most anticipated online poker tournament of the month in India is the Millionaire which is scheduled every second Sunday of the month at The Spartan Poker. This tournament guarantees a massive INR 1 crore prizepool for a buy-in of INR 7,700. The 20th edition of the Millionaire which culminated late last night saw Mumbai-based poker player Pranav Khandalkar, who plays as ‘pranavpoker’, claim the title and massive payday of INR 25 Lakhs outlasting 1,167 participants in this prestigious tournament. The prizepool was distributed to the top 100 places with a min-cash of INR 25,000.
31-year old Khandalkar stepped into the world of numbers during his college days in Pune where completed his MBA and subsequently became an investment banker. He moved to Mumbai over 10 years ago and is married to a fellow investment banker in wife Harsha for the past couple of years. Khandalkar been playing poker since 2011 when he was introduced to the game by a friend of his. What started as a hobby then has now become a serious recreational sport, “The game has evolved and so has the popularity and field for the game in India. Have been since then playing the game along with my work schedule. Have never thought of becoming a full-time pro and I am happy with my current schedule.”
In the past, he was featured on GutshotMagazine.com when he shipped the $27 Bigger on PokerStars for $5,819 (INR 3.76 Lakhs). He outlasted a total of 1,743 players which made up a prize pool of $42,790. Heads-up saw Khandalkar defeating Canadian player ‘Cameron1010’ who took home $4,001 for second place finish.
Coming back to the Millionaire tournament Khandalkar faced ‘mmonas’ in heads-up battle. The 8-hour grind finally concluded in Level #50 with blinds running 100,000-200,000-20,000. Once players completed their blinds, the flop opened up 9s Ts Qh after a raise by pranavpoker to 300,000 which got a call from his opponent. ‘pranavpoker’ with Th Jd hit mid-pair and also was on an open-ended straight draw while ‘mmonas’ holding 9d 5d hit bottom pair. pranavpoker fired again on the flop a bet of 400,000 which again was flatcalled by mmonas to see Td on the turn giving the former a set. pranavpoker fires again a bet of 950,000 this time and is faced with an all-in from his opponent which is swiftly called. The river has the Qs giving a full house, Tens full of Queens to ‘pranavpoker’ and the prestigious Millionaire title. ‘mmonas’ scored INR 15 Lakhs for his second place finish.
Speaking about his run through the tournament, Khandalkar said, “I had a pretty good chip lead when we were down to 200 players. I was in top 5 stacks when we went ITM. Having the chip lead helped me to put pressure on short stacks at the bubble. I continued chip lead till we were down to 15. Post which in lost a massive pot pre-flop AA vs AK. I was 13 of 14 but managed to triple up with QQ. And there was no looking behind then. I had 4x chip lead when we were 3 handed which helped me to get aggressive on other 2 stacks considering ICM pressure. Two short stacks finally collided against each other and we were 2 handed with I still having 3 to 1 chips. I lost a flip with AK against 22. But few hands later managed to ship it with JT on Tx 9x 6x Tx Kx board. Once I was on FT I was sure of making to top 3. And positivity for the win was always there. I was part of PSL in Goa and our team won on the same day. Last few days we got the privilege of being coached by Dhaval Mudgal, Dylan Linde and Kevin Macfee.”
Some notable players in the tournament made deep finishes Vinayak ‘bajajinga’ Bajaj made a 4th place finish for INR 6,00,000, ‘SandeepTulsyan’ made a 6th place finish for INR 3,00,000, ‘kajuman’ bubbled final table at 9th place for INR 1,25,000 and the Destiny winner Kranthi ‘Milds’ Kiran made a 10th place finish for INR 1,00,000.