Poker in India has received a massive boost with this return edition of the India Poker Championship (IPC) in Goa. We’re just three days into the series so far and each day has been better than the previous one. On the first day, we recorded 437 entries in the 10k Freezeout Event and on Day 2, we recorded 207 entries in the IPC 100k Highroller. Day 3 saw another record-breaking field, this time in the 35k Main Event, with one starting flight still to be played.
Coming to the Highroller, Day 2 resumed on 13th September with 70 players still in contention of winning a massive prize of INR 51+ Lakh, a prize never seen before in a live poker Highroller tournament in India. We began at 3pm and slowly but surely, eliminations were taking place, eventually reaching the bubble, with 24 players being paid a min-cash of INR 1.88 Lakh.
As the night went on, players kept getting busted and collecting their cash prizes, while Pranay Chawla kept increasing his stack, entering the Final Table as the chip leader. He managed a few more bust-outs and even entered heads-up with the chip lead. We would’ve expected a deal in heads-up considering the massive pay jumps, but that didn’t happen.
The chips went back and forth between Chawla and Nitish Gupta but eventually, it was Pranay Chawla who managed to take away all glory. The Indian poker industry will remember this series for years to come and they will remember Chawla too, who managed to outlast this field full of pros to take away the 100k Highroller title and the enormous cash prize of INR 51,66,800 that came with it.
The two players were seated at the featured table in the center of the poker room and there was a small crowd around the table since quite a while. There was quite a roar around the table when the final hand had an outcome and Chawla emerged winner! You must feel for Nitish Gupta as he did brilliantly to get to heads-up. Here, he took away INR 35,24,500 for finishing second in this massive tournament!
Coming to the champion, the 20-something year old is a resident of Noida and is a graduate of Business Economics although laughingly he says, “It doesn’t really help all that much in poker despite what you may think.” He works in the gaming industry and is looking to do his MBA in the next couple of years. Having picked up poker six years ago, Chawla, about 2 years ago, started putting in more time into his game and considers himself to be a semi-professional player given the volume he now puts in. He is not unfamiliar with big wins and prize money having also chopped the Game Changer tournament 4-way not too long ago. He also has fond memories of being part of the winning team of Goan Nuts in the second season of the Poker Sports League. Interestingly enough one of his final table mates in this Highroller was Goan Nuts mentor and captain Dhaval Mudgal, “Yeah I didn’t really think about it till Dhaval brought it up and we were joking about chopping this IPC High Roller in the end.. just some fun banter at the table. On a serious note though, he’s been a big influence and I have a lot of respect for Dhaval and got to learn many things from him about approaching the game.” Chawla was also responsible for knocking out his former captain in the early half of this final table.
Regarding his plans for the big prize money, “I really don’t have anything in mind. When it comes to poker, for me, it’s not really about the money. It’s just sheer love for the game. I kinda feel I was destined to win when a couple of hands at the FT went my way and I got lucky a few times. End of the day I’m really happy and it’s just about starting to sink in,” says Chawla with a contented smile as he signed off heading to the cash cage to claim that monster INR 51+ Lakhs top prize.
Gutshot Magazine will continue its coverage of this IPC series and alongside this High Roller, taking place was also Day 1A of the IPC 35k Main Event of which we will bring you a round-up shortly. To catch the live updates from the event, click HERE.
For similar updates on the top Indian online and live poker tournaments in India, keep an eye out on GutshotMagazine.com.