The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is one of the most prestigious poker series in the world. For almost every poker player, winning a WSOP gold bracelet is a mark of a huge accomplishment in their poker career. So far, there have been only four Indians that have managed to clinch this sought-after bracelet—Aditya Sushant, Nikita Luther, Abhinav Iyer, and Kartik Ved. With WSOP 2022 starting this summer in Las Vegas, we were curious to see which Indian player could follow in their footsteps and bring home the next WSOP bracelet.
So, we made a list of five Indian poker players who we thought had the potential to win the next WSOP bracelet. In order to narrow our search down to just five players, we looked at players who had previous experience of playing at the WSOP live events. We especially took into consideration those who have cashed at several WSOP live events, especially those who have the experience of making it to final tables (FT) or in some cases even finished in the runner-up position. So, let’s take a look at who made it to our top five!
It would be a sin to not start our list with one of India’s most talented and well-respected poker players—Aditya Agarwal aka ‘intervention.’ This poker maestro has been in the industry since his 20s and has since then become one of the country’s best poker players. According to Hendon Mob, Agarwal ranks third on India’s all-time money list with total live earnings worth $1,424,770. This just goes to show how experienced he is in live poker.
When talking about winning a WSOP bracelet, Agarwal would be the top contender as his experience on the live felts of the WSOP spans over 14 years. Just last year in the WSOP 2021, Agarwal was the only Indian player to reach the heads-up stage of a WSOP event. While he was so close to the bracelet, he finished in the runner-up position at the Event #76: $10K Super Turbo Bounty for $286,705. This only further proves that if there is an Indian poker player deserving of the WSOP gold bracelet, it’s Agarwal.
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Dhaval Mudgal is one of the top pros in the Indian poker circuit. The musician cum poker player cashed in his first WSOP event while playing the 2016 WSOP Event #44 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $1,997 after busting in the 170th place. The MPL Poker brand ambassador has been a regular presence at the popular poker series and has managed to have ITM finish in several WSOP events he’s played in since his debut.
In the WSOP 2021, he made his highest ITM finish to date when he exited Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship NLHE in 30th place for $7,120. In the same WSOP, he also cashed in two other events, the Event #43: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Double Stack (154th, $3,124) and the Event #70: $888 No-Limit Hold’em – 8 Handed Crazy Eights (493rd, $1,776). Mudgal is also not a stranger to winning a title overseas as he won the WPT Vietnam Main Event in 2018. With that, we guess it’s safe to say that Mudgal is a strong contender to win a WSOP gold bracelet, and if he makes the trip to Las Vegas this year, we will be paying close attention.
Kunal Patni is no stranger to the live felts of the WSOP. He’s had a number of cashes in the poker series of the years. This banker-turned poker pro’s overall experience in playing live poker makes him one of the top contenders for the bracelet. In WSOP 2021, Patni came pretty close to a gold bracelet in the Event #59: $ 1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Tag Team. He paired up with WSOP bracelet winner Nikita Luther and finished in the 15th position for $2,288. In the same WSOP, he also had a couple of cashes at the Event #68: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Little One for One Drop (135th, $3,685) and Event #43: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Double Stack (168th, $3,124).
In WSOP 2019, Patni even finished ITM in six of the WSOP events he played. With an experience like his, it’s not so far-fetched to think that the Adda52 pro just might clinch a prestigious gold bracelet in the upcoming 2022 WSOP.
Ashish Ahuja made his Las Vegas debut only at WSOP 2019, but we still think he’s a strong contender for the next Indian bracelet. Why? Well, in his first and only time playing in the WSOP, Ahuja managed to cash in over nine tournaments and bring in $113,044 in total winnings from that one year alone. His best performance from that list was in the Event #42: $600 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed where he finished 5th for $48,914.
Compared to the others on this list Ahuja does not have a lot of overseas live poker experience but despite that, he still managed to perform exceedingly well when he got the chance. We are sure that if he hits the live felts in the upcoming WSOP, he might just bring the next shiny gold bracelet home!
When it comes to live WSOP events, Neel Joshi may be a relatively new face, but he is taking the live felts by storm. The young gun first played in WSOP 2019 where he cashed at Event #19 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Millionaire Maker in 534th for $4,106. However, in WSOP 2021 Joshi came back stronger and cashed in five of the WSOP events he played. Out of these, he even made it to the final table and finished in third place of the Event #86 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Super Turbo for $72,031.
Joshi with his experience of grinding at the WSOP can achieve bigger heights at the upcoming WSOP. If he does join the Indian contingent in WSOP 2022, we are hopeful that Joshi can bring home the prestigious gold bracelet. He’s one of the few Indian players that has had multiple seven-figure online poker cashes including a runner-up finish in the End Boss ₹5 crore GTD on PokerBaazi in April 2020.
So, those were our top five picks! We did come across scores of players who have the potential to bring a WSOP bracelet home, but for our list, these are our top five picks. If you agree or disagree with our list, do let us know in the comments and let us know who your top five are! For more interesting news and updates, keep reading Gutshot Magazine. Follow us on our social handles Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram.
Donna Amo was a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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