Finally, the highly anticipated one of kind event, Match IPL’s (Match Indian Poker League) inaugural event concluded at the posh venue of Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai on Saturday. The inaugural season had an action-filled poker event that ran for two days and headlined the poker news in India. The atmosphere was comparable to any other national level championship of sporting event with intense tensions, great excitement and the pride of the name of the city in line with the teams in contention.
Raj and Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Match Indian Poker League is a regulated sporting event in poker promoted by Raj Kundra’s Viaan Industries Ltd and supported by the International Federation of Poker (IFP). This is a unique poker tournament which was backed and approved by both the IFP as well as the Indian Federation.
To further enhance the truly sport side of poker, the players were made to compete in teams and the race to win maximum points instead of cash. The whole tournament took place on a computer app just like any other major video game tournament and was electronically controlled. The registered players representing each team played on a device against others and the one with highest points at the end of the set rounds went on to win the event.
A total of seven teams representing different cities just like in cricket played for two days straight in intense poker actions to grab the winning prize money of a whopping INR 2.5 crores. Moreover, the winning team is to get a chance to represent India at the Match Poker World Cup dated to be held in Oxford, England just next month.
Total 200 hands were played i.e. 100 hands each day, with eight sessions played in two days. At the close of Day 1 of the event Harman Baweja’s Star-studded team aptly named Mumbai All Stars were in the lead at the finish of Day 1 of the tournament.
The Mumbai team had a talented line-up of glitterati including the owner himself Harman Baweja, along with Abhishek Jalan, Nikunj Jhunjhunwala, Pratibha Arya, Sacheen Ramchandani, Anita Hassandani Reddy, Ronak Gidwani, Siddharth Anand, Keenan Tham and Jagdeep Singh.
The second day witnessed even more intense poker action as the different teams kept climbing up and down the leaderboard. It seemed to be anyone’s game as the event was down to the wires with teams fighting it out with the zeal of a champion. At the end of Day 2 the Mumbai All Stars team stood as the winner bagging the hefty prize pool by showcasing their right mix of skill, strategy and understanding of the finer nuances of the mind sport of poker. They narrowly beat Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal’s Jaipur Jewels, and Yatin Gupta’s Ahmedabad Hearts who respectively stood at the second and third position respectively.
As the black jersey clad Mumbai All Stars team erupted with cheers and hugs the winners were declared at the end of the last hand of Day 2 which was a cinematic end to an intense sporting event. The first prize went to the All Stars team of INR 1.25 crores, Jaipur Jewels won a total of INR 75 Lakhs as first runner up and Ahmedabad Hearts bagged the cash prize of INR 50 Lakhs for finishing second runner-up. After the conclusion of this unique there was a star studded after-party at the Theory at Kamala Mills.
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