The Delhi Panthers has won Season 1 of India’s Poker Sports League securing $225,000 in prize money, with the CEO and co-founder, Pranav Bagai, vowing to return for a second season.
Is the Poker Sports League (PSL) anything more than a caricature of the Global Poker League (GPL)?
Only time will tell, but the game of poker in India has just been lifted into a Batman-style spotlight after the PSL completed their first Season, and by all accounts, it was a spectacular success.
For five days, 12 teams, consisting of a mentor, two local pros, two live qualifiers, two online qualifiers, and two wild card entries, battled it out in the Deltin Casino Royale in Goa in a broad range of games such as turbo events, freezeouts, and heads-up Hold’em and Omaha.
The winners of the leaderboard style contest were the Delhi Panthers who earned Rs 1.15 crores (approx. USD$225,000). The Mumbai Anchors picked up Rs. 1 crore (approx. USD$150,000) for finishing second. The Kolkata Royals earned Rs. 50 lakhs (Approx. $75,000) for their third place finish. The Punjab Bluffers picked up Rs. 35 lakhs for finishing fourth (Approx. USD$52,500)
Here is the winning team:
Rishi Kajaria of Kajaria Ceramics
Ruchirans Jaipura from the Jaipura Group
Abhishek Jain from Leela Jewels
Gaurav Goal from Dhampur Sugar
The Mentor & Players
Mentor: Akash Malik
Malik has earned over $200,000 in live tournament earnings. His highest score was $55,451 when he finished fifth in the 2014 Macau Poker Cup. Malik has also made the final table of the Sunday Million and Super Tuesday on PokerStars.
The Pros: Aman Dhamija & Vinod Megalmani
Live Qualifiers: Akshay Nasa & Samay Nodi
Online Qualifiers: Kunal Bhatia & Prashant Bhutoria
Wild Cards: Dhruv Patel & Eric Riise
The event attracted a few heavyweights in the form of wildcards.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Calvin Lee and Libratus opponent Dong Kim featured for the Bengaluru Jokers. Former PokerStars Team Pro Bryan Huang and the 2015 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) runner-up Thomas Ward featured for Goan Nuts.
The former Norwegian Championship winner and Macau Poker Cup winner Henrik Tollefsen starred for the Gujarat Acers. Gazillion time winner of the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Player of the Year award Sam Razavi represented the Kings Hyderabad. And Jordan ‘JWProdigy’ Westmorland competed for the Kolkata Royals.
The Japanese star Akira Ohyama earned a spot with the Punjab Bluffers, and the duo of Muskan Sethi and partypoker’s Patrick Leonard featured for the Rajasthan Tilters.
And not only were the teams soaked in quality but the decision to appoint Mel Judah as Tournament Director (TD) was also an inspired choice. Judah has over $3.6m in live tournament earnings and has shared table space with the likes of Stu Ungar and Doyle Brunson.
Pranav Bagai, CEO and Co-Founder of the PSL told the local press that he was sure the league would return for a second season.
Writing on his personal Facebook page about the first season, Sam Razavi, thanked Pranav Bagai for an awesome first season and expressed his view that the PSL has the potential to grow into something absolutely HUGE in the coming years!
If anyone can do it, it’s those sport crazy people from India.