They say sports is the ultimate leveler. Doesn’t matter who you are, or what your background is, as long as you’ve got the talent and the skill to shine in a particular game or sport, you’re likely to make a name for yourself at the upper echelons of the game. And competitive sports takes that even further, as it brings in the oh-so-sweet element of prize money. A nobody can become somebody overnight, as the points are tallied. That’s exactly what happened as the first edition of the National Poker Series recently concluded.
The tournament, organized by India’s renowned gaming tech group, Baazi Games, recorded a whopping 83,793 entries from across the country and the winners took home a staggering prize pool of INR 19,41,87,773.
Hosted on PokerBaazi.com with full online fanfare, the 15-day series saw 64 gold medalists, and 128 silver and bronze medal winners.
The ultimate poker maestros who etched their names permanently in the record books as the winners of the main-event are:
Gold: Mohammad Azhar Tak, 23 (Rajasthan)
Silver: Ashwani Vishwakarma, 27 (Satna, Madhya Pradesh)
Bronze: Player ‘think_again’, 29
Golden Rush, the biggest event of the National Poker Series, saw 19,249 entries and it turned out to be an amazing platform for discovering hidden poker talents from across India. Here are the winners from that event:
Gold: Vivek Bajaj, 34 (Ranchi, Jharkhand)
Silver: Player ‘neha 94’, 27
Bronze: Sumit Sapra, 42 (Mohali, Punjab)
The NPS witnessed its ultimate battle on July 3rd, on Night of Champions, where the final 6 players from the series showcased an exemplary performance at the felts, each competing with some of India's finest!
The top two winners to take home INR 7 Lakhs & INR 3 Lakhs respectively were:
Winner: Mohammad Azhar Tak, 23 (Rajasthan)
Runner-Up: Kunal Patni (Mumbai)
All in all, the National Poker Series was a huge success, as it clearly proved that poker is not only supremely popular in India, but there are many players across the length and breadth of the country who have the skills and the potential to take poker up as a full-time gig.
The founder and CEO of Baazi Games, Mr Navkiran Singh had this to say on the undisputed success of the first ever National Poker Series -
“We are overjoyed with the immense enthusiasm and love that the poker patrons across the nation have showcased during this 15-days gala. The National Poker Series, hosted on PokerBaazi.com ended on a high note as we witnessed exponential audience participation which crossed our anticipated mark and unveiled some hidden gems and marvels who excel in the game of poker. Moreover, the success of the series is a testament of our efforts towards pivoting the perception of poker in India as a skill-based game that provides an opportunity to challenge the human mind. I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and diligence that has gone behind, by our teams to ensure the success of this tournament. As we conclude the debut-edition of NPS, we are already geared up to start planning for the next season and bring some exciting opportunities to the table.”
But that’s not all! The podium finishers of the NPS - Mohammad Azhar Tak, 23 (Rajasthan), Ankit Wadhawan, 29 (Chandigarh, Punjab) and Kritagya Sharma, 24 (New Delhi), who won the gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively, will be representing India at an international platform in one of the biggest poker events of the world to be conducted in Las Vegas.
Here’s wishing them the very best, as they start preparing for the upcoming poker tournaments!