A slept through alarm, a chance meeting three years ago and the most unlikely turn-river combination provided the backdrop for one of the most stunning victories in World Series Poker history last week. Unheralded Team India defeated a field of 843 top teams to earn victory in the $1,000 Tag Team No Limit Hold’em event, earning themselves the equivalent of 9,699,516 Rupees.
With that victory, which earned them a prize of $150,637, the two players on Team India became the first ever players from the subcontinent to earn themselves a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet. Furthermore, it is confirmation that the poker boom, which has been blooming in India for many years now, is starting to make its presence felt at the highest level of the game.
Yet the story behind this unlikely success is a somewhat unusual one and indeed, had events transpired as they should have done, Team India may well have seen a very different pair of players in the event.
All about Team India and how they achieved victory
In the Tag Team No Limit Hold’em event, Team India comprised of Indian-born Nipun Java, a well-known face on the Los Angeles poker scene who has been living and working as a poker professional in the United States for the past 12 years. His partner was Aditaya Sushant, the man who played through to victory at the final table, yet it could have been very different.
After their win, Java explained how Team India came to partner up.
“This was a last-minute call for us to team up,” stated Java.
“I had another teammate drop out because he couldn’t wake up on time, otherwise we wouldn’t be a team and who knows what would’ve happened.”
After his initial partner’s inability to wake up with his alarm clock, Java turned to a player he had first met three years previously and been impressed with his play. Back then, Aditaya Sushant had come to America from India, where he still lives, with a group of poker-playing friends to experience what it was like to play in the US. It was on this trip that Java and Sushant met up and forged a friendship that would eventually pay dividends.
So when Java called up Sushant to see if he would join forces as Team India for the Tag Team No Limit Hold’em event, Sushant readily accepted.
In the team event, teams are free to select which player plays at the table and when. There are no hard and fast rules about which player must play when and while some teams devise a strategy to allow players rest-breaks or to capitalise on certain players skills in certain situations, Team India adopted a different approach.
With Java playing at the final table, it was only when the more experienced player needed a toilet break that he leapt up and allowed his partner to sit at the table. Sushant took over and the rest is now a part of poker history.
It is unfair to say that Team India won this event on the final day alone. In truth, over the first couple of days Sushant and in particular Java, had accumulated the highest number of chips of all teams in the tournament thanks to some stellar play in the early rounds. This led to them heading into the final table with the chip lead and in a strong position.
When Java left for his bathroom break, Sushant took over at the table four-handed and slowly he battled his way through, eliminating the next two teams to increase their chip stack considerably until it was just Sushant and David Guay (who partnered with Pablo Mariz) at the table.
However the final hand would prove to be as dramatic as any in the event. Sushant, who had been playing aggressively with the larger chip stack, went All In with Ace – Eight only to be called by Guay (who also went All In) who held King-Queen.
The flop revealed two Queens amongst the three cards, making Sushant a massively long odds shot to win the hand and potentially offering their opponents a chance to get back into the game by doubling through.
Speaking after the event, Sushant even joked when he saw the flop “What was going through my mind? That I needed to hit two aces back-to-back”
Yet incredibly, the turn revealed the first of the two aces Sushant needed to win the pot and then on the river, fate intervened once again to see another ace land face up on the table. After this stunning victory, Sushant could barely conceal his joy and sprinted into the crowd to celebrate Team India’s fantastic victory.
While his partner Java had played a crucial role in helping Team India into a position of strength at the final table, he also paid tribute to Sushant’s play over the final few hands.
“I think he played phenomenal four-handed and three-handed. The aggression was spot on.”
“It’s amazing…An amazing feeling. I’m so happy to be with a fellow Indian to have won something.”
Sushant was equally ecstatic with the win “It was destiny” he remarked after winning.
“It was meant to be. I am so happy that he is a friend of mine. For two of us Indians to get it done, it’s really big.”
Java also revealed the importance for fellow Indian players to see two Indian poker players winning big at the WSOP.
“I’m actually way more stoked for fellow Indian guys that have come from India. I hope this can really leap from them into the limelight and motivate them to win more. I think it it’s a big stepping stone in the right direction.”
So who will be the next big name Indian poker star to strike it big at the World Series of Poker, could it even be you?
What game did Team India play in the WSOP Tag Team Event?
Team India played the most popular form of tournament poker No Limit Texas Hold’em. This is the game that is played at most top tournaments around the world and it is also massively popular in online poker rooms.
As the name suggests, there is no limit on the betting and you receive two cards per hand (your hole cards). After each round of betting the flop (three community cards), the turn and the river are displayed and a final round of betting takes place. The final player who does not fold, or who has the highest ranked hand after revealing their cards at the end of the hand, is the winner and takes the pot.
No Limit Texas Hold’em is one of the simplest to learn and most exciting forms of poker and if you fancy trying your hand at becoming the next Indian poker star, it is the game you should target first.
Where can I play No Limit Texas Hold’em online?
If you are looking for somewhere to play online that offers the best quality No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker in the world, then look no further than Bet365 Poker. You can sign up with the brand new Bet365 Bonus Code India available right now. Indian players have a fantastic choice of games to play, both for smaller stakes and big money events and there are a huge number of exciting promotions and offers you can participate in every month, some with big money prizes.