Mukul Pahuja to Take Up Poker Professionally

April 12, 2014

Mukul Pahuja is a poker professional who is leading the World Poker Tour Player of the Year Race. In his three-year stint in live tournaments so far, he has amassed over $1.2 million. Last year, he won the third place in the Seminole HardRock Poker Open $10 Million Guarantee. This year has brought him more luck as he was the runner-up in the WPT Montreal and placed fourth in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars. He also bagged the eighth place in the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.

In fact, in the WPT Bay tournament, Pahuja stepped into the finals all set to cash in on the second WPT final of his career. He turned up as the chipleader at the final, but didn’t find luck on his side and ended up fourth. The main event of the 2014 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star saw a whopping 718 entries, and by the final day, that had come down to six players battling it out for the first place. Apart from the two WPT events (Lucky Hearts and Bay 101) where he performed handsomely, Pahuja is also a serious contender for the 2014 Global Poker Index Player of the Year race.

Pahuja’s Shift from the Finance World

Vinny Ahuja was one among the many young people who jumped into the world of finance on Wall Street. Working for the Lehman Brothers was a dream-come-true for him. However, when the markets began to take a downward spiral, he opted out to jump into an even more high-risk profession, poker. His younger brother, Mukul Pahuja, was also doing well in the finance world. He studied hard for four years, at the Penn State University where hegraduated. Later, he became a junior trader, but soon a job at the Bank of America beckoned.

In fact, Mukul pursued finance only after seeing his brother’s success, but soon enough, his brother was a full-time poker player. Vinny did pretty well, earning a little less than $800,000 in his first two years as a pro. Mukul’s interest in finance started dipping around the same time too, and he began to take an interest in poker. He used up every day off from work, every weekend to play a tournament or a cash game. Every weekend, he would take a bus to either Foxwoods or Atlantic City for poker games, while in the summer, he went up to Las Vegas to play at the World Series.

Towards the end of 2009, Pahuja won the fourth place in the main event of the World Series Circuit Harrah’s Atlantic City. In another three days’ time, he took another day off from work to play in another game, bagging $51,169. The Atlantic City event had fetched him $73,347, and he was realizing that he had to bid his finance job goodbye.

Pahuja Storms into Poker Rankings

The BLUFF poker player power rankings for the week ending March 31, showed one newcomer – Mukul Pahuja, who has come in at the 20th position. These rankings give a true picture of any player’s performance over a two-year timeframe. With 21 final tables in his career, and five wins, Pahuja has made his presence felt in the rankings as well. He was ranked 61st in the 2013 Poker Player of the Year.

The Global Poker Index or GPI ranks poker players performing in live tourneys. These players are given rankings on a weekly basis, on the back of their performances in qualifying tourneys over the last 36 months. Their cash positions are measured as part of the rankings, with the cash position defining a situation where a player wins a part of the overall prize for their performance in any event.

The ranking list for any week includes the top 300 players who have done well in tournaments. Various criteria such as buy in, age of an event are all taken into account before coming up with the overall ranking. Pahuja finds himself in 24th place in the Global Poker Index ranking. Other rankings include 385th place on the All Time Money List, 245th in the United States All Time Money List, the 23rd place in the New York All Time Money List.

Pahuja is certainly a power to reckon with in the world of professional poker, if one looks at the various rankings and lists. His total earnings in live games stand at $2,267,241, handsome earnings for someone who quit the world of finance and took his chances at poker.

Day 3 of EPT Vienna

April 9, 2014

The PokerStars European Poker Tour is a renowned series of poker tournements played across Europe, and are hosted in the continent’s legendary cities. The event began in 2004 and is now into its tenth season. The March 23-29 leg of the tournament was hosted in Vienna. The following are the earlier tourneys held in Season 10 and the players who won them. The figure in the brackets indicates the prize money for each leg of the season.

  • EPT Barcelona: Tom Middleton (€942,000)

  • EPT London: Robin Ylitalo (£560,980)

  • EPT Prague: Julian Track (€725,700)

  • 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at Paradise Island: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096)

  • EPT Deauville: Sotirios Koutoupas (€614,000)

The next two events after Vienna will be held at Sanremo and Monte Carlo, which will host the grand finale.

As on Day Three of the EPT Vienna, Pablo Gordillo Caballero was the chip leader with 2,111,000 worth of chips. The others who were hanging by a thread on Day Three were Stephen Chidwick, Jude Ainsworth, Johnny Lodden and Marcel Luske. By the end of the day, 50 players stayed on course to compete for the first place which will earn the player a prize money of €816,000. The other players who gathered a good collection of chips on the day were Miltiadis Kyriakides (1,034,000), Simeon Naydenov (1,040,000) and Timo Pfutzenreuter (1,065,000).

Hansen, Blom bust on day 3

Viktor Blom is the youngest of the pros at Full Tilt Poker and is one of the most promising players in the world of poker. He has dominated several games in the past under the name ‘Isildur1’ and the 20-year-old player revealed his identity only in early 2011. He won the 100K Super High event as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event in 2012. He is known for his innovations and dynamism. During his avatar as Isildur1, he was known as an extremely dangerous foe and tested his opponents rather too much.

Gus Hansen came into Vienna not very confident because things have not been working very well for this Danish player on the cash games and Full Tilt front. EPT Monaco and the World Poker Series to be held in Las Vegas were very much on his horizon as he came into Vienna.

The 40-year-old Danish was the first player to win three WPT open tourneys between 2002 and 2003, and was also part of the Walk of Fame (World Poker Tour). Hansen, who is also into backgammon, racquetball and even tennis, is one of the most well-liked of poker professionals.

However, both the players, Blom and Hansen were booted out of the EPT Vienna on Day Three. Blom finished in the 77th position, while Full Tilt pro Hansen was placed at 71.

The other notable players to bite dust on the day were Sam Trickett, Alexey Makariv, Jeff Rossiter, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Bertrand Grospellier, Henrique Pinho, Alexander Kravchenko and Jasper Wetemans.

Pablo Gordillo’s success on the third day

On the third day, the man who was in the best position to stake a claim to the grand prize was Pablo Gordillo, who won the lead at Level 18. This was when Portuguese player Michel Dattani tried a trick that dented his prospects at the tournament. Gordillo ended up making a good call and Dattani had to lose out.

On day three, a list of 910 players was pruned down to 56 players, with the Spanish Gordillo calling the shots. This PokerStars qualifying player had a little over $3k as part of his tournament winnings till date, and was all set to lead the 53 players into the fourth day’s proceedings.

Gordillo remains a bit of an enigma, with little information about his techniques and his personality. His past winnings include the third place in a side event that was held as part of the Estrellas Poker Tour in Madrid early last year, where he collected a prize money of €2,421. This 20-year-old is known to be an aggressive player, and this EPT is his very first. He qualified by way of PokerStars.es, the Spanish version of PokerStars.com

Among the most promising players to come from Spain are Aido or Mateos Diaz, both known to be among the world’s very best. If Gordillo managed to make a mark on day three by leading the listings, he could be among the very best. Spain’s hopes of producing its first EPT winner lie on the shoulders of these three men. 

JC Tran Wins Second WPT Title at Rolling Thunder

March 31, 2014

The launch of World Poker Tour in 2003saw a revolution in televised poker as there was a renewed interest in Texas Hold’em. Since then, there has been a substantial increase in the poker audience as televised poker events by WPT are both informative and educative. The expert commentary and a deft use of poker lingo by WPT hosts Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten have been instrumental in familiarizing newbies with the game.  Read more

Jared Jaffe Leads the WPT Jacksonville Bestbet Open Day Two

March 24, 2014

The second day of the WPT Jacksonville Bestbet Open was filled with a lot of heartbreaking results and tight finishes. In the last few hands of the day, almost seven players were eliminated one hand after the other. There was no surprise that the reigning champion of the WPT Jacksonville Bestbet open, Jared Jaffe, was leading the pack, going into the third day of the event. He currently holds 776,000 chips and is followed by Jordan Cristos (699,000), Nghia Le (604,000), Bryan Irish-Jones (573,00), Sean Winter (552,000) and Nabil Hirezi (520,000). The winner of the event will earn a place at the WPT Champions Cup. Read more

Bernard Lee Wins Inaugural RunGoodGear Main Event

March 12, 2014

Downstream Casino Resort, Quapaw, Oklahoma was the venue for the RunGoodGear.com’s inaugural poker event which had a buy in of $675. The prize pool of $100,000 was almost doubled as nearly 344 players entered the tournament. Bernard Lee, Team Run Good member emerged as the final winner of the competition and took home $47,555 and secured a seat for himself in the World Series of Poker, 2014. Read more

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