There are now just 10 players remaining in the INR 50,000 APT Asian Series Goa Main Event after a 48 players went to war for Day 2 of the tournament at Casino Royale. Come bag up time, the player with the most chips was Sweden’s Martin Nilsson who will carry 347,000 with him to the final table.
Nilsson entered today as second in chips behind Varun Vimal’s monster stack. But some early bluff attempts saw the aggressive Vimal gradually spew off his stack until he shipped it all in against Rohit Sekhsaria preflop holding K♠ J♠ but was called by a dominating K♣ K♦. While Sekhsaria won that encounter, a few hands later he woke up with Pocket Kings again but crashed them into Nilsson’s Pocket Aces. The hand eliminated Sekhsaria and meant Nilsson was the first player to pass the 200k chip mark.
Finishing the day only just behind Nilsson is last year’s Main Event runner-up Sameer Rattonsey on 325,000. His monumental effort of making two back-to-back Main Event final tables makes a bold statement of where he stands in India poker. However, he didn’t get there today without a little fortune going his way in cruelly dispatching of bubble boy Astad Randeria.
On a flop of 7♦ 10♠ 7♥, Rattonsey check-raised Randeria all-in to put his opponent to the test. Randeria still had 47,500 behind him but had put over half of his stack in the middle already. With K♦ K♥, he made the right call to be ahead of Rattonsey’s A♣ 10♣ but, while the turn was a blank 4♠, the river was the A♥ to send Randeria home in disappointment and give Rattonsey the chip lead at the time.
One player who also had his share of being in the chip lead was Rahul Byraju. His key hand came, surprisingly, with J♣ 4♥ after he three-bet Arindam Mukherjee’s UTG raise as the next player to act. Mukherjee called and then led out heavily to bet all three streets on a board of 3♥ 9♥ J♦ Q♠ 8♠ culminating in an all-in. The big river bet would have decimated Byraju’s stack but he made the call anyway with just second pair and a poor excuse for a kicker to win the pot from Mukherjee’s 6♥ 6♦ bluff.
Then, late in the day, Byraju took a beat that left him with just one yellow chip worth 1000 when blinds were at 2000/4000 with a 500 ante. But that didn’t stop him from winning the next several hands and more to miraculously put himself back in contention. He went on to secure his final table spot with a 119,500 stack, which is well ahead of two shorter stacks. Should Byraju win tomorrow, it will surely be the most amazing comeback story of tournament poker we’ve ever witnessed.
Standing in his way is a number of other top players who have proved themselves worthy to make the final table. Chief perhaps among them is Aditya “Intervention” Agarwal who currently sits third in chips and is a well-known poker player and identity in India. The final table line up tomorrow will be:
Seat 1: Rahul Byraju (India) 119,500
Seat 2: Nikhil Maheswari (India) 207,500
Seat 3: Manan Khetan (India) 161,500
Seat 4: Sameer Rattonsey (India) 325,000
Seat 5: Hisashi Ogi (Japan) 100,500
Seat 6: Aditya Agarwal (India) 284,000
Seat 7: Ravi Goel (India) 225,000
Seat 8: Sonu Singh (India) 121,000
Seat 9: Martin Nilsson (Sweden) 347,000
Seat 10: Prabhat Mukherjea (India) 73,500
Those players who didn’t make it to the end but bowed out in the money today included Ben Abrahams (11th place, INR 100,000), Kristian Faering (13th place, INR 83,000) and Day 1B chip leader Rishabh Jhunjhunwala (14th place, INR 83,000).
APT Asian Series Goa news is provided by Indian poker news site Fundoo Poker. Head to their Day 2 Live Updates to see the hand highlights and catch all the final table action there from 5pm Sunday, May 27.
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