Pranav Bagai claims inaugural Casino Royale Cup

  • Lavanya Desai
Image courtesy: PokerStars

Pranav Bagai was last man standing in a field of 43 players at the INR 50,000 Main Event at the recently concluded Casino Royale Cup for a payday of INR 8,12,000.

The Casino Royale Cup took place from 21-24 June and besides the Main Event, had 3 side events. The event kicked off on Thursday evening with an INR 15,000 DeepStack tournament which was a warmup to the Main Event starting the following day.
A smallish field of 25 players participated in this Deep Stack tournament which saw Uday Patil and Ashley Cowin go headsup against each other with Patil holding a huge chip advantage. The last hand of the tournament saw Cowin move in with {8-Hearts}{8-Spades} and Patil had no hesitation calling with {A-Clubs}{10-Clubs}. An ace in the window and on 5th street meant that Uday won the 15k event with a set of Aces taking home a first place prize of INR 150,000 and the trophy.

The turnout for that first event was a bit of an indicator about the numbers for the Main Event starting Friday which would see 18 online qualifiers who had come from PokerStars. About half of this number actually turned up and the rest was dead money bringing the final count for the Main Event to 43 players. Amongst these qualifiers was Team PokerStars Asia pro Bryan Huang who came along with some other players from Singapore as well.
The man to beat was Pranav Bagai who stormed into the lead halfway through the day and continued to hold onto it till the end of Day 1. While this Main Event was supposed to be a 3-day event culminating on Sunday evening, the reduced numbers meant that it was more than likely to finish up late on Saturday itself. In the poker world it is sometimes unusual for things to happen exactly as planned but Bagai must have pleased the poker gods in some way because he continued his good form into Day 2 steadily building his stack even as he was knocking out players from the main event. His final victim was first runner-up Adolfo Rodriguez who shoved with {K-Hearts}{6-Diamonds} against Bagai's {A-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}. {4-Hearts}{3-Spades}{10-Clubs}{7-Hearts} on the board still had Bagai on a comfortable 4:1 lead. Rodriguez fails to hit his gutshot draw on the river {A-Spades} and with a pair of Aces, Pranav Bagai takes all of the chips in play and the inaugural Casino Royale Cup Main Event title.

Sunday was to host two side events - the INR 12,000 Bounty and the INR 250,000 Highrollers event. The end of the weekend saw a further dip in the numbers with just 21 players for the bounty event. Paul Hockin went up against Terry Plummer when it was down to headsup. Plummer in trying to steal the blinds moves all-in with {10-Hearts}{5-Hearts} but Hockin's {Q-Hearts}{J-Diamonds} has him dominated till the flop of {5-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}{A-Clubs} gives Plummer the lead. But it is a shortlived one as the turn {Q-Clubs} pairs his Queen and with nary a Jack or 5 to save him on the river {K-Diamonds}, Paul Hockin takes down the 12k Bounty event and leaves with a prize of INR 85,000 for his efforts.
The 250k Highrollers did not take place presumably due to the lack of numbers for this event.

So a pretty good weekend for Pranav Bagai who will feel a lot more better after this performance, his biggest tournament score till date, coming on the back of an admittedly disappointing run in the Asian Poker Tour a few weeks before. PokerNews India extends its congratulations to Pranav on his win and wish him the best for the future.

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