Shashank Siddharth wins Main Event at the Ultimate Poker Challenge

Shashank Siddharth

It was back in May this year that two powerhouses from the Indian poker fraternity, India Poker Championship (IPC) and Aces Unlimited, teamed up and brought forth the Ultimate Poker Challenge (UPC).

It returned for its second edition from the 6- 9 September, 2012 at the Pride Poker Room aboard Casino Pride. The UPC weekend also brought with it guarantees of over INR 17,00,000 and also a brand new side event in the 10k Headsup Challenge. It's been a record breaking event of sorts with a triple figure field being achieved after the India Poker Championship event way back in October.

Susmit Patodia, winner of UPC 5k Freezeout
Susmit Patodia, winner of UPC 5k Freezeout

Kicking off the weekend was the INR 5,000 Freezeout which had plenty of new faces turning up for this event. It seems that the players were really looking forward to the UPC weekend as at the close of registrations, there were a total of 104 players who had taken to the felt, which was a new record at the Pride Poker Room, crushing the INR 3,00,000 guarantee along the way easily! The last hand of the night was dealt between Bangalore's Vishy Chellaram and Susmit Patodia, who had come to the final table with a stack of only 5800 chips. From there, he went on to take the chip lead going into the final hand and called Chellaram's all in shove holding {Js4s} with his {K-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}. No shockers on the board {Q-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{7-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} meant that Mumbai's Susmit Patodia would take down the UPC 5k Freezeout, for a score of INR 150,000.

Next up, it was the INR 10,000 Freezeout which had a guaranteed prizepool of INR 4,00,000. Yet again, the players came out in big

Kavin Shah, winner of UPC 10k Freezeout
Kavin Shah, winner of UPC 10k Freezeout

numbers and a total of 83 players entered the tournament, ensuring that first place took home INR 250,000. Battling it out for the big payday were Tejdeep Singh, a newcomer to the tournaments here in Goa and a familiar face in the Indian circuit, Kavin Shah who's been missing from the circuit for a while. But Shah chose a pretty stage to make a comeback. In the final hand, Singh moved all in with his stack of 87,000 holding {Q-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}. He got snap called by Shah who had a 5:1 chip lead holding {A-Hearts}{5-Spades}. Shah made a set with the board reading {5-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{5-Hearts} which was enough to secure him the win and the INR 250,000 payday for besting the field at the UPC 10k Freezeout.

Shashank Siddharth wins Main Event at the Ultimate Poker Challenge 101

The featured event of the weekend was the two day INR 25,000 Main Event. 64 hopefuls took to the tables to try their hand at securing the lion's share of the INR 1,440,000 prizepool. After a long grind, it was Goa tournament regular Shravan Chhabria taking on Bangalore's Shashank Siddharth in the final hand. Chhabria popped it up to 64000 preflop and he got raised all in by his opponent. Chhabria was ahead with his {5-Hearts}{5-Clubs} against Siddharth's {9-Spades}{8-Diamonds}. However, the poker gods had other plans for Chhabria as Siddharth made flopped top pair on a board of {6-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}{J-Clubs} and secured himself of the victory. Along with bragging rights, Siddharth took home the UPC winner's trophy and pocketed a cool INR 460,000 for outlasting the competition at the UPC 25k Main Event.

Shravan Chhabria (2nd), Shashank Siddharth and Dev Acharya (3rd)
Shravan Chhabria (2nd), Shashank Siddharth and Dev Acharya (3rd)

The final event of the UPC weekend was Sunday night's 10k Headsup Challenge. A lot of anticipation by the players for this event and it showed when all seats (this was a 32 seat capped event), were filled out the previous evening itself. Many of the known faces participated in the event and in the end, it was Manipal's Abhinav Aditya who went headsup with Coimbatore's Sanjay Lawrence for the title and first place prize of INR 1,30,000. A good finish for the young man from Manipal and he will be delighted with his outing at the Ultimate Poker Challenge.

Abhinav Aditya, winner of UPC 10k Headsup Challenge
Abhinav Aditya, winner of UPC 10k Headsup Challenge

A good tournament weekend ends with some terrific numbers at a Goa tournament after a fair while. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and we will be expecting similar or even better fields the next time an Ultimate Poker Challenge event comes around. Congratulations to all the winners and money finishers from PokerNews India and in case you missed any of the action, you can catch it all at the live reporting blog.

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