MUMBAI, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --
India's first long-run poker league, Global Poker League (GPL) India has come to an end. The extraordinary journey started with 7,500 online qualifiers competing for a spot in the six city-based teams and following several weeks of nail-biting action, Team Mumbai Jetsetters were crowned the champions.
Led by high stakes cash game boss Kavin Shah, the team roster included wildcard pros - cash game veteran Raman Gujral and online tournament specialist Vivek Singh along with online qualifiers Saurabh Sindhwani and Aneesh Gopinathan. The team performed brilliantly and showed how strategic planning plays an integral role in winning a sports league of this magnitude. The team whitewashed Delhi Diehards in the Playoffs and obliterated Chennai Sharks in the finale to punch their ticket to the PSPC in the Bahamas.
A product of Mediarex, GPL was hosted in India in association with PokerStars India and powered by Socios.com. Though the Season 1 took place last year, due to post-production work to make the product suitable for the television viewing audience, the season was aired on Colors Infinity and Colors Infinity HD from March 9 to April 6.
The final two episodes featured the 'Semi-finals' and 'Grand Finale' and witnessed the final four teams - Mumbai Jetsetters, Chennai Sharks, Bengaluru Hackers, and Delhi Diehards - battle it out for the ultimate prize, the five PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) Platinum Passes worth over ₹1 Crore in total.
Episode 1 to 8 - A Quick Recap
The first four episodes of the season brought TV audiences highlights of the action from the Bootcamp. The six Team Managers - Vikram Kumar (Chennai Sharks), Muskan Sethi (Delhi Diehards), Abhishek Rathod (Pune Alphas), Kavin Shah (Mumbai Jetsetters), Aditya Agarwal (Kolkata Creators) and Vidwath Shetty (Bengaluru Hackers) were tasked with choosing their respective two online qualifiers at the GPL India Bootcamp. The selection process culminated with all team members including the Wild Card pros of each team coming together on stage for the first time on Draft Day where the Team Jerseys were unveiled.
Once the 6 city-based teams were drafted, the GPL India Regular Season kicked off. Episodes 5-8 brought the action from the Regular Season starting with the Manager's Brawl, Qualifiers Showdown, Battle of the Pros and finally the Manager's Finale.
Team Pune Alphas was the first team to get eliminated in Season 1 following a less than desirable run in the Regular Season. Even with Pune Alphas out, the competition did not subside, as two races were going on - for the no. 1 spot in the Regular Season and the no. 4 spot. Chennai Sharks and Mumbai Jetsetters were vying for the top spot while Kolkata Creators and Delhi Diehards were the two teams fighting for the fourth spot. It was Arsh Grover's (Delhi Diehards) phenomenal win over Vivek Singh (Mumbai Jetsetters) during the first 'Battle of the Pros' match that breathed a new life for the Delhi Diehards team and gave them an edge over Kolkata Creators. Aditya Agarwal needed a top-two finish in the Manager's Finale to ensure Kolkata a spot in the Playoffs. Agarwal came very close but suffered a brutal bad beat leading to the team's exit in fifth place.
With Kolkata Creators out of the competition, the remaining four teams started working for the upcoming Semi-finals. Mumbai Jetsetters skyrocketed to the top of the Regular Season leaderboard with 29 points, followed by Chennai Sharks (24 points), Bengaluru Hackers (23 points) and finally Delhi Diehards who were at the bottom of the leaderboard with 17 points.
Episode 9 - The Semi-finals
The top four teams returned for - 'The Semi-finals'. The format for the playoff had the top-most team, Mumbai Jetsetter face the team at the bottom of the Regular Season leaderboard, Delhi Diehards, while the leaderboard runner-up, Chennai Sharks, having to face the team placed third on the leaderboard, Bengaluru Hackers in a best of three heads-up matches. The team on top enjoyed a distinct advantage as players from Mumbai Jetsetters started off with 50,000 in chips against the Delhi Diehards that had to make do with a starting stack of 35,000. Similarly, Chennai Sharks entered each Semi-finals match with a starting stack of 45,000 against the Bengaluru Hackers' 40,000.
With the four teams divided into two groups, each group played best of three heads-up matches where the Team Managers were required to nominate a member from their team before each game. An interesting stipulation to the format was that the Team Managers had to ensure all their players played before any repetition was allowed. This required Team Managers to put their thinking caps on as this rule carried over the Finals as well, requiring Team Managers to decide whether to send in their stronger players in the Semi-finals or to save them for the Finals.
Match 1: First up was the heads-up match between Mumbai Jetsetters and Delhi Diehards. Muskan Sethi nominated online qualifier Ajitesh Bhargava, while Kavin Shah decided to lead from the front and nominated himself. Shah won their match comfortably and Mumbai Jetsetters took an early lead in playoffs.
Match 2: The second semi-final match pitted wildcard pro Ashish Munot (Chennai Sharks) against online qualifier Arun Sriram (Bengaluru Hackers). The more experienced Munot, whose team also had a chip advantage coming in with a starting stack of 45,000, easily overpowered Sriram and secured the win for Chennai Sharks.
Match 3: The third match saw Delhi and Mumbai return to the felts. This time, Delhi's wildcard pro Niharika Bindra locked horns with Mumbai's online qualifier Saurabh Sindhwani. Niharika was the more experienced pro but received a brutal bad beat and Mumbai Jetsetters became the first team to qualify for the Grand Finale.
Match 4: The next game of the semi-finals was between online tournament specialist Rahul Melwani and Chennai Sharks' online qualifier Mithun Kookkiri. Melwani found early success in the match but Kookkiri clawed his way back and defeated Melwani, booking Chennai Sharks' seat in the finals.
Episode 10 - Grand Finale
In the much-awaited climax, the two finalist teams - Mumbai Jetsetters and Chennai Sharks battled in a best of five heads-up match format to determine the winner. With the chance to participate in the biggest-ever $25K buy-in event, the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), hanging in the balance, the race to the finish line intensified.
Match 1: The first match had two veteran poker pros butt heads. From Chennai Sharks, PLO specialist Gaurav Gala took his seat at the table and was met with the cash game expert Raman Gujral from the Mumbai Jetsetters. Gujral started strong and shortly took the game away from Gala winning the first match for Mumbai.
Match 2: The second finale match-up had Mumbai Jetsetters at a disadvantage as Aneesh Gopinathan, who was perhaps their weakest link was up against the Manager of the Chennai Sharks - Vikram 'Lungi' Kumar. It was never going to be easy for Gopinathan to win the match and as expected, Kumar dominated the former with his intimidating table talk and superior skills. Though it was a short match, Kumar's antics on the table certainly ensured that it was the most entertaining one. Kumar's win meant that Chennai Sharks was now on an even standing with Mumbai Jetsetters.
Match 3: Due to the stipulation that the teams have to play all their players once before any player can be repeated resulted in the third match seeing the tables being turned on the Chennai Sharks as their online qualifier Suyog H now had to face off Mumbai's online tournament specialist Vivek Singh.
Singh won the match and it was now a do-or-die situation for Chennai Sharks.
Match 4: In this dire time of crisis, Chennai Sharks decided to lean on the supremely talented Ashish Munot. Though Munot was a skillful player, it was still a tough situation, primarily since he was to play the Mumbai Jetsetters Team Manager - Kavin Shah.
Shah showed why he is considered one of the top-most players in the country and whisked the win away from Munot and with that, the Team Mumbai Jetsetters was crowned as the champions of GPL India Season 1.
The Global Player League is a competitive gaming, poker and esports league with 30 teams all over the world. The GPL began life as the Global Poker League, promoting poker as a skilled game and sport. In 2017, it was transformed into the Global Player League, with a new focus on sportifying a multitude of new and emerging titles within the competitive gaming ecosystem today. The Global Player League is a trading name of Mediarex Group, a global sports and entertainment organisation, founded in Malta in 2012. Global Poker Index, Global Poker League, Global Player League, 'We Sportify Poker', and 'The Cube', are registered trademarks of Mediarex Group in the U.S. and other territories.
For further information:
PR & Communications Director
GPL India Events Co-ordinator
SOURCE GPL India