Nishant Sharma became the first Indian player to ever finish within the top 50 places of poker’s most celebrated tournament, the WSOP Main Event, landing in 34th place and collecting $230,475 for his efforts.
Sharma was part of a contingent of Indian players who did their country proud in the $10,000 buy-in event, which is recognized worldwide as the poker tournament that carries the greatest amount of prestige. This year’s Main Event boasted the second largest field in WSOP tournament history as 7,874 players entered, creating a prize pool of $74,015,600.

Indian Players Galore

Among those 7,874 entries were Indian players such as Rohan Dhawan and Aditya Sushant, who took seats on Day 1A and made it through to Day 2. The next starting flight, Day 1B, saw four more Indians advance in Rishab Jain, Dharmesh Patel, Jaswinder Suri and Kavin Shah.

The poker tables at the Rio on Day 1C were populated by 20 Indians who successfully advanced to Day 2 action, including Sharma, who was joined by the likes of Paawan Bansal, Nikita Luther and Aditya Agarwal. When the dust had settled after Days 2A, 2B, and 2C, among the players eliminated were Muskan Sethi and Nipun Java, but a dozen Indians remained in the hunt for WSOP fame and glory.

Patel, Bansal and Shah hit the rail on Day 3, followed on Day 4 by six more Team India players. However, the money bubble had popped for the Day 4 finishers, resulting in paydays for Jaideep Sajwan ($23,940 for 589th), Aditya Agarwal ($19,900 for 717th), Rohan Bhasin ($19,900 for 731st), Yudhister Jaswal ($15,920 for 977th), Sriharsha Doddapaneni ($15,920 for 1,057th) and Apoorva Goel ($15,000 for 1,148th).

High Hopes

That left three Indian players who bagged and tagged chips for Day 5 action among 310 players all told. Sharma was joined by Vivek Rughani and Kartik Ved, with all three possessing impressive chip stacks. Ved exited in 128th place and picked up $57,010 for his first ever cash in a WSOP event.

On to Day 6 went Rughani and Sharma, with Vivek’s title run ending in 88th place for $77,695. He became the second Indian player in WSOP Main Event history to finish in the top 100, joining the 71st place finish of PokerStars Team Pro Aditya Agarwal in 2015.

Sharma battled long and hard on Day 6, at one point sitting among the top 10 in chipleaders. He got all his chips in the middle with pocket queens, but watched helplessly as Aram Zobian tabled pocket bullets. When the dealer turned over another ace on the flop, that was all she wrote for Sharma.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance by Nishant that will undoubtedly create more interest in poker throughout India.

As will the performance of Aditya Sushant in the $1,111 Little One For One Drop that is currently underway with 31 players remaining. Sushant sits in the middle of the pack with 1,675,000 chips as of this writing.