When it comes to poker, Poker Sports League (PSL), a dream team of poker veterans is destined to take the game of poker to a new level. The league offers a series of skill testing poker qualifiers which lead up to a scintillating finale. This season, like the last will see season’s culmination in Goa, with 11 teams fighting purely on the basis of their skills for a whopping prize money of Rs 3.6 crore. The 11 teams finalised are Bengaluru Warriors, Delhi Panthers, Goan Nuts, Gujarat Falcons, Kolkata Kings, Punjab Bluffers, Mumbai Anchors, Pune Sharks, Rajasthan Tilters, Andhra Bullets & Chennai Thalaivas, as per a press statement.
Amit Burman, one of the co-founders of PSL commented, ” Like a proud parent, it’s extremely overwhelming to see the kind of response the league is garnering over the last 2 years, from National as well as International players. Teams have picked renowned names in the industry as their wild card entries & I’m sure with this kind of participation, the interest rates are going to multiply manifold. PSL was brought to existence to provide poker lovers a unified platform & in order to fuel this evolution it’s imperative that we get the best of the best on board.”
Poker Sports League offers a format which will have each team comprising a total of 10 players, with one mentor or the playing captain, two pro-players, two from free live qualifiers, three from free online qualifiers and two wild-card entries.
PSL has garnered its share of popularity not only in India but even outside which became evident when it opened its wild card entries for Season 2 & the requests came pouring in from every nook & corner of the world. To validate this popularity & elevate PSL to a level of any international platform, among other popular names, Martin Jacobson, one of the most popular live tournament players in the world, was picked by Delhi Panthers, winners of PSL Season 1, as their wild card entry to brighten their chances & continue the trend of winning the league.
Martin a Swedish professional poker player, originally from Stockholm, Sweden, currently residing in London, England. In 2014, he won the World Series of Poker Main Event for $10,000,000, the fifth largest single payout in poker tournament history.
Delhi Panthers, had also set their eyes set on another international sensation, Terry Fan, the winner of Red Dragon Main Event 2013 who pursued an Un-Traditional route in his career & got him as their second wild entry. This Asian Professional Poker started shipping tournaments in Asia just after his graduation from the Northwestern University & has earned an enormous success in Live MTTs and 2 FTs at the WSOP.
Andhra Bullets announced Sparrow Cheung as their wild card who started in 2009 & is ‘Guinness World Record Holder’ for the highest number of ITM finishes in the professional live Poker tournaments in a calendar year with 67 ITM. With multiple titles under his belt including APT Cebu & Jeju Highroller champion, ACOP $15000 Champion, ACOP Manila Highroller champion, WSOP #66 6th place, EPT Prague Super Hyper Turbo champion, MPC $50,000 Highroller champion, & Suncity Cup main event 2nd place.
This sure doesn’t mean PSL teams do not rely much on in house talent, as other teams have roped in the talented pool of Indian Poker champions. Eka Vedantham, a 23 year old, who has been playing Poker since 2015 & has a knack for it. In a very short span of time, he has been able to crush multiple online MTTs. The fact that he had never worked a job and solely survived off a poker income, makes him stand out & is unarguably, a right choice for Gujarat Falcons for their wild card entry.
Mumbai Anchors too are in for some serious competition this time with Haresh Kukreja who discovered Poker on Facebook and has been crushing it since then. With excellent performances in DPT Sept 2017, DPT ME April 2017, APT Philippines 2015, and tournaments like KH$4500 MPC 2014, HK$ 15,000 APPT 2014 Asia Championship of Poker, he is all set to crush his opponents at PSL finale.
Another hidden gem, Kalyan Chakravarthy, playing for Chennai Thalaivas started playing Poker in his college days. Hailing from Bengaluru, he started playing cash games after his graduation and won many local tournaments and Domestic & International circuits.
With such stunning line up even Rajasthan Tilters could not keep themselves away from getting one in their team & booked Sriharsha Doddapaneni as their wild card entrant. With approximately $800000 in earnings, he has won almost all the major MTTs on Indian poker sites. He is also the first winner of Destiny series and bagged a sponsorship for playing 2018 WSOP Main event.
To add to the excitement, Danny Mcdonagh, who has been looped in as the tournament director for the current season, has played an integral role in the growth of poker in the Asia-Pacific region. At the helm of every major tournament at Crown Melbourne from opening day through the 2007 Aussie Millions, Danny moved on to become APPT Tournament Director and then Director of PokerStars’ extensive live poker operations for the Asia-Pacific. Danny joined the World Poker Tour in 2017, overseeing inaugural events for the WPT in India and Japan, and there are plans for further expansion of the WPT brand in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018. Danny was inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame in 2011 and is one of the world’s leading poker authorities. With such participation, it is evident that this season is bound to witness a nerve wracking finale in Goa from May 9th to May 13th at Deltin Royale.