Since the poker boom, the landscape of the World Series of Poker has changed. It has, finally, included the world and over the last decade, players from dozens of countries have won WSOP gold. Those victors have come from nearly every corner of the globe, from Brazil, to Japan, but over the last few years, poker’s fastest growing player pool has yet to breakthrough.
That all changed yesterday though, when Aditya Sushant and Nipun Java, pictured below, won the $1,000 Tag Team event and claimed India’s first WSOP gold bracelet in the process. Sushant and Java received their bracelets earlier today and India is closing in on another triumph, as Aditya Agarwal is at the final table of the Event #12 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em.
Agarwal, an online tournament crusher under the name “intervention” and owner of six WSOP Main Event cashes, is hoping to make a run at back-to-back bracelets for India but win or lose today, the Team PokerStars Pro knows how important his countrymen’s victory was.
“It was huge, the feeling was unreal and I felt very proud.” Agarwal said when asked about Sushant and Java’s win. “It was a very emotional time and this could be the start of a bigger boom, it is already booming and this could definitely take it to the next level.”
The only thing that is as huge as India’s first bracelet, is the country itself. With a population of 1.3 billion, India is a massive market and since poker was offered in India, Agarwal has seen the growth first hand.
“It’s been five, six years since we got poker in India,” Agarwal said, before explaining, “It has been getting bigger and bigger but this, this could be the turning point.”
Where exactly that turning point leads though, is unknown. With poker so new in India, Agarwal says there is a mixture of players, from professionals, to amateurs and plenty of players that are learning the game. Regardless of their classifications though, the virtual Indian rail is one of the strongest at the WSOP.
“We have an Indian Facebook group with thousands of people, it is a big group and a lot of people are following me. They saw ‘Sushi’ win yesterday and that has gotten them more excited, so a lot of people are railing.” Agarwal said, before concluding, “I would really like to win it, I’m going to try my best and see what happens.”
No matter what happens at the Event #12 final table, Aditya Agarwal is doing his best to grow the game in his home country and with players like himself, Aditya Sushant and Nipun Java already flying the Indian flag at final tables through the first week of the World Series, no one would be surprised to see a second India bracelet come sooner, rather than later.
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