Oct 24, 2019
PokerBaazi

PokerBaazi

It started with a card game in a college dorm room. Back then, all we knew was that we weren't very good at poker, and that others would probably enjoy this game as much as we did.

It wasn’t until 2014 that five of us got together to test whether this was true; and man, how right we were. We had started with a big dream, but even we couldn’t imagine the trail we would blaze and the history we would create.

Our first 'office' was a small terrace room in Delhi, and our first order of business was to decide a name for our company. Many hours were spent on this all-important task with gems like 'NoBigDeal', 'BustTheNuts' and 'Acehole' put forth.

It was after one such fruitful brainstorming session that someone in the family interrupted us for dinner, saying, "Ab yeh poker baazi chhodo, aur dinner ke liye aa jao. (Now leave this poker baazi, and come for dinner) - and so PokerBaazi was born. 

PokerBaazi is now India's most trusted home-grown poker app, and the making of that is a story in itself. Days turned into nights, nights turned into weeks, and weeks lasted several months as we gave our blood, sweat and tears to develop and test our product.

It was eventually on this day, five years ago, that PokerBaazi was launched. Only cash games were available at first, although we did add tournaments a few months later. Looking back, that was a big hurdle that we were able to cross. I don’t think any new entrant in the industry can go about their launch the way we did! 

By 2016, we outgrew our little office. But when I think of growth, I don’t think in terms of office space, revenue or number of employees - it's always been about how we grew with the players. It's amazing to see that we are now at 1 million players on PokerBaazi.com and overall 3 Million on Baazi Games, with hundreds of new sign-ups every day. At that time, every 5th player was a cause for celebration. With time, we even got on board notable names like actress Sunny Leone and boxer Vijender Singh for PokerBaazi and later cricketer Yuvraj Singh for BalleBaazi.com.

5 Years of PokerBaazi

 

5 Years of Baazi Games

Not that there weren't any ups and downs. If pre-launch development was a struggle, then post-launch development was a nightmare. Those who began their gaming journey with us will remember the early days, when we launched update after update, to counter one bug or another.

My heartfelt thanks for being with us through it all, your feedback and support has made today’s much-loved version of PokerBaazi a reality. Portrait Mode may be an industry standard now, but the original Baazigars will remember that period in our history! 

Today, Baazi Games has become a truly holistic gaming organisation, offering entertainment in fantasy sports and rummy, as well as live gaming experiences at the PB LIVE room in Goa aboard Casino Pride 2. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved, but I am rooted to how we began and the desire to remain innovative and receptive to feedback will always be with me. 

We may have been the minds behind the PPL, the Game Changer and the MoneyMaker, but the league is now bigger, the game has just begun, and there’s still a lot of money to be made! 

We will continue to improve our technological capabilities, and better utilise the data we generate to provide players a more customised experience. Baazi Rewards is the benchmark in player loyalty programs, but I believe we can go further and do even better. 

If our first phase was about expansion and excellence, then the next phase will be about consolidation and perfection.

A big thank you to my team who has joined me on this epic voyage. I am pumped for the future and look forward to embarking on our next epic adventure. It’s going to be a blast.

 

Navkiran Singh

CEO, Baazi Games

 

BPT'19 Sum Up

The Baazi Poker Tour ‘19 was a magnet for action, attracting a total of over 1300 entries, offering a prize pool of ₹5.5 CRORE! The series witnessed massive player fields with several poker heavyweights in attendance.

The game has been upped and the felts were blazing with action. Here’s how the entire six-day-long series panned out:

BPT Kick-Off Event

BPT Kick-Off Winner

After two days of intense competition, Abhijeet Shetty outshined a field of 257 entries to ship the tourney. Shetty entered the final table as the chip leader and after sending Gangadhar Raj, Charush Bhatia and Manas Kalita to the rails, he entered a heads-up battle with poker pro Saumil Krishnani.

Final Hand Recap

Shetty raised to 75,000 from the button with Qs-10h as his holdings, Krishnani shoved all-in with Kc-Jd. Without any delay, Shetty called and the flop rolled out 4s-9c-Qd which sent Shetty in the lead. The 3s and 7c on the turn and the river proved to be of no consequence for Krishnani. With this, Shetty shipped his career-first title for a payday of ₹8.52 LAC!

Final Table Results (INR)

  1. Abhijeet Shetty – ₹8,52,700
  2. Saumil Krishnani – ₹5,98,300
  3. Manas Kalita – ₹3,84,800
  4. Avadh Shah – ₹2,84,800
  5. Sahil Chuttani – ₹2,13,800
  6. Charush Bhatia – ₹1,71,000
  7. Anant Purohit – ₹1,42,000
  8. Mohammad Azhar – ₹1,13,800
  9. Gangadhar Raj – ₹85,200

BPT ₹100K HighRoller

BPT HighRoller Winner

This two-day tourney went on until the wee hours of October 12, announcing a winner in Rohit Jinwal. The event attracted a field of 161 entries inflating the prize pool to a gigantic ₹1.52 CRORE! Jinwal won his first-ever live title, sending Ankit Wadhwan home after a heads-up play.

Throughout the game, Wadhwan was clearly dominating the final table. He managed to eliminate four players on the final table: Jeeran Jain, Abhinav Iyer, Sajjan Barnwal and Siddharth Karia to enter a heads-up game against Jinwal.

Final Hand Recap

On the final hand, Wadhwan decided to go all-in with Qc-9c and Jinwal called with Kd-Jd. The board rolled out As-8s-10x-4x-7x which announced Jinwal the champion of the day with his kicker King. He walked away with an unreal first-place prize of ₹39.38 LAC!

Final Table Results (INR)

  1. Rohit Jinwal – ₹39,38,600
    2. Ankit Wadhawan – ₹27,57,700
    3. Siddharth Karia – ₹17,74,200
    4. Vivek Rughani – ₹13,13,800
    5. Sajjan Barnwal – ₹9,85,000
    6. Abhinav Iyer – ₹7,87,700
    7. Jeeran Jain – ₹6,54,600
    8. Nikhil Jain – ₹5,24,600

BPT ₹50K Main Event

BPT main Event Winner

Day 1B

The first live starting flight of the Main Event witnessed a total of 174 entries flocking to the BPT felts. In the end, it was 26 players who survived the competition and managed to enter Day 2. This group was led by Gagandeep Malik with a stack of 545,000 chips. Trailing Malik were pros, Dhaval Mudgal (459K) and Abhishek Goindi (334K).

Other notable qualifiers included Haider Madraswala (311K), Ashish Munot (296K), Vasim Rozani (256K), Manish Gandhi (252K), Maria Kirloskar (238K) and Raghav Bansal (103K).

Day 1B top 10 chip stacks:

  1. Gagandeep Malik - 545,000
  2. Dhaval Mudgal - 459,000
  3. Abhishek Goindi - 334,000
  4. Haider Madraswala - 311,000
  5. Ashish Munot - 296,000
  6. Vasim Rozani - 256,000
  7. Manish Gandhi - 252,000
  8. Deep Patel - 240,000
  9. Maria Kirloskar - 238,000
  10. Kanav Parwal - 236,000

Day 1C

The third flight attracted a large field of 193 entries, with a total of 27 of them making it to Day 2. Headlining this group was Pune-based pro, Neel Joshi with a chip stack of 5,66,000. He was followed by Anant Purohit (4,67,000) and Vivek Rughani (4,16,000).

Day 1C top 10 chip stacks:

  1. Neel Joshi - 566,000
  2. Anant Purohit - 467,000
  3. Vivek Rughani - 416,000
  4. Devang Yadav - 370,000
  5. Abhinav Iyer - 358,000
  6. Akanksha Singh - 329,000
  7. Arsh Grover - 266,000
  8. Alok Birewar - 247,000
  9. Bharat Sude - 239,000
  10. Nitesh Baliyan - 204,000

The fourth starting flight (Day 1D) concluded on the same day, playing host to 120 entries. The prize pool collected was a massive ₹2.66 CRORE!

Day 2 – Final Day

The final day of the event marked the end of the second edition of the BPT and what an end it was! Filled with the who’s who of the Indian poker community, it was Bharat Kumar who outlasted a field of 567 entries to be crowned as the winner. He walked with not just the trophy, but a staggering first-place prize worth ₹38.01 LAC after a four-way ICM deal. The first runner-up was Tarun Guwalani who pocketed ₹36,22,000 for finishing at the second place.

On winning, Kumar said that for him, “the heads-up started very badly.” He added that “I had given him(Tarun) a 2:1 chip advantage. But then I came back from there so, obviously, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Final Table Results (INR)

1.Bharat Kumar – ₹38,01,000*

2.Tarun Guwalani – ₹36,22,000*

3.Dhaval Mudgal – ₹28,33,000*

4.Vinod Megalmani – ₹26,55,000*

5.Chirag Sodha – ₹12,28,500

6.Hitesh Batra – ₹10,39,300

7.Maria Kirloskar – ₹8,66,100

8. Neel Joshi – ₹6,90,200

9. Abhinav Iyer – ₹5,19,700

Registering a massive field and rolling out successfully, BPT has set a bar that’s hard to beat. Thanks to all the Baazigars who made it a spectacular event. Here’s what Mr. Varun Ganjoo, Marketing Director, PokerBaazi had to say: "We're glad we could give players a great experience at the Baazi Poker Tour, but this is just the beginning. There's a lot more in store and it will only grow from here."

Stay tuned to get latest updates about our exciting promotions.

Open-face Chinese Poker evolved from the regular closed-face Chinese poker. It is a turn-based game and its popularity grew amongst the high-stakes gamblers in the poker community since its introduction around 2011. 

Similar to other poker variants, players take turns to draw cards from the deck to make the best hand possible. The way that it differs from other poker games is that there is no betting during the rounds of play. Scoring is instead done in points and players agree to play on a “per point” basis. This is similar to other card games, such as gin rummy or hearts.

OFC: The Play

Once the rounds for card-placement are complete, every player will have 13 cards that they arrange into three hands, known as top, middle, and bottom. The top hand is made using three cards while the middle and bottom hand use five cards each. The best possible hand on top would be a three-of-a-kind since there are only three cards for play.

Now, players compare the top hand to the top hand of their opponents, the middle hand to the middle hand of their opponents, and the bottom to the bottom. Points are calculated based on how each hand measures up. 

The scoring and comparison for the three hands are done in the same way as regular poker hands. 

Every open-face Chinese poker player requires 13 cards to play. As a result, OFC is played by a maximum of four players. Usually, the game is set for two opponents. 

Here’s a quick introduction of OFC:

  1. This game is played among 2-3 players. 
  2. Each player has to use 13 cards each, three in the top row, five in the middle row and five in the bottom row.
  3. The bottom hand must be stronger than the middle hand and the middle hand should be stronger than the top hand.
  4. The strength of these hands are determined by the standard poker hand rankings.
  5. The objective of the game is to achieve more points by winning more hands which are better than your opponents. You can also earn royalties on premium hands. All of this has to be done without fouling.
  6. Scores are calculated based on the points won by each player. 
  7. If you take down your opponent in all three rows, you win 6 points which is called a scoop/sweep.
  8. A special round called 'fantasyland' is added to the game if a player manages to set Queens or better in the top row.
  9. There are three variants of the game: regular, progressive and ultimate.

The Objective

OFC: The Hnads

Every OFC player needs to make a ‘qualifying’ hand. For this, the bottom five-card hand needs to be higher than the middle five-card hand and the middle hand needs to be higher than the top hand of three cards. Now, this is tricky and you’ll understand why when you read more about how the cards are dealt. 

A player arranges his or her cards one at a time, as they are dealt. If he or she has played a pair of queens in the middle hand and has a straight draw on the bottom with cards lower than the queen, it is necessary to complete the straight. 

If you are unable to create a qualifying hand, your entire hand is foul. This means that you have failed to qualify and you get a zero for the game. There is no fine or penalty but all your hands are marked a zero. This is only when your opponent has been able to make a qualifying hand to beat your top, middle, and bottom hand. 

How to deal?

In regular Chinese poker, all 13 cards are dealt together and are not shown to the opponents while they are being set. The cards for OFC are not all dealt at the same time. At the start, players receive five cards, which they set in the top, middle, or bottom hand. These cards are placed face-up on the table, and hence the name ‘Open-Face’ Chinese Poker. After the player, in turn, has arranged his or her cards, the next player flips over all his five cards to arrange them. 

The following cards are dealt one at a time and players need to place them face up in one of the top, middle or bottom rows before the next card is received. This continues till all 13 cards are dealt and arranged in rows. There are no take-backs and you cannot alter the position of a card after it has been placed. 

Scoring

OFC Scoring

Scoring is simple. There are certain details that you need to keep in mind but don’t get stuck in the complexities right from the beginning. You can start playing and continue to learn more about scoring as you play. 

As mentioned earlier, OFC is a game of points, so the final hands (all 13 cards placed in the top, middle, and bottom hand) are scored on a point basis. Every hand - top, middle, and bottom - is worth one point to the winning player. So, if you have a pair of kings in the bottom and your opponent has an ace-high, you win one point for the bottom. 

Similarly, you move forward to compare and score the next two rows. A player can win the top and bottom but lose the middle row. 

If the game is played by more than two players, each player scores against each player independently. OFC is not like Texas hold’em where the best hand wins and earns the pot while others get nothing. Here, you score points against each player. 

But that’s not all. Apart from the +1/-1 points per hand, there is a range of scoring bonuses that you can earn to gain more points.

Scoring Bonuses

The ‘scoop bonus’ is the easiest to understand and calculate. This is gained if you beat all three rows of an opponent’s hand. You get one point for each winning row and three additional points for beating all rows, so a total of 6 points. If you beat an opponent in two rows, you get 1 point (2-1) overall. But with the scoop bonus, you earn 6 points. 

Bonuses in OFC are generous and offered to encourage players to take chances for big hands. This is because hands generally tend to be weaker as compared to regular Chinese poker. The scoring bonuses are shown in the image above.

Bonuses are paid irrespective of whether a player wins or loses that row. Also, in case two players have the same cards, no bonus will be earned. 

Fantasy

OFC: The fantasy land

This part of the game is probably the most exciting.Players are awarded additional points. If a player manages to set Queens or better in the top row, they qualify for a ‘fantasy hand’. This means once that round is complete, an additional round is dealt- only this time, the player who had a fantasy hand is dealt with 14-17 cards in one go depending on the variant of the game. 

On PokerBaazi, we are offering three variants of the game: regular, progressive and ultimate. If you’re an adrenaline rush lover, then progressive and ultimate is the format you should play!

Conclusion

Open-face Chinese poker is relatively new, yet very exciting. It brings on the table a combination of the simple rules of regular poker games like Texas hold’em and seven-card stud with the high variance and thrill of games like blackjack. 

Open-face Chinese poker has variations like Fantasyland and Pineapple. These are interesting and if you wish to learn the same, you can refer to our blog on OFC Poker Variations. For now, you have enough information to get started. We are hosting an OFC Cash Drive (15th Oct - 15th Nov)  where you can win up to 2x Baazi reward points! Join OFC cash tables right away!

BPT'19 Day 1 Sum Up

What a spectacular beginning to our marquee live poker event – the Baazi Poker Tour! As our poker room, PokerBaazi LIVE was bustling with all the who’s who of the Indian poker community, our six-day-long tournament series kicked off at 6 PM with the ₹15K buy-in event, BPT Kick-Off. The tourney attracted a massive field of 257 entries, collecting a gigantic prize pool of ₹36.23 LAC!

The game went on for more than 3 hours, witnessing more than 20 players hitting the rails in the last 90 minutes of play. Eventually, the field has shrunk down to a total of 13 players who will come down today (October 10) at 3 PM to compete for the first title of the series.

Sitting at the top of the chip counts is poker pro, Avadh Shah with an above-average stack of 6,16,000 chips. Shah relegated the others on his way to the top as he performed consistently well. However, it became clear when he managed to convene the double elimination of Shravan Chhabria and Ashit Sharma with his pocket queens against their pocket nines and pocket sixes.

For complete hand analysis of the tournament, visit our reporting partner PokerGuru.

The one with a difference of a few chips behind Shah is Charush Bhatia with a stack of 6,09,000 chips. They are the only two players boasting a stack above the 600K mark!

Other familiar faces of the Indian poker circuit were also in attendance such as Anant Purohit (1,30,000), Manas Kalita (1,85,000), Sahil Chuttani (1,88,000) and Yohan Patel (3,82,000).

The last player who couldn’t make it to Day 2 was poker pro, Laksh Pal Singh who bagged the 14th place prize worth ₹51,100.

The tournament has promised at least ₹51,100 to all the surviving players who made it to Day 2 but the top-heavy structure ensures that the winner will take home ₹8.52 LAC along with the elusive BPT crown!

Day 1 Chip Counts:

Player

Chip Count

Avadh Shah

6,16,000

Charush Bhatia

6,09,000

Abhijeet Shetty

4,50,000

Yohan Patel

3,82,000

Gangadhar Raj

2,93,000

Saumil Krishnani

2,68,000

Prithviraj Ganganna

2,63,000

Mohammad Azhar

2,42,000

Sahil Chuttani

1,88,000

Manas Kalita

1,85,000

 

List of players who finished ITM (In The Money):

Place

Player

Prize

14th

Laksh Pal Singh

₹51,100

15th

Sunit Warraich

₹51,100

16th

Dhawal Kawatra

₹43,500

17th

Ashit Sharma

₹43,500

18th

Shravan Chhabria

₹43,500

19th

Meherzad Munsaf

₹38,000

20th

Siddharth Karia

₹38,000

21st

Puneet Dua

₹38,000

22nd

Himanshu Laul

₹34,100

23rd

Vinod Megalmani

₹34,100

 

To catch glimpses of the BPT Kick-Off Day 1 feature table, visit:

https://bit.ly/2M3DoOw

After an intense game session on the online felts, the final tablists of the PPL HighRoller (70 LAC GTD) and MoneyMaker (1 Crore GTD) took to the live felts at PokerBaazi LIVE for the final showdown. Held on 7th October, the HighRoller event went on for more than 6 hours to eventually crown a champion in seasoned pro, Shashank Jain. Making it till the end on The MoneyMaker felts was poker reg, Romit Advani, who walked away with the hard-earned bracelet and a cash prize of ₹19.25 LAC!

PPL #35 HighRoller 6-Max (70 LAC GTD)

PPL HighRoller WInner

While the game began with the BPT 16 Main Event Winner – Puneet “neo1” Dua as the chip lead, the ones who steadily played to build healthy stacks throughout the game were Shashank Jain a.k.a. “Westworld” and Anish “Illusionist” Patra. 

Adding an interesting twist to the event was missing player, Karan “mslpmfrt” Kapoor - he didn’t show up for the tournament but still finished fourth for ₹5.16 LAC.

The game went on for more than six hours, but it was only 90 minutes or so into the game that it boiled down to  two players - “Westworld” and Anish Patra. The fact that both played the heads-up game for 5 hours is a testament to their grit and determination. Kudos to both of them. 

Final Hand Recap

As the pros battled it out for the title, the game witnessed several twists and turns. Eventually, the board ran with 9h-10d-9-s-7h-Kc with Patra holding Ah-7s against Jain’s 9d-Jd. It was clear then that Jain won the title with three-of-a-kind nines. He went on to seize the first-place prize of ₹15.56 LAC!

Final Table Results (INR):

Player_name

Payouts

Shashank ‘Westworld’ Jain

₹15,46,300

Anish ‘Illusionist’ Patra

₹10,85,000

Puneet ‘neo1’ Dua

₹6,97,900

Karan ‘mslpmfrt’ Kapoor

₹5,16,600

Nitin ‘hoodlincs’ Jain

₹3,87,800

Sreekanth ‘n0thing’ Narayan

₹3,10,110

For the full stream of the final table, visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXHSTql3ZcI&t=8148s


PPL #36 The MoneyMaker (1 Crore GTD)
 

PPL The MoneyMaker Winner

The star-studded final table of this PPL biggie attracted all the action at PokerBaazi LIVE. After the elimination of Siddharth “schemer” Karia, the heads-up battle began after more than 4 hours of intense competition. 

Final Hand Recap

Romit Advani a.k.a. “tilt83” held pocket sevens (7h-7c) and fired a bet of 145,000. Shawn “achayan” Jose replied with a 3-bet of 400,000 with Ad-10c. The board ran with 4s-Qs-5h-Jd-5d, announcing Advani the winner of the coveted MoneyMaker bracelet and a top prize of ₹19.25 LAC!

Final Table Results (INR):

Player_name

Payouts

Romit ‘tilt83’ Advani

₹19,25,532

Shawn’ achayan’ Jose

₹13,49,344

Siddharth’ schemer’ Karia

₹8,75,036

Vinayak’ salmanbhai’ Bajaj

₹6,46,372

Kartik ‘TheInternetKid’ Ved

₹4,82,232

Ashit’ nexus010’ Sharma

₹3,90,540

Sumit’ therussian06’ Bajaj

₹3,23,752

Charush’ Charsipro’ Bhatia

₹2,58,096

Dhaval’ Rehab77’ Mudgal

₹1,92,440

Catch the final table action below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbx4xB0qtsA&feature=youtu.be

PPL has finally come to a close, but the fun is just beginning. Our live poker event, the Baazi Poker Tour (9th -14th Oct) begins today with the BPT Kick-Off event beginning at 6 PM. Are you #InItToWinIt?

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