March 4th 2007 is an historic day in Indian sport as Carl Hostrup from Denmark (1st place), Samuel Lehtonen from Sweden (2nd place), and Pranav Bathija from India (3rd place) share their portion of the $1,000,000 (44,490,085 INR) prize pool at the Asian Poker Classic (APC) sponsored by MaharajahClub , India’s first-ever professional poker tournament.
“This is my biggest tournament win, and I still cannot believe that I am the champion. Yesterday I told people that I would win, not to boast, but to give myself the positive attitude I needed to win. I came up with a strategy on how to play the final table, and combined with my positive attitude, played my way to first place,” said Hostrup.
The tournament attracted 143 participants from over 15 countries to compete for the $1,000,000 prize including high profile players such as Ross Boatman, Roy Brindley, Mark Goodwin, Issac Gulazan, Arshad Hussain, Mel Judah, John Kabbaj, Lee Nelson, Jani Sointula, Surinder Sunar and Willie Tann. The main event, held over three days at Goa’s luxury five-star Intercontinental Grand Resort, was the first of its kind, and has introduced the globally-popular sport of poker to the Indian sub-continent. The poker tournament provided a unique experience — unlike anything the poker community has seen before.
“Poker is a global sport with players from almost every country around the globe and now India has taken its place as a viable poker destination. We are extremely proud of the success of this year’s Asian Poker Classic and hope that it provides the platform for the future growth and development of the game in India,” said Imran Hassan, Director of Operations for the Asian Poker Classic.
Not only was this tournament a first for India, but it was one of the most generous tournaments in poker history, with sponsors MaharajahClub.net guaranteeing a minimum $1,000,000 minimum prize pool and a $250,000 overlay. The tournament also marked the introduction of Team Maharajah – a group predominantly of Indian players who took the tournament by storm. Team Maharajah proved that Indian poker players could compete with the world’s best, with five Asian players finishing in the money, including a third place result from Pranav Bathija of Mumbai.
“Of course we knew Indian poker players would come to the APC, but we wanted to make sure that this tournament would be recognised throughout the global poker community, and that it would bring the best poker players from around the world to compete in India. The final table alone included players from Denmark, Great Britain, India, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam,” said Hassan
“It’s also been a feast for the Danes at APC – two of us made it in the money but, I can see that the game has a bright future here in India. Pranav has a great future ahead of him in poker and if all Indian players are good like him, we are in big trouble, said Carl Hostrup.
Pranav Bathija, who learned the game of poker in just four months playing at MaharajaClub.net, commented, “I have enjoyed my path along the poker trail; I have developed a true love for the game, and am grateful that my training on MaharajahClub.net has now come to fruition. It was a fantastic experience and I wish to win it next year!