sharad rao
Sharad Rao

The flop is absolutely in India’s favour. Poker zealots had yet to finish celebrating Aditya Sushant and Nipun Java’s bracelet win for Team India at the WSOP’17, that another took to up the mantle.  Outmanoeuvring 4,822 runners, with an additional 1,057 re-entries, Sharad ‘Keenyle’ Rao eventually finished as the runner-up in the $215 Sunday Million on PokerStars, thus taking home $121,949 (approx. ₹78.5 Lakhs) .

Amidst the contenders, 38 were Indian.

Rao was one out of seven Indians (total 953) to finish in the money. Sharad is a regular player on almost all live poker events in the country and has a towering online record as well. Here, he engineered his way up to the final heads-up battle with the Hungarian player and eventual winner ‘kZhh‘.

Fittingly, he commemorated this achievement to his recently deceased mother. Rao posted “Shoutout to my mom . I know you are watching from there.”

Even though Rao plunged into the one-on-one battle with a huge chip disadvantage, he smartly flipped the chips on his side, making the stacks even. Intimidated kZhh prompted the moderator to stop the clock to discuss the possibility of a deal, but in vain. Action resumed with Rao in the lead, but soon lost his position to the villain. Taking the lead with pocket eights, the villain open shoved, risking Rao to snap call with Ace-King off. The board didn’t help and the game came to a climactic close with Rao settling for the runners up position.

Excitingly, we will soon see Sharad ‘Keenyle’ Rao bringing his A-game to the World Series of Poker this year. “I plan to visit the WSOP to play the Main Event and the One Drop for sure,” he said. It should be a treat to watch

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