Mukul Pahuja wins event #15 of Harrah’s Resort AC Circuit Event

Atlantic City, NJ (December 15, 2009) – Mukul Pahuja of Hicksville, NY is the owner of a new Circuit Event gold ring after winning event #15 of the World Series of Poker Circuit Events at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.

The second of two deep stack events offered at the WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Resort AC, the $2000 + ($150) buy-in tournament attracted 112 entrants, including notable players such as Michael Binger, Liv Boeree and Brock Parker, who shipped two bracelets during the 2009 World Series of Poker.

Pahjua’s win was especially impressive given that the 23-year old financial analyst finished fourth in the Harrah’s AC Main Event the week prior.

Even more impressive is that Mukul’s brother Vineet, also made it to the final table, giving a new meaning to the term “family pot.”
EUGENE CASTRO Holmdel, NJ 1 340,000
ALAN COLON    Oceanside, NY 2 210,000
MANNY MINAYA Tampa, FL 3 454,500
VINEET PAHUJA New York, NY 4 257,000
JOSH SMITH Newark, DE 5 439,000
ROBERT KALTEUX Seminole, FL 6 166,500
MUKUL PAHUJA Hicksville, NY 7 447,000
DEAN SCHULTZ Akron, OH 8 183,000
BROCK PARKER Silver Spring, MD 9 258,000

Ninth Place- $6,518

The final table began at 2:10 pm with blinds and antes at 500/2,000/4,000.  With the short stack holding 40 times the big blind, action was slow in the early going.  It wasn’t until over an hour into play that the first elimination took place. Alan Colon, a 62-year old CPA from Oceanside, CA, moved his remaining chips all-in from the small blind and got a call from Manny Minaya in the big. Colon was behind with A-K vs. Minaya’s pocket queens. Three jacks, a nine and a three on the board were no help to Colon and he was out.

Eighth Place- $8,691

Robert Kalteux was the next to be eliminated after getting it all in post-flop against Mukul Pahuja. M. Pahuja’s top two pair was good to take the pot and Kalteux’s run was over. Kalteux is a 21-year old online pro with over 500,000 in online tournament cashes. Eighth place added a live cash of $8,691 to his total.

Seventh Place- $10,864

Eugene Castro raised UTG to 16,500 and Mukul Pahuja re-raised from the button to 50,000. Brock Parker made it 115,000 to go from the big blind and Castro folded. M. Pahuja moved all-in and Parker called with his remaining 73,000. Parker showed    , but M. Pahuja was ahead with    . An ace on the flop and no help on the turn ended Parker’s chance to accessorize his dual bracelets with a ring.

Sixth Place- $13,037  Fifth Place-$15,210

Action slowed when it came down to six players, but a major hand developed when Minaya fired out 20,000 and Vinny Pahuja moved all-in as did with event #8 winner, Josh Smith. Minaya made the call and turned over pocket aces. V. Pahuja showed kings while Smith flipped over 8’s. The board missed all three players. V. Pahuja was eliminated in 6th place while Smith took 5th.

Fourth Place-$17,382

The next elimination was dealt to Dean Schultz of Akron, OH. A flop of       had Shultz all-in with     against Minaya’s    , an   and   on the turn and river were of no help to Schultz and his tournament day was over.

Third Place- $23,901

All-in preflop with 9-10 vs. the pocket 6’s of Minaya, Eugene Castro saw a six hit the flop and was eliminated after no help on the turn or river. Castro, co-founder of Poker Players International, an agency representing players such as Matt Glantz and Robert Mizrachi, perhaps will look into representing himself after a strong third place showing.

Second Place- $30,419

Play came down to two at about 10:42 pm with blinds and antes at 1,000/5,000/10,000 and Minaya holding a marginal chip lead over M. Pahuja. Heads-up play lasted over four hours. After the first hour of play and with little ground having been made between M. Pahuja and Minaya, the two decided to make a deal. While the terms were not disclosed, it was decided that they would play on for the WSOP Circuit Event gold ring. The next three hours was a colossal battle as Minaya was unable to build on his marginal chip lead.

The stalemate finally began to break with blinds and antes at 3,000/10,000/20,000. Having already narrowed Minaya’s chip lead, M. Pahuja raised pre-flop to 80,000 and got a call from Minaya. After a flop of      , Minaya check-called M. Pahuja 119,000.

The turn came   and Minaya check-folded after M. Pahuja fired out 470,000. A few hands later, Minaya raised pre-flop to 120,000 and was re-raised all-in by M. Pahuja. Minaya folded, and was down 2-1 against M. Pahuja with less than a million in chips.

Minaya managed to double up on M. Pahuja to come back, but M. Pahuja squeezed his opponent to regain his dominant chip lead.  Finally, after 3:00 am, the final hand saw both players all-in with M. Pahuja turning over     and Minaya showing    .

The flop was      , giving Minaya the lead. A harmless   hit the turn, but an   on the river ended the grueling duel with M. Pahuja the victor. First place officially paid $51,169 and a WSOP Circuit Event ring. Second paid $30,419.

“I’m exhausted,” said M. Pahuja after the win. “And unfortunately, I have to go to work in four and a half hours, but that’s what the sugar-free Redbulls are for.”

“Minaya was way way tougher than I though,” said M. Pahuja of his opponent.

“Coming into this final table, I thought isolating pots with Manny would be a good idea, but he was owning me, absolutely owning me the whole beginning of the final table, so he was the last guy I wanted to go heads-up with.”

Mukul credits his brother, Vinny for helping him improve his game. “Whether it’s a brother or close friends, it’s good to be in circle of good players to bounce ideas off each other and help improve each other’s game.”