Hall-Ahuja! Ankit Ahuja Wins Eureka Main Event In Cyprus For $362,365
India's Ankit Ahuja recently decided to focus on fixing his mental leaks in poker, and his work has paid off in spades. Just weeks ago, Ahuja finished fifth in the Estrellas Main Event in Barcelona, and now he's bested that by taking down the $1,100 Eureka Main Event at PokerStars European Poker Tour Cyprus for a career-best $362,365.
"It was tough, but that's bound to happen in any tournament," Ahuja told PokerNews after the victory. "These were hands where I couldn't have done anything, so I didn't make any mistakes (in the hands). I was just okay with it. And still, I was glad that I had so many chips that even after I lost those hands, I still had 100 bags after that."
The former tech consultant entered the final table as the chip leader and was quickly put to the test as he suffered cooler after cooler to enter Day 4 among the middle of the pack. Winning a crucial flip early in the day allowed him to re-take the chip lead to navigate his way to a victory over heads-up opponent and Day 4 chip leader Eduard Norel of Romania, who earned $226,550 for his runner-up finish.
The third-largest Eureka Main Event ever drew 2,659 runners for a prize pool of $2,552,640. The predominantly Eastern European final table included fellow Romanian Andrei Teodorescu (3rd - $161,800), Russia's Andrei Vavilonskii (4th - $124,475) and Roman Gadzhiev (5th - $95,750), as well as Ukraine's Mykhailo Demydenko (6th - $73,650).
Eureka Main Event Final Table Results
|PRIZE (IN USD)
Trophy For A PokerStars Alumnus
Before he was winning six-figure scores in poker tournaments across the world, Ahuja worked for PokerStars until he found himself "bored" with work and ready for something new. It is fitting, then, that Ahuja is now the owner of a PokerStars trophy from his biggest cash and what he called his biggest poker accomplishment.
"I think this is the best win," he said. "I mean, every win is very special ... You know, the more you know, you get better, you learn things. So I felt like this was just special. I didn't have a lot of the big trophies of the PokerStars [events]. And [ran] deep in Barcelona, but couldn't get it done."
He added: "It used to be a dream when I was learning to play poker or coming up even when I was working with Stars. So yeah, it's a dream come true."
His latest victory adds to his $1.8 million in live earnings and pips a $330,134 score he earned in 2019 from a first-place finish in a Venetian $1,100 DeepStack Championship in Las Vegas. The next year, Ahuja won a Red Dragon High Roller in Manila for $120,729 before the pandemic shuttered poker rooms across the world.
More recently, Ahuja final tabled the biggest live event in PokerStars history at EPT Barcelona, ultimately finishing in fifth place for $193,412.
While Ahuja admits he has been running well, it isn't just good luck that brought him his recent scores.
"There's studying, there's things about [my] mental game [I've been working on]. I've found a lot of mindset leaks about myself and have just been working on those and trying to fix those."
Day 4 Action
It was shaping up to be a long day as six players returned on Day 4 with hundreds of big blinds in play. It took an hour to lose a player as Demydenko jammed his short stack with pocket eights only to find himself stone-pipped by the nines of Norel, who improved to a set en route to the Ukrainian's elimination in sixth place.
Ahuja was at risk of going out next when he called off a five-bet from chip leader Vavilonskii with Big Slick against the Russian's pocket queens. An ace on the flop gave Ahuja a near lock on the hand and the river improved him to trips for a pivotal double that ended up being worth more than $288,000.
This was the beginning of the end for Vavilonskii as he ended up falling in fourth place when he called a blind-versus-blind jam from Ahuja with ace-deuce, only for Ahuja to river a flush with his king-five of hearts.
Ahuja and Norel had been neck-and-neck during four-handed play until a big pot went Ahuja's way when he flopped trips with an ace kicker. After two small doubles for Norel and Teodorescu, the latter fell in third when his ace-queen couldn't hit against the eventual champion's pocket tens.
Norel was unable to get much going during heads-up play at one point, he joked that he was running so bad that the deck needed to be changed and had had enough of Ahuja's aggression when he five-bet jammed with king-jack, only to find himself dominated by Big Slick.
A clean runout was all she wrote for Norel as he fell in second place and for Ahuja to claim ownership of the trophy resting on the table and the $362,365 top prize.
That wraps up PokerNews coverage of an exciting final day of action in the Eureka Main Event here in Northern Cyprus. Be sure to check out the EPT Cyprus live reporting portal for coverage of other events here on the Mediterranean coast.