Ankit Ahuja secured a resounding victory at the European Poker Tour Cyprus Eureka main event, concluding on October 16 at the Merit Royal Hotel and Casino, with a substantial $362,265 in winnings. This triumph marked a significant milestone for the 37-year-old Indian-born tech consultant, now residing on the Isle of Man, as his career earnings soared past the $2 million mark. Notably, this victory represented Ahuja’s sixth career win and his fifth score exceeding six figures.
Expressing his elation, Ahuja remarked, “I think this is the best win, 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 continued, “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.”
When asked about the challenges he faced during the late stages of the tournament, Ahuja reflected, “It was tough, but that’s bound to happen in any tournament, these were hands where I couldn’t have done anything, so I didn’t make any mistakes. I was just OK with it, and still, I was glad that I had so many chips that even after I lost those hands, I still had 100 bigs after that.”
The tournament, featuring a $1,100 buy-in for no-limit hold’em, attracted a formidable field of 2,659 entries across four starting flights. Players hailing from 74 different countries participated, lending the event a truly international flair. The top 399 players all secured a minimum of $1,675 in prize money. Ahuja led the final 31 players at the conclusion of Day 2, and when the final table was set to end Day 3, he was ranked third in chips.
Ahuja surged into the chip lead with a pivotal double-up when only five players remained, his Ace of Diamonds and King of Hearts forming a triumphant trio against Andrei Vavilonskii’s Queen of Spades and Queen of Hearts after an all-in preflop showdown. Ahuja’s mastery of A-K served him well once more when he eliminated Roman Gadzhiev and his short-stacked K-7 in fifth place as the board offered no salvation.
Ahuja maintained his momentum by dispatching Vavilonskii in fourth place, firmly grasping the chip lead. Though he experienced a couple of setbacks with back-to-back doubles for his opponents, Ahuja quickly rebounded by ousting Andrei Teodorescu in third place. This handed him a substantial 2:1 chip advantage entering the heads-up final against Eduard Norel.
The final duel unfolded in under an hour, with Ahuja leveraging his advantage throughout. The ultimate hand saw Norel commit all his chips on a five-bet shove with King of Spades and Jack of Clubs in the hole, while Ahuja, holding Ace of Spades and King of Hearts, had him covered. The final board revealed 6 of Hearts, 3 of Diamonds, 2 of Spades, 3 of Clubs, and 8 of Spades, sealing Norel’s fate and granting him a prize of $226,500. This marked the most substantial win in the Romanian player’s tournament poker career.