Kinesh Pather, an amateur poker player who was well placed in the recent Word Poker Tour Johannesburg stop, shined earlier this month at the Tiger’s Poker Night tournament held in Las Vegas.
The event, which is presented by the World Poker Tour, benefits the Tiger Wood Foundation – the charity foundation created the iconic golfer. Kinesh joined a star-studded pool of players at the Moorea Beach Club Beachside Casino at Mandalay Bay, Vegas to take part in the $10,000 buy in poker tournament.
Among the 50 people who attended were poker greats Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson and Antonio Esfandiari, as well as celebrities such as the British Indian actor Kunal Nayyar, US TV host, Chris Harrison, the billionaire Mark Cuban and, of course, Tiger Woods.
Pather played poker with a passion and despite coming up against top players such as Negreanu and Esfandiari at the final table, he held his own and proudly represented South African poker.
Pather caught the eye of the poker community this year, after coming a respectable second to Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates at the World Poker Tour Alpha8 Johannesburg in February 2014. During the event, Pather was closely beaten by Cates, who went on to take the $500,000 prize money. Second placed Pather won $275,000, ahead of Jason Mercier’s $200K for his third spot in the event. In this event, Pather also beat Esfandiari who was present at the final table, but was eliminated in seventh place. Also at the final table in Johannesburg was two time WPT Alpha8 champ, Philipp Grussheim, and Eric Seidel who was eliminated in fifth place.
The popularity of poker has picked up significantly in South Africa in recent years, and is a much sought-after pastime for players at some of the country’s top casinos such as Gauteng’s Montecasino. Montecasino regularly holds poker tournaments, including its weekly freeze-outs with buy ins ranging from R600 to R3,000.
The casino recently opened an exclusive poker room, dedicated to the game and incorporating 8 Hold ‘me Poker tables and a variety of poker machines. At the opening of the room, the Montecasino Main Floor Tables Manager, Adam MacIntyre said: “Poker is continually growing in popularity worldwide and particularly in South Africa. Our exclusive poker suite and future tournament will cater to this demand and will further entrench Montecasino as the “Gamer-tainment” destination in Gauteng.”