A family that plays together, stays together.
That adage proved to be true once again on Sunday night when the poker-playing family of Nikhil Gera and his mother Manju each shipped big-time tournaments in two different series.
While Nikhil was battling at the final table of the multi-day Wynn Millions $1,100 $500,000 guaranteed event in Las Vegas, Manju was busy knocking players out at the one-day $500 Mystery Bounty at Gardens Casino in Southern California. As both tournaments were drawing to a close, the mother-son duo – in two separate states – realized that they were both in contention to take home massive scores.
“We were texting back-and-forth and she had texted me when there were 13 people left and she had already pulled $12,000 worth of bounties,” Nikhil said. “So it already looked like it was going to be a good day for her regardless.”
“It felt really surreal,” Manju added.
It was a great day for both. Nikhil took down the tough final table at the Wynn for a $131,665 score, the fourth-largest of his career (and first six-figure score since 2018) putting him on the precipice of $2 million in career earnings. Nikhil barely had any time to celebrate his own win, before Manju was on the doorstep of adding another trophy to the family resume.
“By the time we had collected all the money, my mom had texted me that she was heads-up. So I didn’t have to think about it too much while I was playing,” Nikhil said. “She doesn’t even play No-Limit Hold’em really, she plays primarily mixed games. So for her to win a NLHE tournament with that many people…I was shocked. And obviously very happy for her.”
“Nikhil’s been trying to coach me [in No Limit] because I tell him these young kids with backpacks intimidate me,” Manju. a one-time LearnWPT student, laughed. “But I’m trying to learn the game so this was a really good experience.”
Just over an hour later, after pulling back-to-back $5K bounties, Manju shipped the Mystery Bounty tournament for a score of more than $52,000 – sending her career-recorded cashes to more than $200,000.
“All my [past] wins were small, so for me, this is a big deal. For a long time, nothing was happening – not mixed games or anywhere. So I was really jazzed last night.”
It turns out that poker is in the genes of the Gera family. Nikhil, a psychiatrist during the day, discovered a passion for poker and plays seriously when he can get away from his two jobs – one in Las Vegas and one in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t until later that Manju, 68, picked up the game. In part, poker helps her stay connected with her son.
“He was playing so much and I thought to myself that if I don’t learn this game then I’ll know nothing about the world that he’s in so that’s how I got myself into it,” she said.
Poker’s been good to both. Nikhil boasts four six-figure scores in his career while Manju the mixed game player collected a WSOP Circuit ring in HORSE back in 2018. The mother-son bond has seemingly grown tighter around the poker table with Nikhil (and his friends) coaching Manju from time to time and Manju helping her son out in turn.
“We do talk about hands a lot and I feel like I can get a lot of advice from her on Mixed Games,” he said.
“I’m so proud of this kid,” she said. “He works hard. He has a job in Vegas and a job [in LA], so he manages both jobs and he loves poker. He loves it and he’s balancing all of that, and it’s not easy.”
“And he’s very supportive of me. Whenever I want to go play he’s encouraging and will sit down and chat with me about [the game].”
When asked how proud he was about his mother’s victory in Los Angeles, Nikhil was almost at a loss for words.
“Infinite…I couldn’t be prouder.”