PokerBaazi.com, one of India’s most trusted online poker platforms have been the flag-bearers of innovative product offerings since its inception. One such brain child is the PPL (PokerBaazi Premier League), a series hosted every quarter by Pokerbaazi with whopping guarantees and hard to ignore Leaderboard prizes.
The PokerBaazi Premier League has a gamut of big tournaments under its name and The Endeavour is one of its major crowd pullers standing tall on it’s INR 50 lakhs guarantee. Well, it’s a clincher with a lustrous INR 8.76 lakhs payday for the winner.
With over 1000 plus entries, The Endeavour journey to victory was no walk in the park. The event recently concluded with some of the big names of Indian poker finishing in the money namely Vaibhav Sharma aka ‘WakhraSwagNi’Sahil Mahboobani aka 'ImHighIshove' (23rd), Arjanveer Chadha aka 'holdbaby' (28th), Goonjan Mall aka 'gmtesting' (29th), Manish Lakhotia aka 'thekid' (34th), Hitesh Batra aka 'hiteshbhai' (56th), Sreekanth Narayan aka 'n0thing' (80th) and others.
Coming a close second was Danish Shaikh aka ‘pagla’ with a payout of INR 5.64 lakhs. Surviving that heads-up battle and acing the gruelling felts to be crowned the poker champion was Vaibhav Sharma aka ‘WakhraSwagNi’. We managed to chat up the winner and talk to him about his tournament journey. Here’s what he had to share.
That’s a not so modest paycheck you have to your name now. Any thoughts on how you plan on spending it?
*Chuckles* Nothing specific actually, I will probably reinvest part of it into poker for another tournament buy-in.
Tournaments like PokerBaazi’s Endeavour are a long grind, do you have a routine in place for 24 hours before tournaments like these?
When I reached day 1A with a comfortable chip stack and knew this online poker tournament had a decent structure and good top money, I just had to stay focused and continue the momentum. I often do take a quick walk or quick jog in the park but mainly stayed focused on the win and made sure not to play out of line for this one.
Was there a turning point for you in the tournament?
Not specifically. I ran great, came in as chip leader on day 2 with 30 or 40 people left. Held my guns and kept the chip lead till the final table with a 1.5x lead. From here on, despite losing a few pots, I focused on levelling, grinding it out and finding the right spots to take.
As a professional poker player, tell us what you thought of The Endeavour structure?
The structure was brilliant. Even during heads-up and the final table, everyone had decent chip stacks with 40-50 blinds and a great top prize only made the game more interesting. The final table of this online poker tournament also had a great line up with some of India’s best poker players like Danish, Bansal and Chirag putting immense pressure on the table.
MTTs are the name of the game, what’s your take on it?
I was in fact playing a few of the other major PPL tournaments with decent guarantees while playing The Endeavor. As a regular poker player, I play 5-6 tables at a time, but don’t go overboard.
We can’t resist asking, Cash games or Tournaments?
I mostly play tournaments. Only if I’m up for it and there are no tournaments running, I occasionally play a cash table.
Walk us down the memory lane to your yesteryears of poker
I was probably 24 when I dabbled with some online poker and had a regular 8-10 work life. Since then, I grew passionate about the mind sport and I thought I could make a decent living out of it. I took a break for a year to test the waters with online poker and luckily had a supportive and understanding family.
Tilt is probably the most dreaded poker term, how do you cope with yours?
It’s not something new for a regular poker player. Sometimes you run good, sometimes you lose. It doesn’t affect me too much now. It gets to me for a couple of seconds, but I don’t hold on to it and continue clicking because what happened cannot be changed.
Poker is all about skilling up to survive, are you reading any poker books currently?
I’m not much of a reader, but I’ve certainly skimmed through Matthew Janda’s ‘Application of No-limit hold’em’ and ‘No limit hold’em for advanced players’. Both are theoretically sound poker books poker players must read.
Pokerbaazi’s The End Boss and NPS are around the corner, will we be seeing you on the felts?
Certainly considering taking part in the upcoming End Boss and NPS series.
Being a known figure in the poker circuit, what are your thoughts on the future of this skill-based mind sport?
Poker has a great future in India. The game is certainly booming with great payouts. I only see more and more players joining the Indian poker community.
You have been playing on PokerBaazi for over 4 years now. Care to share your experience with us?
I started clicking on Pokerbaazi and never stopped. The customer service, the people behind it and easy accessibility are a definite win for me. I feel so connected to the team and that’s crucial for a poker player. PokerBaaziLive has also always been a great experience, thanks to the great hospitality and the helpful nature of the team.
Behind every successful poker player is a great rail, tell us about your support system
My mom’s been of great support allowing me to play in the comfort of my home. She even makes me home-cooked food for my late-night games and makes sure it’s easy to eat since I’m busy clicking away with my other hand.
The same is followed by my coach, mentor and backer Giraf Gagner who has been my one army all the way and encouraged me to play poker full time. I’m also fortunate to be surrounded by some great poker players like Danish aka ‘pagla’, Harsha aka and Rajath aka ‘lungfakeer’ who I often discuss my hands with and of course, we continue to share that great bond outside of poker as well.
Well, you’ve heard it all from the man himself, Vaibhav Sharma aka ‘WakhraSwagNi’, the winner of PokerBaazi’s PPL Endeavour Tournament.
May the best man/woman win!