Maria is a newly minted PokerBaazi Team Pro, confirmed wanderer, voracious reader, and wannabe writer.
Her poker idols are Phil Ivey and Martin Jacobson because they're both cute.
She loves chocolate.
In the 16th century, mapmakers drew dragons to designate unexplored territories in the far reaches of the world - where fantasies began and imaginations soared. Besides the dragons they wrote in Latin, Hic Svnt Dracones or “Here Be Dragons…”
Today, in the 21st century, in the bustling cities of India, we poker Players are the Mavericks, the mapmakers, the explorers, as well as the dragons. We have crossed the boundaries into unexplored territory, staked our claim to a new sport born in the West, dreaming a new dream. While breathing fire, we are set to conquer with passion, patience, and mastery of the game!
If anyone had told me even just a few years ago, that I would be part of this kind of epic journey, chasing million dollar dreams, playing a sport ruled by mathematics, logic, and psychology, I would have laughed hysterically and asked them what they were smoking. But here I am, along with thousands of others who are valiantly fighting to best the Poker beast!
Poker captured my imagination about 10 years ago while I was traveling to the US for work. Jet-lagged from the journey, I would stay up nights flipping channels until one day I came upon ESPN broadcasting a poker tournament. My tiredness immediately fell away and I was enraptured! I had no clue as to what was going on - but the players, the intensity and the cards being opened with so much suspense immediately got me hooked.
A year later I watched an old movie called “A Big Hand for the Little Lady” because I had heard it was about Poker – my parents were big fans of Henry Fonda and my Dad loved everything about Westerns! It was the first Poker movie I watched and the title, as well as the crazy story with the twisty ending, made me promise myself to learn the game.
Fast forward through parts of the story that I am sure all of you are familiar with – Zynga making poker accessible to all of us through Facebook, the home games played with friends and family (where for one year we played without knowing that we had to burn cards before turning them), and playing micro-stakes online to improve my skills in order to win the competitive home games!
In 2012, my home game poker crews from both Bangalore and Pune decided to attend the IPC Tournament in Goa. So much excitement, nervousness, and the games were on. Running deep, meeting players behind the online handles, getting busted by one of the top players on the circuit - the experience was golden!
In January 2015, after 25 years of working in the corporate arena, I decided to take the plunge and focus on playing Poker seriously.
It took me a year and 2 live cashes to realise that playing poker seriously and playing serious poker were two vastly different things. I quickly understood that my home game tactics were not going to work and set about unlearning everything I knew about the game.
At the end of 2015, I started playing poker daily online; I have turned to friends and coaches to teach me the finer points of the game and now I work very hard to continuously improve my game. Playing Poker is probably the most difficult thing I have taken on in my life and I dedicate a lot of time to keep both physically and mentally strong. This journey is not for the faint hearted!
In light of today’s announcement that PokerBaazi has chosen me to join their Pro Team, I can say my journey so far has been worth it. It has taken me 2 years and 4 months to get to where I want to be – working with a team of serious Poker players, a team that behaves more like family than colleagues, and an opportunity to learn how to play some serious Poker from my idols and inspirations.
I would like to thank the PokerBaazi.com Team for believing in me. I cannot wait to begin this journey into unexplored territory with all of you. Let us go forth and conquer. Here Be Dragons, indeed.