Paawan was introduced to poker by his friends during his grad stint at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. From playing Zynga poker to being the only Indian pro to cash in the Aussie Millions 2016 main event, Paawan has indeed come a long way in a short time. PokerBaazi caught up with Pro Paawan Bansal whilst his short coffee break from Poker Site India Play and Win Cash. Stay munched to know all about his exciting poker journey, poker living, and tips for beginners.
1. When and how did you start playing poker?
Back in 2008, I was barely 17 and it was my first week of undergrad at a university in Singapore. I hadn’t even heard of poker until my friends were kind enough to introduce me to this wonderful game I’ve been learning ever since. You can learn poker game online here.
2. When did you decide to go pro?
Just started traveling the circuit this January! However, I took a couple of semesters off during college a year ago when I played full time. After that, I had my mind made up to give poker a serious shot.
3. Was your family supportive of that decision?
Not right off the bat but I’m kind of astonished to see just how much they have come around in the last few years. A few gifts (some may call them bribes) definitely helped speed the process up.
4. What is it like to earn a living through poker?
Depends. At times, it feels like the best thing ever, traveling the world doing something you love but then there are days when you just can’t help cursing through the roof. Empirically, it doesn’t take much time to bring the best players to their knees. It can be a cruel game. As someone rightly said, “It’s a hard way to make an easy living”.
5. If you weren't a pro poker player, what would you be doing?
Haha, I have no idea as I never seriously considered anything else. Maybe trading as it has similar skill set requirements, can’t say if I would have enough discipline to last for as many years as I have in poker.
6. How many times have you gone completely broke during your poker career?
I feel blessed that I’ve never had to go through that. Been strapped for cash a couple of times after long tours and even that gets on my nerves.
7. What abetted your development in seeing yourself as a winning player?
Probably the inherent competitiveness. Be it sports or academia, I’ve always been hell bent on being the best, almost to an obsession. Poker is mental warfare at its purest and I have always relished new challenges. Combine that with a need to make money to support a degenerate lifestyle, an aptitude for math and I feel like I was born to do this. No better motivation than finding your true calling I believe.
8. Do you think that sociable charisma helps you at the table?
Most certainly. It’s said that Poker is not a card game played with people, it’s a people game played with cards. Being socially adept and keeping recreational players on the table happy is what separates the good from the great. You know you are doing something very special when you can befriend strangers at the table to the extent where they don’t mind losing all their money to you. Amarillo Slim, an all-time legend used to be a master at this and I idolize him for it. Although being the insufferable know-it-all, I need some major work with this aspect of the game when it comes to poker.
9. Do you play online, and if so, which is the best online poker sites in India in your opinion and why?
Oh ya, nothing like playing lying down on your bed in boxers! I would have to say PokerBaazi, and me being a team member there has very little to do with it. Having played on most of the Indian sites, I am yet to come across the kind of experience PokerBaazi provides. Be it the coveted customer service, the out-of-this-world promotions, the transparency, the unparalleled smoothness in deposits and withdrawals or the constant software improvements made from the players’ feedback, it’s something you have to see for yourself to believe.
10. Have you got any tips for the beginners?
Poker is like fashion, if you keep working on improving your game, experimenting with various lines or innovating in the moment, you’ll stay on top of the curve, if you relax and rest on your winnings you’ll soon go out of style.
11. What are your views about the upcoming events at PokerBaazi.com?
It's an exciting time to be part of the PokerBaazi team with the third edition of the PokerBaazi Premier League just around the corner, promising a whopping 40 Lacs in guarantees. I just can’t wait to get back to the online felt during the PPL and bring some glory to the House of Baazi. Being behind the scenes with the team, I can also vouch for the awesome preparation going into the inaugural Baazi Poker Tour, which is going to be a game changer when it comes to live poker tournaments in India. Join us at Deltin Royale in Goa from the 23rd to 26th June and stand to win from the 50 Lac GTD prize pool across the four BPT events. See you at the tables!