So far, it’s been one hell of a rookie year since I decided to take the plunge as a full time pro this January. I had been playing on and off for years, trying to balance poker and university. Now, I could finally devote all my time and energy into poker, something I had been looking forward to for a long time. It was a mash of exuberance and trepidation, the likes of which I had never experienced before.
After two successful APTs in Manila in the latter half of 2015, I was feeling pretty good going into Aussie Millions. At the time, it was the longest poker trip I had planned and bricking a few side events proved to be the tonic I needed to gear myself up for the main event. After grinding my way to a 100k stack on day 1C, an hour into day 2 I found myself at a star studded table with Philipp Gruissem to my immediate left and Brian Rast two seats away. This was going to be a long day. And sure enough, the chips started to fly within minutes. It took me a while to find a handle on some of the best in the business, but eventually I found my comfort zone and most of the chips on the table.
Going into day 3, I had built my stack past the 200k mark and was amongst the top 30 stacks but a combination of losing flips and a sick river call by an opponent with third pair when I triple barreled a limp pot knocked me out at 66th place for a 15k$ payday. For a while, I was left wondering what could have been but I learnt a lot on the trip and was generally pretty happy with my game. Playing with the top pros and holding my own, while having a blast in Melbourne, was more than what I could have hoped for going in.
What happened next was completely unexpected. After Full tilt and Pokerstars were banned in Singapore, I had dabbled in Indian sites. I had been playing on PokerBaazi for about six months when I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to join PokerBaazi as a Team Pro. The offer of representing India’s most trusted poker site at Indian and international events was a no-brainer. I immediately said yes and looked forward to being a part of their wonderfully dedicated team.
Unfortunately, I got off to a slow start at the February IPC in Goa, which was my first tournament as a Baazi Pro. Busted the first couple of turbo events with KKs to AQ and JJs to A10. It was somewhat comforting to make day 2 of the main event, but ended up being card dead in the later stages to conclude a fairly disappointing start to the alliance.
Next on the cards was the first tournament of my Eurotrip- WPT Vienna and I was determined to do much better. It was the definition of bitter sweet as I ended up finishing in second place in the late night turbo event after losing the final hand all in pre with AAs against 22s. It was still an incredible start to the tour and gave me a much-needed boost after bricking IPC. The main event followed and I found myself at a hyper-aggressive table on day 1. Careful not to get into big confrontations so early on in the deep tournament, I picked my spots shrewdly to make it to day 2 with an above average stack of 48k. Unfortunately, I lost a massive flip at the start of day 2 with AK to Queens. Couldn’t recover from that and was eventually busted with 88s against A7.
It was quite an experience to play alongside Ole Schemion on day 2 of the next event, the 1100-euro 8-max. We got into a ton of 3-bet 4-bet situations trying to get the better of each other. I was lucky enough to pick up Jacks on one such occasion, where I 5-bet jammed 70 bigs with little hesitation and Ole surprisingly called with AJ to double me up. I ended up finishing 14th for a nice payday in the event after losing two massive flips, AQ to TTs and later 55s. Ah well, as Norman Chad puts it correctly, "no one ever wins with AQ!"
Stay tuned for more about my experience at the EPT Grand Finale Monte Carlo and what’s in store for the future in Part II of this blog post.