PokerBaazi Team PRO Maria Kirloskar

Recently, I came across an article by Barry Carter, the editor of and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, in which he says that the new recreational poker player is more likely to come from today’s vast pool of gamers rather than casino gamblers.

He goes on to explain that the new player is more of the serious, tech-savvy gamer for whom, following Twitch and YouTube streamers, even in the arena of Poker, are part and parcel of his gaming experience. This profile of player is used to complex games, making lots of fast decisions and most importantly they are much more willing to tolerate complexity.

These insights sparked an epiphany in my mind because I had been planning to write about my gaming journey over the years and I know that many of you out there are gamers first who now have evolved into Poker players. It’s a relief to know that all those hours in front of the Nintendo, Atari, PC, Sega, and PlayStation have not been wasted but in fact have helped us on our Poker journey! And I can proudly say I do think I’m a first generation gamer haha (betraying my age, here)!

My gaming journey began in the 1980’s with the fantastic Donkey Kong on the Nintendo handheld. The Nintendo was my favourite possession, after my Walkman, and I had to have it with me everywhere I went. The challenge was first to get the max score of 999 after which I realized the game would reset and you could go on to make another 999 without end.

Very quickly, it became a challenge of how to get to 999 10 times in a single session! In this same decade, I played Nintendo and all the uber cool Atari games like Space Invaders, Adventure, and Pong.

The 90s

In the 1990s, I was busy completing University and starting my career.  There was no time for games and I didn’t miss it because I just thought that games were for kids, not for people who had to focus on adult responsibilities.

I was pleasantly proved wrong when I had the opportunity to join a company which was creating CD ROM learning titles around stories and games for children.  I had the joy of working on the development and marketing of those incredible games.

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At this time, because of the nature of my job, I was able to spend hours after work playing games on some beautiful Macs with huge screens in the office. This was when Myst entered my life.  The most graphically beautiful and complex game I have played till date,

I spent 1997 playing Myst and its sequels Myst II: Riven; Myst III: Exile in 2001, Myst IV: Revelation in 2004 and finally Myst V: End of Ages in 2005. I think I fell in love with the Rand brothers who created those amazing games. By 2003, the Myst franchise had sold over 12 million copies worldwide.


By the 2000s, I was a full-on gamer, playing Age of Empires, Doom and Half-Life on the PC. Doom was my first experience with a first-person shooter game. Released in 1993, I started playing it in 2004. Since its debut, over 10 million copies of the games in the Doom series have been sold.

Half-Life quickly became one of my favourites and, no wonder, because it won over 50 PC “Game of the Year” awards and is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. Then came the immersive poker strategy game, The Elder Scrolls, which put me on the path to Poker. The complexity, the endurance and the long hours prepared me well for my current career!

The Elder Scrolls is a series of action-playing open-world fantasy video games, known for its vast and graphically engaging open worlds with its focus on free-form gameplay.  The first of the series was released in 1994 but I began playing it on the PS in 2006. So, I skipped the earlier versions, including Morrowind, and started with Oblivion and then went on to Skyrim in 2011.  Thus, began my love for dragons all because of the character of the great dragon Alduin the World Eater!

In 2013, The Elder Scrolls was voted as the Greatest Game Series of the Decade on GameSpot, winning out over 64 other titles competing for this honour. In 2006, I also began playing Call of Duty, which is my all-time favourite console game.

Playing the series on the PS, I spent countless hours playing Call of Duty 3, went on to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, then Black Ops, Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops 2, Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3 and Infinite Warfare.

I did not realize until just now that I have spent a lot of hours on my love for gaming! In 2007, Zynga Poker was launched and all bets were on! Still, I didn’t know that my poker journey had begun at that time so, I spent more hours on the PS3 games – getting through all the Call of Duty campaigns and the Oblivion fantasy with the huge battling dragons, were my daily pastime.

In 2015, all that changed when I began playing satellites to win tickets into the IPC live tournaments in Goa. And Poker became the game of my life. Now, I play only Poker with a smattering of video game sessions to unwind and destress.  But I do miss those weekends of playing Call of Duty and the beauty of the Myst series.

After reading Carter’s article on the new recreational Poker player being more gamer than a gambler, I realized that sometimes, your pastime leads you to a passion and that passion hones skills you didn’t know you either had or would need to have.  I’m glad that gamers are now looking at Poker as a new gaming experience we’re bound to be challenged by the current generation of gamers whose mental agility will propel them from being mere recreational players to some of the best professional Poker players in the world.

Gamers – live long and prosper!