PokerBaazi is all set to launch its 2nd season of the glorious online poker tournament, PPL MoneyMaker 2020 on 18th October! So, broaden your horizons and strop your minds because it’s time to take a pro shot to clench the 1 Crore Guarantee once again. All details on the upcoming season are listed on the promotions page.
With that being said, why not take a ride to the past and refresh our minds with the highlights of the last season and pump in some adrenaline for the next best of the best action? And what better way to journey through the season’s best if not from the PPL MoneyMaker 2020 10th edition winner himself?
PokerBaazi’s PPL MoneyMaker is a high value online poker tournament that is on every Indian poker player’s checklist. The PokerBaazi Premier League Main Event of the March Edition came at a Rs.10,000 buy-in and a 1 crore guarantee that drew players by the dozen. The 10th edition of the PPL MoneyMaker which now falls under the umbrella of the PPL series whipped up a monster prize pool of INR 10,760,000 creating the most enviable win that a total of 1076 players had set their eyes on.
The Final Table narrowed down to Sandeep Singh and Samay Singh Modi who battled it out for the big bags. After a heads up nerve wrecking run fight, it was Sandeep Singh who had the run of his life time to bag an attractive sum of INR 33,32,755. Samay Singh Modi aka “Sammybigstac” had to settle for a close second with a sum of INR 29,45,651.
Taking the hot seat with us this week is none other than Sandeep Singh, the proudly crowned 10th Edition, PPL MoneyMaker Winner! The jovial Singh traverses through his PPL MoneyMaker journey and his poker stride in India, spins a few tournaments tips our way and shares some personal anecdotes that’s made this interview scroll worthy till the very end!
The thrill of a poker win is unparalleled. Tell us how you feel!
It’s a great feeling. It’s probably one of India’s biggest online poker tournaments to win and taking it down is definitely a key achievement of my poker career!
Take us through your PPL MoneyMaker experience on PokerBaazi
The PPL MoneyMaker and other online poker tournaments on PokerBaazi have a certain novelty to them. They are great to play and the games grow progressively given the time limit. Having Day 2 and the final table on the next day is a real relief for poker players. PokerBaazi has definitely been a game changer for online poker.
Every player has that one memorable hand that changed the game. Do you recall yours?
Just before the final table of the PPL MoneyMaker with 14 – 15 players left. A Limp from UTG, I would usually open that but I limped because of a hunch with Ace 7 from the button followed by limps from both small and big blinds. The Flop opened Ace, 6 ,7. The UTG bets and the next opponent on the table who had his eyes on me for a while decides to 3 bet.
Since I hit my two pairs, I flat called him. He goes all-in on the turn and I matched him since we were almost even big stackers at that stage. This hand gave my chip stack the necessary boost and propelled me into being the chip lead on the final table.
A game of poker has an interesting way of making its way into your life. Care to share your anecdote with us?
I was introduced to poker during my final semester of IIM in 2010. We used to play low stakes tournaments with friends. After that, I spent a few years in Gujarat and there were no active poker scenes there. Then, I moved to Bangalore and became aware of the legality of the skill game and active live poker games.
However, I didn’t start until a live poker tournament was held by Golden aces at the Casino Pride. Not being aware that the venue was Goa, I was notified at midnight and decided to fly down to take part and ended up coming 4th! I’d say I attributed this to a little more to my luck than my game, however, this gave me confidence and I continued playing cash games in Bangalore.
I have been traveling to Goa and playing the DPT tournaments ever since 2015. I was always learning on the go with games up until last year when I decided to study the game and since then, I have noticed exponential improvement in my online poker results.
Moving to more pressing matters, the novel COVID 19 pandemic. How have they plagued the poker felts?
The impact is mainly on the live games. The online poker scenario has remained the same, in fact, online poker is one of the pandemic proof professions to be in at the moment.
Bringing us straight back to live or online. Where do we spot you more often?
Earlier, it used to be live. Considering there are more games online now, my preference has shifted to online poker tournaments.
What’s the difference between playing live or online?
The main difference is obviously that your opponent is in front of you. Online poker players are using poker HUDs, although I haven’t studied any yet, I have the most rudimentary form of it, player notes to help me with my online games. Online poker helps you multi-table and the games are fast paced compared to the live ones. So, yeah, online all the way!
Tell us about your motivations to excel in this skill-based mind sport.
The game itself. Poker always fascinated me and for the sheer love of the game, I always wanted to pursue it. When I moved to Bangalore, opportunities came knocking twice.
Further travelling to Goa and seeing players consistently perform motivated me to think of what I could do differently. Interacting with fellow players who are successful definitely drives us to pursue and improve our game.
The Indian poker community has some great players to be looking up to. Who are your role models?
There was a time when I feared Aditya Sushant being on my table purely for the psychological edge he had in his playing style. However, I continued to work on my game and now I prefer an aggressive table and trapping my opponents at their own game. Ashish Ahuja has had a great run and it’s probably the kind of consistency I want my game to reach.
Time to get personal! Is poker full time for you?
No, I am a working professional and work in the US mortgage service company. I play poker over the weekends. There are a few online poker tournaments I play over the week but I have professional ambitions as well and limit my games to the weekend and try striking a balance. So far, I’ve been managing to do well in both. It’s tough for sure and leaves me with little time for myself.
How’s the journey been with your friends and family accepting poker?
It’s been a Rollercoaster ride. Considering I entered the game with no mentoring and was losing, I’ve had people confront me about the late hours. During one New Year party in Goa, I took my wife, sister and brother-in-law to the casino and my poker stars were aligned well and I happened to win on all the four consecutive days that I played cash games.
This certainly set in a level of comfort for my wife that the sport is a lot more than just gambling and that you can also win. Comforting her was my priority. I promised her last year that if I didn’t become a winning player in a year, the game was not meant for me and I would stop. I knew I would turn it around. Quitting was never an option for me because of how much I love the game.
P.S: My wife ended up trying her hand at a few women’s’ poker tournaments in Goa and shipped a small tournament 2 years ago! (Now, that’s a winning story for sure!)
Poker as a game teaches you a lot. Do you take these poker lessons back home or to work?
Patience has been my biggest learning from poker. Learning not to overreact and control yourself in situations is something poker has taught me and I implement it at work very often. This has certainly increased my ability to think through a situation before reacting in all walks of my life.
What does the future hold for you in terms of poker and professionally?
Besides playing online poker, I wish to travel the world and play on some of the world’s live felts. I would like to pursue my professional ambitions as well and reach the top in both worlds.
Talking about the future in online poker, will we be seeing you at PokerBaazi’s next PPL Edition? What strategies will you be bringing to these felts?
Yes! And like every tournament, I come in with the intention to win. The bigger tournaments give us sufficient time to prepare. So, I set a target and practice by taking part in smaller online poker tournaments during the run up to the main one. This has been my poker strategy and since they’ve shown results, I think I’ll continue with this for the next big one.
At PokerBaazi, it gives us tremendous pride to see winners like Sandeep Singh in the making. This pokerholic has not just won the 10th Edition, PPL MoneyMaker, but also bagged himself a new job and celebrated his wife reaching the finals of a Mrs. India pageant not too long ago. What a sweet home run!
Congratulations once again Sandeep!
The next one to feature in this winner interview could just be you! So, those of you who happened to miss the boat on this one, get ready for the brand new 11th Edition of the PPL MoneyMaker 2020 and fire up the felts with your slasher moves. Satellites to the latest edition are live already, so buckle up and get incredible value for your skills this time!
All the very best!