Poker as a game and profession is finally finding its calling in India. We at Onlinepokernews.in decided to check out the New Crop of Indian Poker which is making inroads in online poker. Aakriti Bhatnagar, our poker correspondent chatted with one such young poker player-Sahil Agarwal for the mere mortals and ‘antilog’ for the Poker World.
Sahil is the crème de la crème of GEN P of Indian Poker and is very close to achieving the WSOP dream of every poker player. An IT professional who quit his job a year ago to become a full-fledged poker player, he is currently in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Read the excerpts of an interview with Sahil Agarwal in the third of the series of Next Generation of Online Poker- GEN P of Indian Poker.
|Poker Nick Name
|Fav place to play Poker( online)
|Fav place to play poker(offline)
|Fav Poker Hand
|$426,126 at PokerStars
Q 1. Hi Sahil, Thanks for taking out the time to speak with us. To start with, can you tell us when you start playing poker? Basically your poker journey till date…
SA- Like everyone else, I started playing Zynga Poker in Facebook. I got hooked because it was so much of fun. Also, the fact that people are making so much of money was attractive. I started playing Freerolls to get the hang of the game before I moved to cash games. I downloaded a lot of episodes of High Stakes Poker and WSOP from YouTube and was surprised that people are making money out of it. I slowly started winning which made me feel better and wanted to play more. When in 2009-10 PokerGuru started and a lot of good poker players from India started coming up like Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal, Sangeeth Mohan etc.They started blogging and I followed them. Then I started coaching under Prabhat Mukherjee- an online poker player. Then, I entered the mentorship program (the second edition) and I was selected and coached by Aditya Agarwal. I started earning from Poker and eventually quit my job from Infosys.
Q 2 -How long has it been since you have quit your job?
SA- I quit last year on 14th Jun, so it’s been more than a year.
Q 3- How much poker do you play?
SA- I play poker 4-5 days a week and at least 10 hours. Approximately 40 hours a week. I try to play at least 1000 online tournaments in a week. I play multiple tables a lot. In tournaments it’s the volume that matters.
In live tournaments, I have played 4-5 series in Goa and have been to Macau twice.
Q 4- How does your family feel about you playing Poker?
SA- Parents were skeptical initially as would any Indian parents be. It’s because Poker is considered as gambling and parents don’t like that. I was working in Infosys and working the full day there, come back home and play online poker from 9:00 in the evening till 4:00 in the morning and then sleep for 2-3 hours and back to work. My parents saw how hard I am working towards my poker dream. It was a busy schedule and I eventually convinced then to give me an year to focus completely on poker. They agreed and here I am, flying to Las Vegas to play at the WSOP.
Q 5- Have you ever participated in any live tournaments in India or Internationally?
SA- Yes, I have played in Goa and Macau.
Q 6- What has been your best live finish so far?
SA- I played in the DR Cup Main event with the 50,000 INR buy in. I was on the final table against players like Kunal Chandra and managed to finish 5th.
I also played in the 2014 Macau Poker Cup Main Event. Here I finished 56th in the money.
Q 7- Who do you idolize in Poker, both in India and Internationally?
SA- In India, I would have to say that Poker was started by Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal. He is not only the best player in India but also in the world. He is a very helpful person and a great player. He is genuinely modest and I have learned a lot from him.
Internationally I like Benny Spindler. He is super aggressive. I also like Calvin Anderson, he plays online and he too is an aggressive player. I like both their playing styles.
Q 8- Who are the 3 Indian names, according to you, who can make it big in International Poker Community?
SA- There are so many players that I don’t know whose name to take and whose not to take.
Q 9- What do you do when no playing Poker?
SA- I chill with friends or am at home with family. I am also working on the game.
Q 10- What is your one Poker dream?
SA- To win the WSOP Main Event.
Q 11- You are leaving for WSOP soon, would this be your first time?
Q 12- How do you feel?
SA- I am super excited. Everything happened smoothly. Last month was good, I won two tournaments, and then I applied for the VISA and got through. It boasted my confidence and I thought I should not wait; I’ll not get a better opportunity.
Q 13- Is there any preparation you have done?
SA- No. Not really.
Q 14- Any goal that you want to achieve in the WSOP?
SA- There is no such goal. The main goal is volume. Play as many events as possible and give your best. However, I would prefer to return with some profit.
Q 15- What should be done to promote poker in India?
SA- There are a lot of Indian poker sites but the cash transactions seem a little shady. There should be clarity on the legality of the game in India. People want to play but are hesitant to play because they are unsure if it’s legal or not. Also, once a poker player in India makes a huge win like $40,000 or $50,000 then people will automatically be attracted that one can make money out of playing poker.