Sameer Rattonsey is back in India after a successful outing at the Asia Pacific Poker Tour(APPT) Manila where he final tabled the Main Event and finished 5th for a pay day of USD 15,000. India’s Rajiv Kanjani finished 9th to make it a great schedule for India.
OPN decided to catch up with Rattonsey to check out how his winning experience was and how Manila has always been a successful outing for him. Excerpts from the interview with Sameer Rattonsey:
Q- Hi Sameer, thanks for chatting with OPN. Congratulations on the 5th place finish at the APPT Manila. Could you describe the experience for our readers?
SR– Thanks for the kind words. It’s always nice to make the final table of a Main Event of any tournament series. Back in 2012 I managed a 6th place finish in APPT’s Cebu edition and it would have been great to go to win this one but unfortunately my Aces ran into a set of fours on the flop.
Q- You made a marvelous comeback to make it to the FT. How difficult was it?
SR- In the first couple of days I had some tough tables and opposition to contend with. It was only in the final stages of Day 2 that I got an opportunity to chip up since we were getting close to the money bubble and players had started to play a lot tighter. Overall it was a pretty tough Main Event and I was just happy with the way I was playing and more importantly my mental approach to the game after a considerable break from live poker.
Q- Did having an Indian poker player and friend in Rajeev Kanjani prove helpful on the FT?
SR– It’s always nice to have a countryman on your table and more so when it’s a friend. Just adds a bit more of a comfort level when facing players of so many different nationalities alongside you. Good to have a quick chat with during the breaks whether its analyzing a particular hand or venting about a bad beat.
Q- Manila has been good for you. 5th place in the 2014 APPT, 2nd place in the 2012 APT and 6th place in the 2012 APPT(Cebu). Do you think Manilathe Philippines is lucky for you?
SR- As a poker destination, I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Philippines over other Asian destinations. I haven’t won any major titles in this country so I cannot comment on the luck part of things but yeah I do make it a point to visit the Philippines for poker when I can.
Q- Why did you choose participating at the APPT rather than the WSOP?
SR- Playing at the World Series is any poker player’s first choice. But traveling halfway around the world to play only a couple of events makes no sense with regard to Vegas. So a proper trip to the WSOP would entail taking off at least a month. Unfortunately due to work commitments, I am unable to spare that kind of time but I am hoping 2015 will be the year for my WSOP debut.
Q- Based on this 5th and 9th place finish for you and Kanjani, do you think Indians are finding their due in Asian poker? Are Indians looked up as a growing poker fraternity?
SR- I think Indians have a long way to go when it comes to competing in Asian and world tournaments. We do not have enough domestic opportunities to play tournament poker on a regular basis. Until this situation is sorted out, this will continue to hurt the overall growth of Indian poker players’ ability to compete on a regional /global scale.
Considering it’s usually a smallish (and similar) sort of contingent that keeps traveling outside the country to play poker, I think we have done well for ourselves and it’s made people more aware that India is a nation with a growing fan-base for this sport.
Q- What are your future plans?
SR- There are quite a few regional tournaments coming up like the MPC Red Dragon (August), Asian Poker Tour Manila (September) and the World Poker Tour National Philippines (October). I am hoping to catch the Main Events in all of them depending of course on work schedules and other commitments in India.
Q- Considering your huge tournament success, could you advise upcoming poker players for tournaments?
SR- First off, I really hope that the tournament scene in India gets a revival soon. As this will lead to more opportunities for emerging players to interact and play with the more experienced players who have played/travelled in India and outside.
The only way to test your abilities is to play against better opponents and the only way to improve your game is to observe, learn and adapt those things your opponents do better than you. Poker is all about mental strength so it is important to remain focused and calm through those long hours of grinding. More so in tournament poker where even a moment’s lapse in concentration can have disastrous consequences to your eventual results. So keep learning, put those things into practice, track on your progress and you will be on your way to becoming a better player.