In our ‘Heads Up with the Winners‘ Section, we bring you exclusive chats with Indian poker players who are winning laurels abroad. The two names that recently kept the Indian Flag high in the poker world recently include Kunal Patni and Anju Abrol who won Event 1 and Event 2 of the ongoing Asia Championship of Poker(ACOP) in Macau. Today we bring you a talk with Kunal who overcame a 134 player field in the rebuy- championship to claim his first ever title.
Q 1. How does it feel getting the Spadie home?
KP– Frankly it hasn’t sunk in till now. Everyone comes to a major tournament with a hope that they will win. And so do did I. But my main aim was to gain some experience as this is my first major tournament. My idea was to meet up with a lot of pros from around the world and gain invaluable experience from them. So this has been a total bonus. The cash in at the second tourney has just been the icing on the cake. I am really happy. The response from my family and friends and the poker community in India has left me speechless. I feel like a mini celebrity.
Q 2. Is the excitement double in the Indian contingent now that Anju Abrol also shipped Event 2?
KP- Surprisingly there isn’t a strong Indian contingent here till now. I think they are all arriving here this week. But yes I can see the excitement on the various Indian websites. It’s definitely a very good sign for poker in India. 2 novices have taken the first two spadies. It’s a bit of a fairy tale.
Q 3 Did you fancy your chances of winning when the event took off?
KP– When I started the event my only aim was to play my A game and run in deep. Towards the middle of the tourney when I had gathered good chips I realized I had a very decent chance. I ended day one as the chip leader and then held on to it till the very end. When we were heads up I was pretty confident on winning the same as I thought I had a very good read on my opponents play and that really helped. When we were heads up he had 75% of the total chips but I was still quite confident of cracking it
Q 4. Whom did you think gave you maximum competition at the tables?
KP–There were a couple of poker stars pro who were in the tourney and this Japanese pro (I can’t really recollect his name) was on my table for a long time. He was playing very good poker. I just had to tell myself not to be in awe of him and play my regular game and that’s what I did. Funnily enough I got my maximum chips from him to when he went all in with KK and I had AA. That was sweet cause a couple of hands backed I lost my AA to his 88.
Q 5. Did you have any nervous moments in the tourney?
KP– Not really. I had a decent chip stack throughout the tournament so wasn’t worried except the hand I mentioned above. He had me covered. So if my aces would have been busted once again against his kings I would have been out.
Q 6. You mentioned you were skipping the high roller events, will you be playing now after your win in Event 1?
KP– No I still wouldn’t be playing the high roller events. I would take part in the main event though.
Q 7. How did you prepare for this tourney before heading to Macau?
KP– I used to watch a lot of videos and read the forums online. I would highly recommend Jonathan Little’s three series book on poker tournaments though. It’s a fantastic series to get your basics of tournaments in place. I learnt a lot from these books and rectified quite a few of the basic errors that novices like me make while playing tournaments.