Heads Up With the Adda52 Millions Champion – Rajat Sharma

Rajat-Sharma-Adda52-MillionsOnline poker tournaments in India have grown bigger with the launch of Adda52 Millions in September this year. The first season of the India’s biggest online poker tournament was won by Meet Shah of Surat. On 1st November, the 2nd edition of Adda52 Millions was played and it was Rajat Sharma topping the online field of over 125 players to claim the lion’s share of the prize pool.

OPN spoke to Rajat about this big win at the online felt in India. Rajat shared his experience of Adda52 Millions as well as his future poker plans.

OPN – Hi Rajat, thanks for your conversation with OPN. Firstly, congratulations on winning the ‘Adda52 Millions’. For our readers who don’t know much about you, please tell us about yourself and your poker journey so far.

RS – I am a Private Banker based out of Delhi. I have been playing house games for last two and half years. But it’s only in the last 1 year or so when I have started playing tournaments. My 1st tournament was the Deltin Jaqk series in last September where I stone bubbled the ME. I have had some good results and some tough outings since then. But it’s been a great journey and I’m loving every part of it.

OPN – Coming to Adda52 Millions, How was the field and what do you think propelled you to the top?

RS – I late registered into the Adda52 Millions. In fact I was not even aware that there is a Million GTD event happening on Adda52. A friend messaged me with 15 mins to close. I decided to register and well went on to win it. When I joined there were 100 odd people left. I picked my spots well and towards the end everything went my way.

OPN – What was the turning point for you in this tournament?

RS – I think, I was the chip leader with 20 odd left and I never looked back from there. There were 2-3 very good players left, Sharad Rao for 1 but then we ran well. On the FT, I had a massive chip lead, around 35-40% of chips in play. Hence I could apply pressure and pick up dead money.

OPN – You beat “nuckythompson” heads-up to win this tourney. Share with us your Heads up battle and the final hand.

RS – Heads-Up battle did not last long. I guess we played around 10-15 hands. The defining moment from HU was when I triple barreled with A high and “nucky” folded with just 6-7 BB’s behind. This was the penultimate hand. On the last hand, I shoved K3 off with a 10 to 1 chip lead and he called with 55. I clipped a K on the flop to take it down.

OPN – Apart from playing online, you have also been travelling to Goa, Bangalore and recently to Cambodia for APT. How do you balance your life with poker outings?

RS – It’s tough to be a poker player specially when that is not your day job and you are married with a kid. But, then I’m quite lucky that both my wife and my boss give me the freedom to travel to play poker. I guess they understand that i really love the game and I’m passionate about it. I have had some good results to show for the same.

OPN -You passion and love for this game has grown in last 1 year. Are you planning to turn a full-time pro?

RS – No, I am very happy with the arrangement right now where I work full time as a Private Banker and a part time/recreational/novice poker player.

OPN – Tell us about your further poker plans and ambitions.

RS – Going forward I plan to travel more on the Asian circuit to play with the best in Asia. Not that we don’t have great Indian players who are the best in business. I mean if you are on the same table as Sushi, bblack, or Anti and so many others you can end up learning a lot. The agenda for next year will be to try and win an Asian event and then take it from there. Another personal goal that I have set is better bankroll management online. I had a comfortable online bankroll and well I blew it all up playing tournaments which my bankroll did not permit. So yes I’m in the process of grinding out online to build the bankroll once again. Third goal is to get coaching. I have been working with Arsh Grover (BigggTymer) but, currently the sessions are quite sporadic. I want to follow a well disciplined regime going forward.

OPN – Be it live or online, Indian poker industry has grown at a good pace in 2015. What do you think should be done additionally to promote this game in the country?

RS – I think first step is to make people aware that Poker is NOT gambling. Because, initially when I told my parents I am travelling to play poker they were shocked that I’m gonna go and gamble. But, now my dad has read some articles on the game and he thinks it’s a game of skill. Lot of people in India who want to turn pro or take up this game, face headwinds because of this misconception. The second step is legalizing. So, that people can play this game peacefully without any fear in whichever city they live in. That will bring a large pool of players into the system. Third I think, we still don’t have many enough tournaments in India. IPC is one big setup but apart from that there is nothing. In the early part of 2015 there was lot of action on the tournament side in Bangalore but that has completely dried up. Hope in 2016 that landscape might change.