Consistent is an appropriate word to define this young Indian poker talent. He has been playing poker for over 5 years out which he has dedicated the last 3 years full-time at the virtual and live felt after quitting his job. Aditya Kumar is among one of the regular tournament players on online sites in recent times and has fetched decent figures in winnings. He want to become a tournament pro and wishes to see himself in World GPI Top 10.
OPN India caught up with Aditya to know about his poker beginnings, the journey so far and his future plans.
To start with, can you tell us about yourself and when did u get started with the game of poker.
Aditya – I started Poker back in college around 2009 when I saw a friend playing on Zynga poker whenever I used to go his home for notes or study material. Then, we started playing on our way to college in the car and we got caught many times playing poker on the last desk in the classroom.
We were so addicted back then that we used to skip class to play poker in hostel all day and hours used to feel like minutes. After that, I started playing with college friends at their home on the dining table for 5/10 blinds. After college was over, I looked for some home games in the city and I found 50/50 game where I started going almost everyday & after 1 year I realized it is the toughest cash game in the town as there was not even a single fish on the table. So it’s good for me in a way that I learnt game sitting around the good players.
You have been very active on Indian poker sites specially tournaments. What’s the good part of playing on Indian sites compared to foreign sites?
Aditya – Indian sites are bit softer then PokerStars and have almost no regs playing on it. Also, on Indian websites deposit & withdrawal process is far easier than foreign poker sites. 2 years back there was only Adda52 and had only 1 tournament per day. Now, there are so many Indian sites that I can play on them and don’t have to hunt for games on PokerStars or other foreign sites.
How much poker do you play on a day/in a week/ in a month?
Aditya – I play around 40 hours in a week. I always take 1 day off poker every week mainly on Thursday as there is no good tournament on any Indian website on that day.
What is the ratio of cash games in your total poker gameplay? What would you like to become five years down the line – cash game specialist or tournament player?
Aditya – I started off from live cash games and now I haven’t played a single cash game hand for last 1 year. I always wanted to be a tournament pro since I started. I used to play cash game only because there were no tournament taking place in my city and I prefer live poker to online.
What has been some of your biggest achievement in poker till date? How do you rank them?
Aditya – I have done best in the live cash games by biggest pot was $2000 ever in $2/$4 game even though I want to see myself as a tournament pro. I won IPS back in March 2014 but, haven’t played much in Goa since then. Also, I had few big wins on Adda52 but nothing which I think is super massive and I should be bragging about yet.
Are you playing poker full-time? How do you balance you professional and personal life with poker?
Aditya – I am full-time player from 3 years now. I had a full-time job but, then I quit that to focus on poker. It’s very tough to do Poker professionally in India because of the sleeping pattern as all the games start after 10pm and I end up playing till 5am. So I sleep 7am to 4pm and miss out on the real life stuff. The only workable solution to this is to take 1 or 2 day off from poker and go out to refresh your brain. Maybe, once I hit a big score I can start take 3 days off in a week as I can sit and feed on the big pile of cash that I won for a very long time…lol
Is your family supportive of you playing poker?
Aditya – Partially supportive, they never told me to quit poker but, they are not 100% happy about it. They always told me do whatever I want to do in my life but they sometimes worry as Poker is kind of an unstable source of income and also it takes toll on health.
Who do you idolize in Poker, both in India and Internationally?
Aditya – My favorite poker player is Daniel Negreanu, same choice as tons of other people around the world. It’s mainly because I watched him a lot on TV when I was new to poker and he is one of the best in the world.
In India, there are many poker players I look up to mainly Jasven Saigal, Amit “bblacklegend” Jain, Raghav Bansal, Dhaval Mudgal & Aditya Agarwal.
Which players you take up as strong competitors at the online tables?
Aditya – I would say everyone is a strong competitor because you really don’t know how good or bad they are first time you play against them. We should give respect to the unknowns too, just coz we haven’t seen them doesn’t mean they are bad and assume they will play hand bad. It’s tougher to play hands against unknown rather than someone you know. So, for me a strong competitor is someone who I haven’t played against ever and is playing aggressively. By default, one should assume their opponent is competent player also as the saying goes never under-estimate your enemy.
What is you one poker dream?
Aditya – My poker dream is to be in the top 10 poker player in the GPI rankings of the world.
How do you like spending spare time off the desk and poker felt? What are you hobbies?
Aditya – When I am not playing poker I am mostly chatting with friends about general stuff or making plans for outings. I also go to cinema every fortnight to watch latest movie. I always catch up with childhood friends from school, college, etc once in 3-4 months as they are going be true friends for life. So, I never miss out on their celebrations be it wedding, birthday, etc.
When I am alone I sometimes do little bit of gaming on the console or listen to dance music to clear up my head from poker world.
What’s your take on rising popularity of poker in India? What do you think should be done to promote this game more?
Aditya – When I started 5 years back the speed of growth was very slow but in last 2-3 years it has changed to more than double. I think in next 5 years we might have live tournaments with 500+ players field.
In order to promote the game it has to be legalized that’s the only way I see it becoming big, as new players will not try anything that is not legal and also 30% TDS is a big problem for the professional to make living from poker.
One thing which live poker rooms should do is introduce small stakes cash games like 10/20 or 10/25 and small buy-in tournaments like 1k or 2k. Two years back we used to have 5k, 7.5k buy-in tournaments in Goa. Now, it’s 10k minimum which is a big amount to risk for a player who has just learnt poker. Many poker rooms are running 100/200 cash tables and 10k+ buy-in tournaments because they are focused on making huge rake rather than attracting new players who are no comfortable yet to play for such high stakes.
One thing is clear to attract new players live poker plays bigger role then online poker, because people wants to chit-chat, laugh, socialize, drink, run huge bluffs on the table & show their cards to tilt their opponents. Recreational players will always prefer live poker to online.