Indian poker community has many players who have either transformed from a working professional to a full-time poker player or are in a process of doing the same. One of such players is Deepak Bothras who started playing poker in college with friends and got hooked up with this game. An IIM Indore MBA graduate, Deepak plays online as well as live poker and has recently left his day job to focus more on the game as well his coaching sessions for MBA aspirants.
OPN India caught up with Deepak 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.
Deepak – I am from Pune, spent most of my life in Ahmedabad though. I am a chartered accountant and have done MBA from IIM Indore. I have worked in the industry for around 8 years. I learnt poker in MBA days, where we used to play for micro stakes (not PS micro; winnings of Rs 500 in a day were huge those days).
I went to Goa a few times just to play poker after my MBA got completed. Did well there and then, I started playing at Adda52.com. Did well again and then gradually, started to play Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) online at Indian poker sites.
You are in the Top 10 of Adda52 POY leaderboard with consistence performance since the launch. Your thoughts on the competition and other players in Top 10?
Deepak – Leaderboard is a great initiative started by Adda52. It is financially rewarding as well as will give you good name in the industry if you finish well in the competition. I think all the regular players like Pokemon13, Aggtarun, Newkidintown will give tough fight as they all are really good at both cash games and tournaments.
How much poker do you play?
Deepak – I don’t have any fixed schedule but on an average I play like 50-60 hours a week.
What has been some of your biggest achievement in poker till date? How do you rank them?
Deepak – I don’t think I have achieved anything big yet. I won a few 5 Lac PMT tourneys, one i-Phone tourney and ended up in the money in Adda52 Millions tourney twice. But yes winning first 5 lac PMT tournament gave me a lot of confidence. Finishing in the money in February, 2016 IPC was also a confident booster.
Are you playing poker full-time? How do you balance you professional and personal life with poker?
Deepak – No I don’t yet play full time. It’s really difficult to balance professional and personal life when you play poker. Nine months back I used to work full time in Mumbai with four hours of daily travel time and along with that I used to give coaching for CAT (MBA Entrance Exam) and also play poker. It was really hectic. But considering I have left job recently and plan to focus on coaching and poker, it’s much better.
Is your family supportive of you playing poker?
Deepak – Not at all. I come from traditional Marwari family and nobody in my family likes me playing poker. Just because I am a profitable player nobody is forcing me to get out of it. I think I am able to convince my wife a little bit but I am not sure.
Who do you idolize in Poker, both in India and Internationally?
Deepak – I idolize Aditya Agarwal and Daniel Negreanu. I hope I will be able to achieve at least something in Poker career as these guys have achieved.
Which players you take up as strong competitors at the online tables?
Deepak – There are many strong competitors/clearly better players than me at online tables. To name a few, it is really difficult to play Aggtarun, Pokemon13, AOS in PLO tables at Adda52.com.
What is you one poker dream?
Deepak – I want to win World Series of poker (WSOP) event. I know it’s a big statement but dreams have to be big.
How do you like spending spare time off the desk and poker felt? What are you hobbies?
Deepak – I love playing Chess and Cricket. I also like playing strategy games (won one such competition with over 200 participants across nations during MBA time) and solving math puzzles. I also love spending time with my son.
What’s your take on rising popularity of poker in India? What do you think should be done to promote this game more?
Deepak – I think poker would be a next big sport in India. I believe that the growth rate of poker is higher than any other sport in India. I think Indian poker companies should spread awareness about poker being skill game especially in mainstream media would help poker to grow in India.