A management graduate from XLRI and working as a manager at Tata Motors, Abhineet Jain aka pokemon13 has tremendously scaled up in the game of poker in past 1 year. Be it high stakes PLO cash game or online MTTs, he can be found battling out on the online felt almost everyday. Despite of a tight schedule at office, he manages to put decent volume online and has also played some of the live tournaments in Goa bagging one cash finish.
Recently, he topped in the Dare Devils team in the Indian Poker League on Adda52 and will also be going to play WPT National UK this month. OPN India caught up with Abhineet this week to know about his recent success and future plans as a poker player.
Hi Abhineet, thanks for your conversation with OPN. How has this year been for you so far at the virtual felt?
Abhineet – Thanks for the interview. This year has been very good so far in terms of results on most Indian sites I have played. I have spent majority of my time learning and spewing in PLO cash games but a few months back I found a new black hole – MTTs.
You won the WPT UK satellite on Adda52. Tell us about your preparations for the WPT National events?
Abhineet – Yes over the years I have excelled in free rolling live tournaments which started with the Fly to Vegas package last year on Adda52, IPC on Spartan, DPT and now WPT on Adda52 again. I am excited to play in WPT UK and planning to play a few other tournaments apart from the main event. I will be spending most of my time leading to WPT in studying MTTs as much as possible.
You also topped your team – Dare Devils in the Indian Poker League on Adda52 as well as your team won the tournament too. Share your experiences of playing in this promotion.
Abhineet – I have never been a big fan of loyalty races and never took part seriously in one before as I am not a full time player and it’s almost impossible to beat such races with my schedule. Having said that, I decided to give this one a shot. The most important thing in this promotion was to choose the correct team. After some thought I zeroed in on Dare Devils. The race started off well and there was a close fight between three players in my team including me. I maintained third rank throughout most of the promotion period which gave hope to my opponents that they can win. As they say “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies”. It was important to break this misconception and so one day I decided to grind whole day and made a commanding lead and eventually won.
Tell us about your love for PLO cash game.
Abhineet – Unlike most people, Adda52 was the first site I played my first poker hand on. But, like most people I learned the game the hard way. I was never really a grinder and used to take shots at higher stakes consistently and of course lose consistently too. Then, as players started losing, most of them including me started playing PLO as the equities in PLO run closer and hence more action and bigger pots. Although, there is more variance but variance seems like an ex-girlfriend when you are stuck a lot – you don’t really need her but you crave to have a positive relationship with her. Eventually, I lost my entire bankroll and not just my poker bankroll. I had no other choice but to learn the game and that’s how the grinding started. Over the years I tried to learn as much as possible about the game through videos, books, anything I could get a hold on.
Several experienced Indian players have started coaching for hold’em cash games as well as tourneys. Do you feel a requirement of the same for PLO?
Abhineet – There is a big demand for a PLO coach at the moment. I think PLO is the most loved and played variant of poker in India and there are hardly any coaches let alone good ones available in India. And, most coaches in India run a stable as coaching alone is not profitable for anyone as any decent regular can make a lot more hourly than coach.
You have been doing well in online tournaments recently. How do you balance between PLO cash and Hold’em tourneys?
Abhineet – Not really. I have no significant wins on any international sites yet although I ran deep in some of the major events. I play MTTs mostly on weekends. Cash helps me to keep in check the variance of MTTs as there is hardly any variance in cash at least for now.
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 pro?
Abhineet – Study PLO : Play PLO :: Play MTT : Study PLO. I will continue to work on both formats and I have absolutely no intentions to focus on either one. I might start NL cash too if I get time.
Talking about future, do you have any plans of going full-time in poker in coming days? How do you balance you professional and personal life with poker?
Abhineet – I challenged myself for a specific target in the beginning of the year which I couldn’t achieve hence didn’t quit my job. You can’t exploit life by being balanced. I work 8 hours a day or at least spend that much time in office and rest I spend on poker and sleep whenever and wherever I can. I do plan to add a workout schedule to this madness though.
Share the learning & improvement part of poker with our readers. How crucial is it to keep learning? How much time should a poker player dedicate to learning?
Abhineet –Since time immemorial my focus has been on exploiting my opponent’s tendencies and I have invested a lot of time in studying my opponents on Indian sites. This is also one of the major reasons why there is a stark difference in my results on Indian and International sites. I believe people should focus on finding their strength and then work accordingly. There are so many options available but many talented players invariably fall into the lure and fame of MTTs and end up with nothing.
Which players you take up as strong competitors at the online tables?
Abhineet – In PLO, I don’t like playing with aggtarun as his range is wider than the deck. In MTTs I like Arsh’s game.
What is your one poker dream?
Abhineet – To date Liv Boeree 🙂
What’s your take on rising popularity of poker in India? What do you think should be done to promote this game more?
Abhineet – It’s good to see more players and sites every day but I have my doubts on a poker boom any time soon mostly because of the level of intolerance we have in our society and the social stigma associated with cards. To promote the game, we need more responsible and smart people in this business like the management of Adda52 and Pokerbaazi.