Before the start of Sunday Million on 29th May 2016, he had approx. $7,000 in tournament winnings on PokerStars and over 4 years of experience at the virtual felt which included grinding MTTs & SnGs. Alike every online poker player on this planet, he too had a dream of running deep and winning this tournament. It was the wee hours of Monday when the entire poker community of India started railing for him via social platforms. Although he couldn’t finish in the pole postion of this 5696 field size tourney, he ended up bagging one of the most notable scores in Sunday Millions by Indian players.
Ronak Agrawal aka hellrokr shares his experience of the Sunday Million and a lot more in an interview with OPN.
Hi Ronak, Congratulations on 3rd place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million. What was your feeling right after the completion?
Ronank – Hey thanks for the wishes. Honestly, I was thrilled to my core and was super elated as it was a big thing to achieve but a part of me was disappointed I could not take it to the top but I think I will get many more such chances.
Take us through your journey from the start to the final table of the tournament – ups & downs, exciting and nervous moments.
Ronak – I had won the ticket via 2.5$ Spin n go promotions and had sold 60% action for my milly. Many a things lead to the built up and I had a good feeling about it from the start of the tournament as I won the first hand of the tournament itself. Had a smooth first 2 hours and won a huge pot with AA after 2 hours to reach 1st out of some 4000 remaining. I decided, I will just consolidate my stack from here on and play ABC poker for the next 2-3 hours. I was almost always in top 10% of field and got paid on big hands on right spots. I was the chip leader for almost 2 hours just before final 15 were left. The most nervous moment in the tournament or I can say of my life was a hand I played when only 17 players were left which could potentially be worth $90K when I think over it.
How tough were the final tablists? Share some crucial hands form Final Table.
Ronak – I was in a really comfortable position when the final table started and honestly I don’t remember most part of the final table as I was in a different zone altogether. I entered 3rd in chips and there were 2 very good players in top 9, Viking8844 eventual winner and PIUImeira who is a very solid reg and huge beast. But I didn’t face any ICM pressure and just folded my way till top 4. One hand in FT was when I called shove of short stack in Blind vs blind situation when he was down to 7-8 BB. I had KQ off and he showed aces I turned two pairs but river gave him higher two pair with his Aces and we came to virtually same stack and 1st and 2nd position had considerable lead. That time, pressure crept on me as there was $30K pay-jump. I tried to keep calm and held my nerves and waited for one guy to bust. In the final hand, I shoved KQ and was called by 44 which held and I exited in 3rd place for sweet $ 93K.
When did you start playing poker? Please share your poker journey till date.
Ronak – I started playing poker around 6 years back when I first saw my friend making N numbers of FB accounts for Zynga chips. I got a little guidance from him and loved the game from the word go. Around 4 years back I was introduced to PokerStars and started grinding Micro SnGs and MTTs. By best score before this was 2200$ which I won as runner-up in 11$ rebuy. I love playing in home games as playing wid friends is a lot of fun for me.
How much poker do you play on an average?
Ronak – From the last 2 years due to business commitments, I have been playing only recreationally. 2-3 sessions per month and 2-3 live sessions that’s it.
How do you balance you professional and personal life with poker?
Ronak – I have my own exports business which I am trying to establish on a good scale. As I love the game, I try to squeeze in some hours of online poker every now and then when I get some time off my business generally on weekends.
What is your one poker dream?
Ronak – Well..! Call it a cliché but my dream is to end up as November nine. Short term dream is to play any event in WSOP.
How do you like spending spare time off the poker felt? What are you hobbies?
Ronak – I love reading books basically fiction. I love making friends and playing online games like DOTA 2.
What’s your take on rising popularity of poker in India? What do you think should be done to promote this game more?
Ronak – Its really nice to see poker growing leaps and bounds in India with it getting legal recognition in many states. I am sure the real boom is coming soon which will see exponential growth in both recreational and pros in India. I really hope that families and parents start understanding it’s not same as gambling as believe me I had a tough time for next 2 days explaining them about my big win but now I am happy that they understood the concepts and are now happy and supportive of the win.
Big shout out to Abhishek Rathod (Abhi147 my lifesaver) also to Anup palod, Atul singh, Sandeep Vasoya, Vinay Choudary, Anant P, Rajesh Asi, Navdeep Sahi, Kanishk Patel, Karan Parekh.
Wish you all the best for future games and life.
Thanks and Cheers..!