Grinding It My Way – Deepak Bothra


Every grinder has a story of how he built it up and what he faced in the journey. So, here is mine which started with a deposit of Rs 500 at 2.5 years back (had some live stints at Goa earlier). In this short period, I have made a good bankroll which allows me comfortably grind mid stakes cash games. I have also achieved success in online tournaments off-late and currently leading Adda52 Player of the Year leader board for 2016. In my first poker blog, I have tried to break it down to reasons why I was able to achieve whatever little success I have in poker and not bust my bankroll.

  • Love for card games and maths definitely helped – I have been playing cards from when I was 6-7 years and have been good at almost all the cards games I have played till date. In a card game ‘29’ my partner and I lost only one game during entire one year of MBA (learnt only at the beginning of second year and yeah put a hell lot of volume) and won our very first bridge game against a national bridge players (of course we got lucky too). Have loved numbers and as numbers are heart of poker this definitely helped.
  • On the positive side of variance – I had started playing 1/2 blinds with Rs 500 in my adda52 account, while there are lot of other factors but building a good bankroll is not possible without being on the positive side of variance initially. Got my share of negative variance too but at a later stage, when I built a ssizeable bankroll and did not have as significant impact it could have had it hit earlier.
  • Shift to PLO at the right time – Very early in my poker career I shifted to new poker variant ‘Pot Limit Omaha’ because first it looked more interesting and secondly it looked like it will have higher win rate. While most things were standard in Texas Holdem, PLO was still new and thereby had higher expected profit if someone could learn it. I got few books, watched the game of good players and learnt a bit and was lucky to get involved in this game so early.
  • Effective Bank roll management – I had started with 1/2 blind and have gradually moved up stakes depending upon my profit and improvement in game and currently playing 25/50 to 100/200 blind games. There was never a period where I had losses during my short poker career till now. There was a time when I had to go down the stakes and played lesser tables when I made losses.
  • Tilt Control – Before writing anything, I must confess that there were times I went to tilt but important thing I can count those times and the number would be in single digit. There was a time when I lost significant amount in two hours to one single player due to tilt (a year back) but I came stronger from that and never had such a incident ever again.
  • Self Study – I have read many books, watched lot of videos, read many blogs, discussions on different poker scenarios which has helped me a lot to improve my game. For beginners its extremely important to put lot of hours of study before starting to play. Poker may look like easy money but it certainly is not.
  • Like minded friends – I have lot of friends who are either emerging/successful poker players and one thing is common that most of them are hard working and extremely helpful. Learnt a lot from them. Abhineet Jain, Manoj Pentakota & Neelabh Baranga – all of us have lot of discussions, bashings amongst us and it has positively impacted my game. A group of like minded friends helps to remain updated about new things and get new perspective which pushes you to think.
  • Selection of tables, stacks, opponents and not the other way around- I don’t randomly play at any table. I choose my tables depending upon table size, opponents, and stacks of the players. And, I don’t play if I don’t get the right mix or feel that I don’t have edge. Remember the phrase ‘Poker is not going anywhere’. Don’t just play for the sake of adrenaline rush.

Due to these factors I have managed to earn consistent profits. I had only 2 loss months in last 26 months which also are significantly lower than my average profit leading to lesser dent at my overall bankroll. Now, to keep myself motivated and do even better at the poker felt, here, I am listing my goals for next 3 years:

  • Find a professional poker mentor – I believe I have reached a stage where I will need help of some experienced player to guide me to take my game to next level. Hopefully will convince someone soon.
  • Put more hours to study – I will require more technical skills to beat the improving competition. Will have to push myself to put in the required number of hours for game improvement.
  • Put more volume in big field MTTs on foreign sites – While most players have transitioned from foreign sites to Indian sites, I had started from Indian sites and have just started exploring the offshore sites. I am currently putting lot of volume in micro stakes Zoom PLO and play a tournament only occasionally. Would be more regularly playing tournaments after I reach a certain bankroll I promised to myself.
  • Give back to the game – The game is still at a nascent stage in India. I want to be more proactively involved in the growth it is witnessing. It could be helping low/mid stake players, spreading awareness about the game, doing something about taxation.

Apart from poker goals, I have promised myself to invest significant time for Coaching of CAT (MBA entrance exam) and CA which had taken backseat during last year.

Good Luck everyone. See you at the tables.

Deepak Bothra