In Conversation With The Latest AOPS Main Event Winner – Faiz Alam!

For Indian MTT players, the flagship Adda52 Online Poker Series (AOPS) has become one of the most sought-after online series. One of the biggest reasons why the marquee poker fiesta has been so successful is the fact that it offers players of all stakes a shot at glory and stardom with buy-ins ranging from INR 8,80 to INR 22k. Two editions have been hosted so far and both have wrapped-up successfully, drawing huge turnout and generating massive prizepool across almost each event. The recent edition ran from 6th to 15th March and this time it had a bigger prizepool of INR 6 Crore. As expected, the series turned out to be a grand success with close to 16K entries, smashing its specified guarantee and giving away over INR 6.75 Crore in prizepools across its 41 events.  

While the AOPS saw several big winners across its 10 days of eventful run, the man who walked away with the biggest title was the well-known online regular Faiz Alam aka ‘TheInternetKid’ who outlasted a tough field of 1740 +entries to win the 2 Crore GTD AOPS Main Event for INR 50 Lac.

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Alam’s game has seen a massive improvement, especially after getting coached by India’s poker super star Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal. He took every coaching session seriously and worked hard to improve his game. His hard work and dedication to the game has been paying off in a big way as the last few months have been his break-out time in poker. The talented player has won several big ticket events. While he has won big on every major Indian platform, his biggest score came in the recent AOPS Main Event where he banked a life-changing INR 50 Lac after outlasting a tough field.  

Alam can be classified as someone with exceptional poker skills and has notched-up plenty of big scores in the recent past. He is no stranger to winning big on Adda52 as the online MTT crusher has several notable scores to his name, including The Ballers that he shipped just last month to win INR 5 + Lac  prize. He started the final day of the AOPS Main Event in the middle of the pack but went on to win some big pots to build his stack and enter the final table with the second largest stack.

On the FT, he faced tough competition as it had some solid players, including the likes of Bhavye Mittal (3rd for INR 10.80 Lac), Yohan Patel (5th for INR 9 Lac), Sahil Chutani (7th for INR 4.80 Lac) and Siddarth Singhvi (8th for INR 3.50 Lac). Unfazed by formidable opponents, he successfully crossed the finish line to clinch the coveted main event title. He dedicated his grand victory to his poker coach – Aditya Agarwal and thanked everyone who has been his constant support and motivation.

We caught-up with Alam to know about his feelings post his biggest main event win, his spectacular run, the challenges he faced along the way and a lot more. Here are the excerpts of the interview:

OPN: Hi Faiz Alam, you have finished the AOPS in style by winning the biggest event of the series – 2 Cr. GTD Main Event. Congratulations on the massive win! How does it feel to win this marquee event?

Faiz: It is a big relief above everything else. There is of course the happiness and the elation of winning such a high value tournament, but above all, it’s the feeling that I do have it in me to play the big events and battle it out for the win. At times, poker can be tough, and with the variance, you may start having negative thoughts whether you are good enough.

OPN: It was a 1700 + entry field with many big names. How did you manage to make it to the top?

Faiz: I fired one entry on Day 1A of the AOPS Main Event, I just couldn’t get going and busted. I fired one more on Day 1D and bagged 135K stack. When Day 2 of the event started, I was in the middle of the pack. Initial focus was to make sure that I enter the money. With around 30 left, I won a couple of big pots, where the opponent tried to bluff me off when I had the goods. It was a smooth sailing from there till the Final 2 tables. Then, I got coolered with Kings against Raghav Bansal’s Aces. After I lost the hand, I was still 4th out of the remaining 16 players. I still tried to play normal and solid poker, trying not to play big pots with aggressive players like Raghav and ‘noobpro’ (Bhavye Mittal).

When the FT started, I was 2nd in chips and my whole focus was to try and finish as higher as possible. I had ‘noobpro’ to my left, Sahil Chutani to his left and Siddarth Singhvi to Sahil’s left. So basically late position was a no-go-zone for me as I had to be very prudent with my opens as the 3 players being in position could make my life hell. Things worked out fine as Sahil and Singhvi were eliminated early and the remaining players though very good, seemed to lack a bit of experience. I stayed solid picking up few pots here and there, while the chip leader took out the rest of the field. Eventually, I was in the Heads-Up with ‘rahulpalawat’. Even though I had a slight disadvantage in stacks, I was pretty confident that I would turn it around. The opponent was getting restless and finally did end-up calling my big shove (I had pocket 7’s) against A3. Thankfully, no Ace on the board and it was over soon after!

OPN: Did you adopt any particular strategy for the event? At which stage did you feel you could win it?

Faiz: To be honest, there wasn’t anything different, which I did for this particular tournament. The thought was to play solid poker picking-up spots based on the opponents and try to run as deep as possible. With around 30 left in the field, I got to a decent Chip Lead and I felt it could be done.

OPN: Final table had some solid pros. Any particular opponents you were a little more cautious about?

Faiz: There were 3 guys to my left when the final table started, namely ‘Noobpro’, ‘bluffme19’ and ‘badtameez_donk’. Thankfully, both ‘bluffme19′ and ‘badtameez_donk’ got busted early on the FT and it was quite smooth sailing after that.

OPN: You obviously finished on a big note but overall how did this AOPS go for you?

Faiz: Having just shifted from Mumbai to Kolkatta this month, I could not put in much volume throughout the series, I did make it to Day 2 of the AOPS Freeze but busted around 50th position.  

OPN: What are your thoughts on a flagship series like the AOPS on

Faiz: The AOPS and other flagship series are very important for the growth of the game. It leads to big prizepools and is an very attractive proposition for the players as some of the amount that can be won is life-changing. The AOPS had a good mix of events and timings were quite good as well.

OPN: What does your poker routine look like? And what is your approach to the game?

Faiz: The routine I have set for myself is quite simple – Training/self study in the afternoon, and start with the grind playing smaller tourneys and satellites to the flagships later in the day. At the end of the grind, I quickly go over tricky spots encountered in the day. I try to connect with many crushers and get their thoughts. Basically, it is ‘study -> Play – > Review -> Repeat’ for me. The problem is that I don’t often end-up following this routine and that’s one of the main areas of concerns.

OPN: Besides poker, do you have any other hobbies?

Faiz:  None to be honest, it’s only poker right now.

OPN: How did your family react when you told them about the big win?

Faiz: After the last hand got over, the first thing I did was to wake my wife up and give her the big news that I did win the 50 Lakh in 1st prize, which I had mentioned the day before. She was very happy and having seen the emotions attached to the game, she knows winning any MTT (big or small) is a moment to cherish and the bigger the prize, the more the joy. She has been my biggest support system and kudos to her for the never-ending positivity and enthusiasm that has kept me going.

OPN: Finally, your plans in live and online poker ahead?

Faiz: No plans at all for live poker. For online, the plan is to put in heavy volume. 

Thanks for your valuable time and support and good luck for the other tournaments ahead!