For Indian MTT players, the flagship Adda52 Online Poker Series (AOPS) has become one of the most sought-after online poker tournament 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. Three editions have been hosted so far and all have wrapped-up with a grand success, drawing a huge turnout and generating a massive prizepool across its each big event. The recent edition ran from 2nd to 12th April and this time it had a much bigger prizepool of INR 7 Crores. As expected, the 11-day series turned out to be a phenomenal success, with over 27000 entries and INR 9.5 Crores in total prizepool across its 60 tournaments.
While the AOPS saw several big winners across its 11 days of eventful run, the man who walked away with the biggest title was none other than the well-respected pro and coach Sahil Agarwal aka ‘bhaijiii’ who bested a massive field of 2,271 entries in the main event to bank a hefty INR 50 Lac.
A poker pro, industry insider and coach, Sahil is a big name in the Indian poker and does not need any introduction. Like many, Sahil also came across this beautiful game of poker during his college days and immediately fell in love with the game. Sahil who studied engineering worked with Infosys for 3 years. However, his passion for the sport grew so much that he had to quit his lucrative job to become a full-time poker player. It was a momentous decision as he had to face his parents who were initially skeptic about him playing poker but he finally managed to convince and they agreed.
Sahil started taking up the game more seriously after getting coached by India’s poker icon Aditya Agarwal and it paid off as the talented player has consistently been cashing and winning in poker since then. Looked up to and followed by so many poker players in the country today, he is also a great ambassador of the game and has contributed immensely by mentoring and helping a lot of kids to hone their poker skills. And he must be proud as many of his students are doing pretty well!
Sahil can be classified as someone with exceptional poker skills and has a remarkable resume. He is as good online as he is live and has won several marquee events on adda52.com, including Mega Suits, Godfather and Millions High Roller to name a few. This past Sunday, he created waves in the poker community for winning the 2 Crore GTD AOPS Main Event for a mouth-watering INR 50 Lac, his biggest online score to-date. We caught-up with him to know about his big win, how he dealt with the competition in the tourney, the strategy he followed, and more. Here are the excerpts:
OPN: Hi Sahil, congratulations on winning the 2 Crore GTD AOPS Main Event! How does it feel to win such a marquee tournament and walk away with a whopping INR 50 Lac?
Sahil: It feels great to get a win in one of the bigger MTTs across the online platforms.
OPN: It was a huge field of 2200 + entries with so many top pros and regs. How did you deal with the competition and what eventually helped you to come out on top of the field?
Sahil: It started off like a regular tournament with having to take multiple re-buys. But then I got a hot streak of hands and managed to win big pots and ended up with a big stack for Day 2. For the most part, I just tried to play solid and luckily didn’t have to play too many big pots with other good players in the field.
OPN: How did the final table go for you? Did you adopt a different strategy going into the final table?
Sahil: The FT was interesting. I got seated to the immediate right of the super aggro chip lead who was putting tremendous pressure on everyone. So I mostly just played tight and waited to for good spots to pick up a few chips. Once I managed to build a stack I started putting some pressure on the others.
OPN: You finally clashed with a solid reg Avneesh Munjal in heads-up. Please tell me about your heads-up battle.
Sahil: The heads-up went on for a fairly long time. It started with him (Avneesh Munjal) being pretty short but he kept doubling up and eventually picked up a 2:1 lead. I won AA vs his A2dd on QJTdd to get back in the lead and eventually managed to win it after that.
OPN: The AOPS has been growing every edition in terms of turnouts and prize pools. What are your thoughts on the flagship series and its growing value for players?
Sahil: It’s really great for poker enthusiasts in the country. The series adds a lot of excitement in a rather normal schedule of tournaments.
In one of our previous interviews, we asked Sahil about the three qualities one needs to become a winning player in MTTs and he replied, “Basic understanding of the game, patience and definitely some luck”.
Sharing his advice for the aspiring poker players in our previous interview, the talented player said, “Poker looks like an easy way of making money, but it is not. Especially tournament poker comes with a lot of ups and downs and will make you question your abilities every other day. If you want to take poker seriously, you have to put in a lot of work in studying and get better at the game. Also, getting a coach always helps. We have trained a lot of such players who have taken the game seriously and are doing really great.”