Interview Article by Khurshid Ahmad
Online Poker News has the opportunity to break the story on promising poker players who are the future stars of Indian poker. Meet Rahul Jain aka “rahulpalawat”, a terrific poker talent with several tall achievements to his name within less than 3 years of his online poker journey. The 37-year-old poker enthusiast from Delhi etched his name in the history books this past Sunday for winning Adda52’s inaugural 50 Lac GTD Big Game for INR 15.64 Lac – his second biggest online score!
Holding an MBA degree in Finance from ICFAI Hyderabad, Rahul works as the VP – Project Manager in a UK-based bank. He is an old-hand at poker who picked up the game first on Zynga Poker and played his first cash game in 2012 when he travelled to London for work. It was in 2018 that he started playing the game online on Adda52 and has been hooked to the game sine then. He is a true Adda52 fan and loves their UI and tournaments so much that 95% of his volume is only on Adda52.
Looking back at Rahul’s online poker journey, it has been pretty rewarding so far. He has more than a dozen of online tourney titles and INR 87.21 Lac in recorded online earnings to his name already. He had a blistering run in 2020 as he won several big ticket tournaments including Godfather, AOPS Super Stack and Inception tourneys to name a few. Not to forget, he also finished runner-up in the AOPS Main Event Finale to win a massive INR 26.29 Lac, which remains his career-best score till date.
Rahul, who wants to make it to the final table of the WSOP Main Event one day, is determined to improve his game and do better in 2021. And what a start to the New Year for Rahul! He began the year with a 5th place finish for INR 1.25 Lac in the Godfather and then entered history books this past Sunday for winning the first-ever Adda52 Big Game for INR 15.64 Lac. Continuing his winning form, he then took down the 15 Lac GTD The Mint last night to win it for INR 3.23 Lac in top prize.
We spoke to Rahul about his Big Game win, his poker journey, future plans and more. Read on!
OPN: Hi Rahul, congratulations on winning the first-ever Big Game on Adda52! Let us start by talking about you, how you picked up poker and what hooked you to the game?
Rahul: I picked up poker first on Zynga Poker. I travelled to London for work in 2012 and played my first cash games there. Then in 2017 and 2018, I played cash games in Macau and finally in 2018 started playing on Adda52 and was hooked immediately.
OPN: Tell us a little about your poker journey. Do share some highs & lows of your poker journey.
Rahul: I started with cash games as I didn’t even know about tournaments till late 2017. Then in 2018, I started playing online with a mix of both cash and tourney. Tourney wins were exhausted at cash tables 😊. Then I went into a big downturn and pledged to play only tournaments and since then journey has been good.
OPN: Usually, where and how much poker do you play? How has been your experience playing on Adda52?
Rahul: Mostly, I play Adda52 prime time tournaments, even though I have tried other platforms too but Adda52 is my favorite and 95% of my tourney volume is only on Adda52. My experience on Adda52 has been great since I started. Adda52 is the market leader and has made positive changes to TDS policy, fixing technical issues and updating the UI, etc. over time thus giving great experience to the players. Tournaments on the site are very well-structured and the customer service team is also very responsive and resolves queries etc. in no time.
OPN: Coming to the BIG Game, what enticed you to play the mega tourney and how was your overall experience?
Rahul: I recently came 2nd in Mega Suits on 28th December and then 5th in Godfather earlier this month. So I was feeling good about my game and therefore thought to give it a try. Although I joined the tourney one hour late after the start, the format was so well-structured that it gave opportunity to play solid poker and not make it a shove fest.
With all big names participating in the tourney, the field was very tough for a player like me but I stuck to my natural game and with a few tweaks, I was able to survive in the tournament and eventually take it down. I really appreciate Adda52 coming up with a game which suits most bankrolls and make it really competitive and rewarding for all players who want to play poker.
Big Game really lived up to its name in terms of all Big names participating and playing solid poker, thus giving others opportunity to play with them and learn so much. Finally big prize money as well.
OPN: As the winner of the inaugural Adda52 Big Game, how and why would you recommend playing Big Game on Adda52?
Rahul: Big Game for all poker players is a platform to compare yourself and compete with the best players in the country. It’s very well-structured and gives opportunity to display your poker skills and be rewarded handsomely.
OPN: Take us through your Big Game journey. Any key hands or standouts moments from the tourney?
Rahul: I was on a table with Tarun Goyal most of the time along with other pros, so the table itself was quite competitive which kept me on my toes all the time in terms of protecting my stack and picking up the right spots. I did get a few coolers initially but a player with ID: MIT2015 really got me into right perspective during that difficult time by responding to my rants. Also my AQ held against AK with Q on the flop, else I would have been eliminated in 15th position.
OPN: How did the final table go for you? Did you adopt a different strategy going into the final table?
Rahul: On the final table, I was second in chip count and chip leader (Siddharth Barot) was quite aggressive putting a lot pressure on weaker stacks but I held my nerves. Once only 3 players were left, I called few of his bluffs to take the chip leader position. All in all, it was very difficult and exhausting game but I kept talking to myself to make the right decision and not think about the result, which really helped me to stay sane over the long hours and luckily I was able to ship it.
OPN: Who do you think were the toughest opponents on the final table?
Rahul: Siddharth Barot was playing really good and aggressive poker and he was the toughest opponent. He outplayed all other solid players. I played really safe and solid while he was doing the damage to all other players.
OPN: Any special plans on how you intend to spend your prize money?
Rahul: Not really except for buying myself a new iPhone and a solitaire ring for my wife.
OPN: What are your poker goals for the year 2021?
Rahul: Try and be more consistent in my decision making and not to be rash. I wish to take part in a live tournament as I have not played a live tourney yet. I have only played cash games in live casinos in London and Macau when I travelled to these places for work.
OPN: Finally, any tips for players looking to learn and improve their game?
Rahul: Having a good fitness regime has personally helped me in having a clear mind while playing poker. Reading books like ‘Harrington on Hold’em’ and ‘Kill Everyone’ has made me aware of the mistakes I was making. Reviewing hands after the game also helped revisit my thought process and make amendments to it. Finally, having a clutter-free environment and good vibes in house to play helps you focus as well. That is all! We wish Rahul all the best for upcoming tournaments in 2021!