We have done several interviews with the poker champions on Adda52.com but today’s feature is a rather special one. It is about a promising female poker pro – Ankita Ajay Malik who currently resides in Raipur and has a B. Tech in Computer Science. Originally from Bhilai, Ankita is a former social media executive, a trained singer, and a classical dancer who started playing poker full-time just a year ago after her marriage. Safe to say that she has donned multiple hats and yet aced them successfully.
Ankita’s poker journey is a rather interesting one. She was introduced to poker about 3 years ago by none other than her better half, Gagandeep Malik, who is a well-known poker pro with several prestigious live and online poker titles to his name, including DPT Highroller, DPT Bounty, and Adda52’s Mega Suits AF, AOPS Candolim, The Mint, WPT Monday Feature, & Inception to name a few.
Before wedlock, Ankita did not know much about poker but that it all changed post her wedding a year ago. She watched Gagandeep play the game and found it really interesting. She was working in digital marketing but decided to quit her job and learn the tricks of the trade from her husband. To learn and experience how the game is played live, she accompanied her husband on his poker expeditions to Goa. Instead of being merely a spectator, she tried her hand at cash games and even tournaments at major stops like Deltin Poker Tournament & Baazi Poker Tour. Her most recent trip to Goa was for the DPT Xpress this year, where she cashed the 5K Burn N Turn (30th – INR 10,300).
Getting support from your life partner and family is key for success and Ankita is lucky to have a wonderful family which supports both of them. Today, she is a full-time poker professional and is acing the poker tables with her game. After the Covid-19 outbreak, Ankita has been playing online at Adda52.com. Her journey on the site has been an impressive and inspiring one with over a dozen tourney titles already credited to her name. She reported that she has won Adda52’s Running Hot tourney 5 times and her biggest score on the site is INR 1,96,462, which she notched up for finishing as a runner-up in the Big Slick tourney. Here is a quick glance at her biggest achievements:
- Winning plenty of Power Up and Punch tourneys in initial poker days
- Finishing 2nd in Big Slick for INR 1,96,462 – which is her biggest score
- Winning the World Poker Tour (WPT) Mini 6-Max for INR 1,63,118
- Winning the Running Hot an incredible five times (according to her)
- Winning AOPS Siesta, Nano Siesta, Nano Crack Jack & Nano Godfather
- Winning Afternoon Adda (twice), Quad KO – 4 Max, & Holdem Bash
- Winning Nighttide Adda (twice) and After Dark Adda tournaments
Ankita has worked up an impressive record of title victories in her short but highly rewarding poker journey. She is one of the rising stars in Indian poker and is definitely the one to watch out for in the future. We spoke to this go-getter about her poker journey, her biggest achievements, and more.
Here are the excerpts of the online chat with her:
OPN: Hi Ankita, thanks for speaking to us! Please tell our readers a little about you?
Ankita: Hi, I am Ankita Ajay Malik, I live in Raipur and I am a B.Tech graduate. After my graduation, I was working in digital media but now I have become a full-time poker player.
OPN: When & how did you first get introduced to poker? What made you choose this game?
Ankita: As I said earlier, I used to be a social media executive in digital media. I was introduced to poker by my better half ” Gagandeep Malik” when we started dating 3 years ago. After marriage when I saw Gagan playing, I found it interesting and connected with it, then I quit my job to learn poker and become a professional poker player.
OPN: How did your family react when you told them about taking up poker full time?
Ankita: I started playing poker after our marriage a year ago. I am very lucky to have a wonderful family which supports both of us.
OPN: At what point did you become a winning player and what process aided that development?
Ankita: I am a beginner, still learning, and have to learn a lot. Winning or losing is not in our control so when I started it was affecting me a lot. But slowly I realised that what matters more is how I played rather than what was the result. So I just try to learn something from my own mistakes and become a better version of myself.
OPN: What are your most important achievements and memories throughout your poker journey?
Ankita: I play only in Adda52, so till now my biggest score is 2nd in Big Slick with a prize money of INR 195000. In the WPT series, I won the WPT Mini 6- Max tournament. Though it was not a trophy event, still it was the biggest achievement for me as I won a prize of money of INR 163000. I shipped the Running Hot five times in which I won around Rs 143000 each, out of which two I won back to back in two consecutive weeks.
These are my biggest scores till now. Other than this, I shipped some small tournaments like Nano Siesta, Nano Godfather, Holdem bash, Punch, Quad ko Max 4, After Dark Adda, Nighttide Adda, AOPS Siesta, and in initial poker days many Punch which were my start of tournament journey.
OPN: Which is your favourite poker site and why?
Ankita: Well, I just play on Adda52 only because I find it very user-friendly, and being new to the game I want to build a proper bankroll first and then jump into other sites as well.
OPN: What’s your normal daily schedule? Besides poker, do you have any other hobbies?
Ankita: Well, our schedule is totally upside down. Our day starts at 3 p.m and ends after a long grind around 4 a.m. After that, we do some workouts enjoy the early morning environment, and sleep at 7 a.m.
Well, I am a trained singer as well as a classical dancer. These are my other hobbies. In fact, I sing when I am stressed out, it helps me a lot.
OPN: Which female/male player do you idolize? Or Are there any people who inspire you in poker or life?
Ankita: Just after our marriage, we went on Baazi Poker Tour in January 2020. There I was really inspired by Maria Kirloskar and Muskaan Sethi.
OPN: Poker in India is a male-dominated sport. Does the all-men poker scene intimidate you?
Ankita: Not at all! Yes, Poker is a male-dominated sport in India, but recently many women have started playing the game and are doing really well which is a big inspiration and motivation for new players like me and poker is a mind game, so the gender of a player doesn’t matter.
OPN: Women’s participation has grown in the past few years and many of them have been doing really well. How do you think of so many women taking to poker and doing so well?
Ankita: Well, as I said, the awareness about Poker is growing and now we can see women in each and every field, so why not Poker. I feel proud and inspired when I see other women players on my table.
OPN: Adda52’s DOPT kicks off today. What are your thoughts and plans for the series?
Ankita: I am really looking forward to it especially its Women’s Special event. I really appreciate the initiative and since it’s a freeroll tourney, it gives chance to a lot of new female poker players to try their hands at the game. Adda52 has done a similar sort of event on Women’s day special and it really encourages more and more female poker players to join the mind sport. I am definitely looking forward to it and meeting my fellow female poker players on the tables is always a special feeling.
OPN: Any message for new female players who want to take up poker professionally?
Ankita: If you are truly interested and passionate about the game, then don’t think much. Just give it your best as it is like any other sport and we women can do anything we want.
Thanks, Ankita for your time, and cheers for your poker passion! We wish you good luck at the poker tables and hope to see you inspiring many other female poker players to do better at the game.