India’s talented poker player – Dhaval “Dirty” Mudgal has been playing poker for over 8 years now. However, the player has taken up the game seriously for a much lesser time. Ever since the Delhi-based musician has turned into a poker pro, he has been touring the international circuit. He has earned a big name for his consistent performances over the years. Apart from picking several big scores in India, he has made a mark in international arena as well. He shot into fame when he along with his teammate Akash Malik took down the HK $4,000 Teams Event at the 2015 Macau Poker Cup.
Continuing his momentum from his best year 2015, Dhaval then went on to win a Deep Stack Turbo Event at the 2016 Asian Poker Tour (APT) – Manila. While the player has been notching up several big scores across several international events over the years, he claimed his first major international poker title just recently on 2nd October 2018. Yes, the player took down the WPT Vietnam Main Event at Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh City for his career-best VND 2.42 Billion (US$104,000).
Dhaval’s APT Vietnam Main Event victory was no piece of cake. He worked through a tough field of 679 entries. He played his A-game picking up only the right spots to eventually claim his first major international title. After a few days of his victory, we caught up with him to know about his grand win and his plans and preparations for WPT India running from 13th – 19th November 2018 at Deltin Royale, Dhaval’s favourite poker room in India. Here are the excerpts of the chat with him:
OPN: Hi Dhaval, congratulations on winning your biggest international title! How does it feel?
Dhaval: It feels amazing. Took a while to sink in obviously, but winning a major international title has always been a dream and I’m very happy to have achieved it.
OPN: You have been playing poker for around 8 years now. How has been the journey?
Dhaval: I’ve been in the community for a long time, but honestly, I’ve taken the game seriously for a much lesser time. The journey has always been a fun, albeit a tough one and I hope we are only just getting started.
OPN: Coming back to WPT Vietnam ME, how tough was the field and how was your experience?
Dhaval: At the risk of sounding arrogant, the field was a dream. I ended up making Day 2 on my 4th try, however. (Hahaa.) There were still some great players like Antilog, Romit and Dylan Wilkerson left with 20 players remaining, but I was pretty confident after the last two tables were formed.
OPN: Please share your tournament journey? Any key hands or takeaways you want to share?
Dhaval: I had to take 4 bullets to make Day 2 and was very demoralised after I busted in a very sick hand on bullet 3 at the end of the day. However, as poker players, we have to get right back on the horse and luckily that’s what I managed to do. I only started Day 2 with around 30BBs but managed to pick up great hands and leverage my stack and position into 2nd chip-lead by the end of Day 2. Tons of key hands of course, but getting my KK to hold against AJ 3-handed and chopping T6hh vs a 9ss were key on the final table.
OPN: What does this victory at WPT Vietnam ME mean to you in terms of your poker goals?
Dhaval: A huge victory like this means a couple of things. First, it reinforces my belief. I have been working hard off the felt and it feels good to have the work validated through a big result. Secondly, it provides a great financial boost and that will help me to play bigger tournaments and work towards bigger scores.
OPN: After WPT Vietnam, it is WPT India starting from 13th November? What are your views?
Dhaval: Honestly, it is always great fun to be back in Goa and I will be in attendance at WPT India. It’s like a poker summer camp for Indian players. As always, the Tax situation sucks but I still hope to see big numbers and hope I can add to the trophy cabinet again.
OPN: What are your plans and preparations for the upcoming WPT India at Deltin Royale, Goa?
Dhaval: It’s going to be a week away from poker with family and friends first. Then, I will be back to the grind. Looking forward to purchasing Nick Petrangelos upswing course to improve my game further before WPT India.
OPN: A big number of pros will be participating, who are your favourites to win WPT India ME?
Dhaval: My favourites to win the WPT India ME are Aditya Sushant, Sriharsha Doddapaneni, Ashish Munot and Me.
OPN: As a mentor, coach and winning Captain of the Goan Nuts PSL Team, what would be your advice for new players attending WPT India?
Dhaval: In large field tournaments, it is really important to stay calm even if you lose a percentage of your stack and it is also important to try and be in a good physical shape as the hours over 3-4 days can get gruelling.
So, the biggest extravaganza of the year 2018 – WPT India is starting on 13th November. Come and experience the best live poker with Dhaval Mudgal and the other top pros from India and abroad!