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A Poker Life.

Posted by Rohit Bhalla on 2011-11-17 at 12:00 AM

[B][SIZE=”4″]1.0 New Beginings[/SIZE][/B]

I am a professional poker player living in India. And this creates problems – a whole bunch of them. I mean how does one begin to explain a common man about what it involves? Poker is not yet globally recognized as a competetive sport. The Indian society views it as just another form of gambling. And good luck with justifying to the family in case the Poker bug bites you in the ass as well. Not to forget the archaic laws and legal issues strangling its growth at every stage.

Given all this, do I still want to promote the idea of ‘Poker as a serious profession’ to any newbie reading this? Oh HELL YEAH I do!! For all the explanations and assurances I’ve had to give and all the regular things I’ve had to give up, if someone asked me to roll back two years of my life and do it all over again, I’d gladly accept. Once you make it the rewards are simply amazing – be it financial, emotional or sociological. For some of us, being the masters of our own destiny is the ultimate prize. And doing what you enjoy most is the only driving force. Some people will label this attitude as being selfish and greedy. Be that as it may, but a hardcore poker player is in it for the love of the game. If someone can earn ten times the salary of a regular job playing poker, that just makes their passion more rewarding. Is it really that different from a basketball, football or a cricket player? They make a comfortable living using their skills to entertain the masses. I believe poker players are also a part of the entertainment industry as such.

For someone in India looking to take a serious shot at a poker oriented lifestyle, the transition is never going to be easy. People might be easily fascinated by a success story article on PokerGuru where an ordinary boy from a small Indian town takes home 25 lacs winnings from a two day poker tournament, and fall under the illusion that anyone can do it. But that’s not the case. Fact is for every successful poker player, there are ten others who’ve tried and failed. Thats just the nature of the game and everyone has to face this reality. Apart from being a skilled proponent of the game, a poker life demands extraordinary commitment and discipline to survive the inumerable vagaries associated with it in the long term. Poker takes priority above all else, even eating and sleeping. Its a constant battle of the minds, on the table and away from it, where each tiny bit of information captured can help you stay ahead of the curve. Luck will only be a factor in the short run (I would say one year is short term in live poker), and over the long term only the most focussed contenders making the maximum +EV decisions will rise to the top.

Luck definitely played its part when I started out in the live poker scene in India. The games back then were so soft that an absolute rookie like myself could show regular profits by simply turning up at these games everyday. I mean I hardly even knew the basic pot odds at the time and had no idea who Phil Ivey was! The advent of tournament poker in India has brought an end to all that. The poker craze is growing at a breakneck speed now and those unable to change with the times have been left far behind. A hundred thousand in the pocket and sheer determination might have sufficed to build a proper bankroll back then, but anyone hoping to make it big in today’s cut throat cash games without the bankroll and expert guidance stands less than a fighting chance. Hopefully Team PokerGuru can partner with some of the potential talent out there and lead them forward through the rough transition!

Now coming back to the present and this – New Beginings, my first blog here at PokerGuru.in. Both myself and Ramandeep Gujral are late additions to the existing team of pros here, which is the first India specific poker portal. It is an exciting new partnership and we are all keyed up to contribute to the growth of poker in India in any small way that we can. I have known and played with Raman since my early days in Goa, and over the period like many others I’ve been amazed at his ability to outsmart his opponents. In fact I won’t be surprised at all if he takes a leaf out of my book and decides to title his blog as ‘A Poker Mind’! And of course there is Adi ‘intervention’ Agarwal, a sicko in true poker terminology. He is the idol for any online tourney grinder in India, and the mentor responsible for converting a bunch of rookies into major tournament champions and a force to reckon with. It will be sheer pleasure working with these two for sure.

Continued in Blog 1.1…

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Rohit Bhalla

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