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Poker – A chance encounter

Posted by Siddharth Siddharth on 2021-03-24 at 4:49 PM

Hello Indian poker community and PokerGuru readers!

Let me start by sharing a bit of my background. I am Siddharth. I am 28 years old and was born and brought up in Lucknow; moved to USA in 2016.

I am a USF (University of South Florida) Graduate where I pursued my M.S. Degree in Business Analytics. Currently working for an IT firm in Florida, USA. My primary interests are Chess, Cricket and now Poker. I have even played Chess representing my city Lucknow-Under 16.

Before I proceed with my poker journey, I want to share one of my fav quotes with you folks – “You will show your poker greatness by the hands you fold, not the hands you play.” ~ Dan Reed


My Poker Journey

Did not know that the game ‘Poker’ existed before coming to The US in 2016. In a country like, India, if my numbers are right, only less than 1% of the population knows about Poker and those who even do consider it as a game of luck rather than Skill.

I firmly believe, ‘Poker just like Chess is a game of skill’ although an element of luck is involved in the game it is the same with Cricket as well. For instance, In the World Cup 2019 Final, the ball went to the boundary after hitting Stokes bat which was inadvertent and England got 4 extra runs were totally based upon luck. It is the same with Poker, a factor of luck is involved but there are certain things like betting size, physical reads, range, etc. which are totally in our control, and with studying and learning can be improved. These small things make a major difference between an amateur, a good, and an advanced poker player. In the longer run, the player who makes the least mistakes both pre and post-flop is the ultimate winner. A player’s Hendon Mob does not determine how good a player is. A player with 20k score might be a much better player than the ones with 2 Million reported Hendon mob earnings. Your aim as a poker player should be to improve and plugin your loopholes.

I was introduced to poker by a friend/colleague ‘Harmeet Singh Chawla’ who taught me the basic fundamentals of the game. Harmeet’s uncle and now a good friend/mentor Raminder Singh aka ‘Raminator’ is a renowned Entrepreneur and a Poker player with net earnings of over 1.3 Million USD. He was originally the one who taught my buddy Harmeet about Poker. So, the cycle started from there.

I started from playing 1/2 NLH Cash. Still remember my first time in the Hard Rock Tampa casino back in 2018 when my hands were literally shivering when putting the chips in. I remember folding a Full house when the flush was on the board but that is what Poker is all about, you learn from your mistakes. When you play on the live table, especially in one of the renowned Casino chains Hard Rock, it is a different ball game, so much different thank clicking buttons online.

Moving on from playing cash, I switched to Tournament Poker and only play Tournaments. For people who are not aware of the difference in Poker Cash game vs Poker Tournaments in simple words it is, the game is the same, the only difference lies in the fact that once you are in a tournament for a certain amount of money, the max you can lose is that money itself, you cannot lose more than that; whereas, in a cash game, you can keep on buying till your BR (Bank Roll) allows. Also, in a tournament, once the registration gets over, you cannot enter the tournament. Whereas in a cash game, you can come as many times as you like. One more key point to note here is, in general, in a tournament, players are more QUANTITATIVE; whereas, in a cash game, players tend to gamble more and care less about probability. Good BR management is the key to any Poker player’s success. It has been a roller coaster ride for me from thereon.

As time passed away, I have become only a tournament Poker player. When I am on the table, I usually put my phone on DND and avoid talking to people on the table as I am not there to make friends, it distracts me from getting in my zone. I am passionate about playing Poker, I do not play it just for the sake of money, I play it since I enjoy the game and it forces me to think outside the box every single hand. It was in the hands that I lost, I got to learn more rather than the hands that I had won. I am process-oriented in Poker rather than result-oriented. My biggest strength as a Poker player is in my ability to read people and that is why I enjoy live poker more than online where it is just like clicking Buttons. I have learned to control my emotions well in both the ups and downs in the game which is very important being a Poker player.

I have had been fortunate enough to share the table with the likes of renowned Poker pros like, ‘Chris Moneymaker’, ‘Faraz Jaka’, ‘Scott Baumstein’, ‘Farrid Jattin’, ‘Nick Puppilo’ and many more. Good poker players are the ones who put you under pressure and force you to get outside your comfort zone. One becomes a better poker player if one gets to play with more capable players. That is only how you can improve and be tough as a poker player.

Chris Moneymaker and me


Main Poker Tournaments highlights-

Best Score: $22,666 – I am sure I will surpass this score in a few months as I am currently improving, studying and learning every single day.

The year 2020 was a fantastic year for me as I turned out to be Number 1 ranked Indian Poker player (PoY 2020) and Globally was ranked at 95th at the end of the year. Currently I am ranked at 2nd in the overall Indian GPI rankings. The main highlights of 2020 for me were, 3 WSOP Cashes in the same series, Was the chip leader in the first tournament of the series bagging a massive 1.4 Million chip stack on to Day 2. Outlasted a field of 281 entrants in Las Vegas at the Venetian and got a 10k score. Was inducted onto the Tournament Leaderboard (Top 10 in over 2,000 Tournaments players) at Hard Rock Tampa for 2 successive months. Besides these official wins, had 4 outright unofficial 1st places. Overall being 14 outright victories.


Career Highlights:

Indian POY (Player of the Year) 2020 Rank: #1

Current Indian GPI Rank: #2

Global PoY 2020 Rank: 95th

Official Hendon Mob Earnings: $108,000

Official Outright Wins: 6

Unofficial outright wins: 8

WSOP Cashes: 3


Poker Buddies/Mentor

Always good to surround yourself with people who have the same thinking and encourage you to become better in the game. Currently, I am in touch with a couple of the bests in the Business who are always there to help and guide me. The Brazilian Poker pro, ‘Rafael Francisco Marcondes Dos Reis’ who has earnings over 1 Million USD on Hendon. And probably is in Top 10 overall Brazilian players. He is a close friend/mentor and my pillar of learning and improving the game. Another buddy of mine is ‘David Moses’ who won one of the events outright in WSOP Tampa Circuit events by defeating one of the toughest players ‘Justin Jaki’ with whom I am also in constant touch and he is there to help me as well. Besides them, I am also in constant touch with Raminder Singh aka ‘Raminator’.

Last but not the least would like to thank PokerGuru for reaching out and broadcasting my poker journey/experience with you all.

Feel free to connect and say ‘Hi’ on my Insta @sid4sid

Cheers and good luck in your Poker grind!

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Siddharth Siddharth

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