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Start of a magical journey

Posted by Rajeev Raut on 2015-08-29 at 12:00 AM

My 1st attempt at a Blog ….

My 1st Experience of Poker was in 1993 with Video Poker machines for 5 card Poker that also was my 1st gambling experience in the Hill Station town of Mahabaleshwar.
Further after many such unofficial trips to Mahabaleshwar landed me in a Casino in Lagos, Nigeria in 1996 where I played 5 card Caribbean Stud Poker which was great to kill time while my other degenerate gambling friends wasted a lot of hard money on the Casino Tables.
I had my 1st Live Experience of Texas Hold’em in 1999 during my 1st visit to Sin City Las Vegas in Binions Poker Room.
Inherently a natural card player having played numerous Local & National Bridge Tournaments & very regularly playing Indian Flush it was easy to adapt to another Card game which dealt in reading opponents & studying characteristics of various Individuals on a Card Table. This was a really dry losing session of about us$ 500 but it was an experience of observing discipline on a card table on a different level.
Until 2003 I never got to play any Poker at all & nor did I think of it since was too involved in Golf where luckily bumped into a few golfer friends who were members of The Osho Commune in Pune & who played a inr 2000 Buyin Game every Sunday. This game was mostly Texas Hold’em with Wilds (Jokers) but again being a Gambler didn’t care about donking 2k – 4k just to enjoy with this great group expat Oshoites.
Another 5 years of no Poker since I get involved in my restaurant business. But in 2008 my Indian Flush & Golfer Buddy who invited me to play Poker in his beautiful Bungalow for again a 2k buyin game. This was Basically a very friendly family type daily Poker game with some amazing Marwari snacks, which interested me more than the Poker. I was again the FISH who had no value for 2k buyin & played almost always Blind pre-flop. I remember all the regular winners in that small game laughing at the newfound FISH. Somebody told me ‘Play All Hands, You can’t Lose All’ for a 2k Buyin I thought was pretty good advise since I would surely Enjoy the most.
Poker was so addicting & I found a more serious Privately run Rake Game for a 10k Buyin. Now this game was with the gambling sharks of Pune & here I wanted to win for Pride. This Game sharpened me a lot & was yes a Lucky fish & a regular winner. I was 1st to land up at the venue twice a week to make sure I get a seat & start when the stacks are the initial Buyin of 10k.


1st Tournament Experience in Goa was when I came to Goa in 2010 & surprisingly a Tournament Series was in Progress – ACES UNLTD
A truly amazing scenario seeing a packed Casino Royale Poker Room buzzing with Tournament & Cash Games Buzzing.
My small Pond was Pune & with great disdain I asked 1 of the guys around “Who’s The Best Player in The Room ?” I was instantly taken towards the Heads Up in Progress for the Title of 5k REBUY & was pointed out to a young scrawny guy who was fully ensconced in a hoodie just killing his opponent who was actually praying on every ALL IN. This scrawny young guy was THE MAN Aditya ‘INTERVNTION’ Agarwal. He obviously decimated his opponent & after a quick photo session swiftly left the Poker Room.
I played 12k Knockout Bounty & 15k Shootout & told my Pune friends that I’m made for this Game & I was surely going to go deep in the 20k Main Event. I was more tempted By Rajeev Kanjani The Organizer of The Tournament Series who showed me the Goodie Bags specially for the Main Event .I wanted that badly.
It was a crazy grind not knowing anything about Poker but on sheer instincts & Yes LUCKY FISH made it to the Final Table. It was amazing making it to the Final Table as I was introduced along with all other Finalists with great fanfare Champagne & This is the Attention I was seeking. This Final Table was a like A who’s who of The Indian Poker Scene including Rajesh Goyal, Amit Varma, Lawrence Sanjay & Jasven Saigal.
Shockingly only 5 were in The money so I really stayed patient. I was luckily sitting Next to JASVEN SAIGAL who selflessly calmed me all through the Final Table explaining hands & intricacies of Tournament Poker. As soon as money bubble was passed, I was relieved I made it into the money was out in 5th spot.
This experience was amazing as I met 2 of my Best Poker Buddies Kavin Shah & Jasven Saigal who I attribute as My 1st POKER GURUS.
This was the stuttering start to my Poker Journey. Will continuing to Blog regularly as Nostalgia refreshes memories. My following blogs will highlight the Highs & Lows of Poker Life & the approach one should take to Make Poker a Successful Profession.

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Rajeev Raut

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