Hi everyone, my name is Sandeep Malik, and I’m from Mumbai. I own a business of marketing and advertising, primarily digital. I work with a lot of brands for their campaigns and exposure in the market. In my first blog on PokerGuru, I want to talk about my poker journey and how I topped the UVS leaderboard on Spartan Poker.
I discovered poker two years ago with friends, and it was mostly for fun. Before that, I didn’t even know about cards, or poker, or even the suits. Basically, I knew nothing about the game. A few friends called me for some home games, and just for fun, I started playing. Then somebody introduced me to online poker. I didn’t know that things can really touch a professional level online, but I still gave it a shot. I started playing cash games on Spartan Poker, and I thought it’s all about fun and ended up losing a big chunk of money there.
I used to play any hand, I didn’t know about ranges, I didn’t know anything but there were some nice people who helped me during my journey. They told me what are ranges, they asked me to study a bit and I found it really funny – like, okay what to study about a card game, it’s just for fun. But when I started reading about it and started watching some content and seeing a lot of online material, I totally fell in love with the game and then I realized the depth of it – that it’s not just the card game – it’s much more. It’s such a beautiful game and the skills that I needed, can be used in the business world as well. I just fell in love.
Poker soon became my second passion after cricket and I started investing a lot of time into it. I started studying a lot, I used to just sit and watch the pro’s playing tournaments and cash games.
I started making a lot of friends in the industry and came to know a lot of big names. Then somebody suggested I start playing tournaments and that’s when things started to change for me and it was on PokerStars. The first win for me was taking down PokerStars India’s Battle Royale. That was my first-ever featured victory and I felt really good and that got me motivated me to work harder to improve.
Yes, I had invested a lot of money and time into poker but I was understanding and learning the game more every day. Spartan Poker is special because it gives you a lot of scope in terms of guarantees. So the ratio of your buy-in against the guarantee, it’s pretty good at Spartan and it’s unmatched in the industry.
UVS series was pretty good. Starting off I didn’t even think I could get anywhere close to the top on the leaderboard. I just went with the flow, my goals were not that big and I just wanted to take small steps. It was about shipping mid or small stakes tournaments and trying to cash in all events. Then all of a sudden I started collecting points and once I saw myself in the top 5 that’s when I got a sense that I could take this down.
My strategy was to work super-hard over the closing weekend. I was sitting with 2,000 points on Friday and I gave myself the target to cross 3,000 points by Saturday since Sunday’s are always very high-variance days. It’s just like in cricket if you want to run two runs so you have to run the first one really hard. That was my strategy for the final two days. I earned more than 1,100 points on Saturday itself and that was it. I did not even score a single point on Sunday but I was good as nobody could get close to me. So that was it and it was really special for me to take down the series leaderboard because I’ve never done this.
My confidence is high but I want to stay humble and I want to learn a lot. I’m engaging with a lot of people from whom I can learn and I’m being positive about the future. Because of COVID, I’ve got a lot of time to play apart from my work schedule and I think this pandemic has given this industry a boost. A lot of people want to play poker and a lot of people who were playing on a semi-pro level, now want to get to the pro level because a lot of people are thinking that they’re not going to get any job or they’re going to suffer in their businesses so they might have a chance to earn decent money from poker. It’s never going to be the same anytime soon, the outer world is never going to be the same.
I’m very thankful to PokerGuru for providing me the platform to share this with everyone. Thank you so much!