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My Journey to board my Flight to TIPS could be a Bollywood Movie!!!!!

Posted by Ashish Ahuja on 2019-03-28 at 10:05 AM

Hello Friends, I am back with another blog. This time I would like to share my experience of a recent international trip I attended i.e. TIPS at Kings Casino in Rozvadov. It is the biggest European casino as it houses the biggest poker room in Europe. Needless to say it plays host to the WSOPE every year.

Recently I had convinced my dear friend and fellow #PokerGuruAmbassador Arjanveer Singh Chadha to join me for an international series which happened to be the TIPS Winter Edition. We had applied for the VISA on February 12 and normally it takes 3-4 days to process but our application took way longer than expected. We had to fly out from Delhi onMarch 1 but we didn’t get our passports till February 26.

I was concerned with the delay and decided to connect with Manish Goenka who was the organiser of the TIPS series. He suggested that I should go to the Czech embassy and just give them a reminder that they should release our passports even if they don’t want to give us Visas. I shared the information withArjanveer but he refused to go as. He thought that nobody would listen to us or help us with our plight. I tried hard to convince him to come with me but that didn’t work out.

So on February 27, I decided to travel to Delhi by myself to sort out the Visa issues. I requested the authorities to release my passport and had to wait for more than an hour but it was fruitful as they committed to release the passports by the same evening. They asked me to go to VFS office and collect the passports instead of getting it dispatched to Chandigarh. On 28th at 3 am I called Arjanveer and told him to pack his bags.

He said there was no time and there is no way in hell we can make it but I told him that ‘Bro I have played my part and convinced the embassy to release our passports. We are going to take this chance.

My brother accompanied us to Delhi just in case we didn’t get the Visas, we could drive back home to Chandigarh. We got the Visas on March 1 at 12 pm and we were so lucky that both of us had got the Visas and we were actually going to fly down to Rozvadov!

But there was another huge twist waiting for us. After we collected our passports and came back to the location we parked our car, it wasn’t there! It had all our laptops, suitcases, everything. We thought it was stolen and were in shock that after so hassle to get the Visas, now the car is gone! It was like someone throwing punches at us one at a time!

Then I thought that what if the car wasn’t stolen? What if it had simply been towed away? We called the police helpline and they told us that there is a police booth nearby and if our car was towed, then it would be there. It was a 5 minute walk and when we reached there, we saw our car. It felt like we had won against all odds and now could finally go to Rozvadov. Getting the Visas alone became an adrenaline fueled and amazing adventure!

Finally we boarded our flight and it felt like I was really out of all the run good just to get on the flight but I didn’t know that god had many more surprises in for me.

I reached Rozvadov on Friday and I had to play the Godfather event online on Sunday and to my surprise, it was epic. I started the tournament and lost a huge flip early on. From there I recovered and ended up winning the SNG and winning a seat to the WSOP main event. I can’t even express but it’s a dream come true. I was on the top of the world as there is nothing else that a poker player looks up to than playing the WSOP main event.

I would thank only and only, my mentor, my coach, my idol, my strength, my life probably – Aditya Agarwal who had helped me improve my game and had wrked tirelessly with me through day and night. He helped me continuously throughout the last 8 months to just strive for better. I can’t thank him enough and when I won the SNG, my eyes were filled with tears and I just couldn’t thank him enough. I was out of words and called him just to thank him for all the efforts.

After the SNG, I went to play the TIPS main event. It was a pretty big event and we managed to bag decent stack. Next day, on Day 2 i was very aggressive and managed to build up a good stack. During bubble, I lost around 60% stack where MP limps, cut off limps, button opens for 5x. I pick up acejack of hearts on the small blind and 3-bet pretty big. Both limpers fold and button decides to call. The flop came 872 with two hearts. We bet 1/3 of pot and button rips it in. I call and he flipped a pair and flush draw. We needed an ace or a jack or a heart to take down the pot and unluckily lost the hand and came back to being short stack.

Though I couldn’t do much and min cashed. Nevertheless, I was very happy. It felt like after all the trouble I went to just to get there, it may have been destiny!

The event was very well organised and up to the mark. I can undoubtedly say that Indian standards are not as high. This is one aspect where Indian casinos need to stand up and deliver better. It was just a massive difference from any of the events I have played in India.

The tournament area was phenomenal. They could easily accommodate 2000 people at one time. That is something remarkable. There aren’t any casinos in India which can even accommodate 500 players at one time.

The dealers were all excellently trained unlike here in India. The staff was very well equipped. Everything was on point there.

Another thing I would like to point out is that there is no dress code to enter casinos there. Unlike in India where if you are not formally dressed, you will not be allowed inside. There you can go in your shorts, slippers etc. Basically the point is that poker players have to grind for long sessions like 8-10 hours and you want to be comfortable for that long hours.

The relaxed atmosphere of the casino, excellent hospitality, and my win, all certainly helped convince me that all my effort to get to Rozvadoz were most certainly worth it!

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Ashish Ahuja

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