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A pioneer of poker in India with an international career spanning beyond a decade, this icon needs no introduction, Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal is amongst the top in the echelons of the poker fraternity. One of the first Indians to feature in the World Series of Poker (WSOP), Agarwal has scored in the WSOP Main Event seven times in 13 years and is very close to beating Berry Johnston’s record of ten cashes in the Main Event.
This veteran player’s prolific form, along with his disciplined and dedicated approach to poker is evidenced by his consistent performances not only on the home turf but also on international felts. Considering his latest runs at the 2018 WSOP, his total winnings in the tournament series have reached $558,720 (₹3.84 Crores).
With the excitement and frenzy of the WSOP finally over, Agarwal is now concentrating on the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) India where he has been chosen as the Team Manager for Kolkata Creators. But leading five members will be a piece of cake for the maestro who has already coached some of India’s best poker players. The highly intuitive Agarwal has a very clear mind regarding his plans and strategies for his team.
In an exclusive interview with PokerGuru, Aditya Agarwal talks to us about his most recent WSOP experience, his plans for GPL India and his views on the evolution of the Indian poker scene.
Hello Adi and thank you for speaking with PokerGuru. The busiest time of the year is over, how was it at the WSOP this time around?
WSOP is always busy, I try and play as many events as I can. Again, this year, I ended up playing quite a few events so it’s good that it’s over. Its always tiring, and I was happy, I put myself in good places to go deep and cashed the Main Event again.
How have you seen WSOP evolve over the years?
WSOP has evolved a lot over the years. This year they didn’t have many $1,500 NLHE events instead they had a lot of smaller buy-ins and big guarantee events, specially every weekend, they had the Millionaire Maker, Colossus, Crazy Eights or the Little One for One Drop. All of them were re-entry events with massive fields. The other events used to be pretty good as well like smaller fields and bigger buy-ins but now with these smaller buy-ins and big prize pools, it’s a great opportunity to get a big score, so I really like the way it has been evolving.
You cashed an impressive 7th time in the Main Event this year. Please tell us about the run and your post event thoughts. Any key instances you want to share?
Yes, I cashed again this year. The first few days were smooth sailing. I was pretty zoned in and was playing really well. I had a good Day 3 but got some hiccups on Day 4. Pretty much didn’t win a pot for the first few levels and kept getting in cooler situations. I guess I could have maybe played better but that’s all-in hindsight. Johnny Chan doubled up through me, jacks to aces, which really hurt my stack at one point. Nevertheless, I am a career poker player and I am looking forward to playing more Main Events and being stronger and better.
What has changed in your experience at Las Vegas over the years?
Las Vegas has become very relaxed and every poker player feels very much at home since everything is well catered for and all facilities are very well arranged for the entire WSOP. Overall, it’s a great experience to be in Vegas during the World Series.
Indians set some tremendous milestones this year and this was undoubtedly the biggest WSOP for the country. How have you seen their game evolve over the years? With an eye to the future, your views on how Indian participation has grown over the years?
It used to be just me who used to play Main Event from India and over the years, the numbers have been gradually increasing and now we have a strong contingent of almost 30-50 people who participate in Main Event each year and the numbers are really going to go up with all the online tournaments. People are getting better and traveling more so the performance is going to be better. I am really looking forward to Indians doing better and getting poker more legitimized in India.
GPL India online qualifiers are currently being hosted on PokerStars India. What do you think about the response?
GPL India qualifiers have been really exciting. I have had a lot of people asking me how they can be on my team. The online qualifiers have been receiving good numbers too, so there’s a lot of excitement with 5 PSPC Platinum Passes up for grabs. I am pretty excited about it.
What can players expect if chosen to be part of Kolkata Creators?
If players are chosen for Kolkata Creators, I am looking to mentor them the best I can and giving my team the best opportunity to win.
Any hints on who your wild card entries are going to be?
I am going to stay true to Kolkata.
And with that Agarwal signs off!