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Heads-Up With the Winner of MadOverPoker`s November Tournament Leaderboard – Sam Anand

Sam Anand
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  • Namita Ghosh December 14, 2018
  • 5 Minutes Read

Fast growing online site MadOverPoker (MoP) has been actively churning out exciting promotions that have enthralled poker enthusiasts all across the country and helped the site build a strong and loyal customer base.

The monthly tournament leaderboard that promises its players a total of ₹3 Lakh in leaderboard prizes for playing tournaments above buy-in of ₹300 is just one of the many promotions run by the site. Considering the consistency and performance of players across all featured tournaments hosted by MoP every month, topping the monthly leaderboard on the site is no easy feat. And taking down the November Tournament Leaderboard was the Master of Economics student at BITS Pilani, Sam ‘Lokimon’ Anand (cover image).

Anand who started playing poker seriously just over a year and half back is today a very familiar name on the virtual felts. It was a tough journey to the top for the aspiring player, who admits he was way behind in the points tally at MoP by mid-month but then decided to keep at it, and eventually saw the results! Anand topped the November Monthly tournament leaberboard and won ₹1 Lakh up top.

It was not just the competition at the felts that Anand had to wade off to top the leaderboard, but he also had academic pressure to deal with, as his final exams were right around the corner. The diligent student has in fact, just come off the last hurdle of his examinations. It’s not so surprising if you can understand the deep affinity that Anand feels for poker. For him poker is not just a form of rejuvenation, rather it’s a mental challenge that he likes to take on, again and again. And even though Anand is soon heading for a four-month internship to Delhi, he has no intentions of slowing down his poker journey.

Will we see Anand on the live felts soon? It is the next natural step that he wants to take. In his own words, “While my profession doesn’t equate to poker, I do intend to compete and win at the highest professional levels.”

In a candid conversation with PokerGuru, Sam Anand shares with us his poker journey so far, his run at MoP’s roster of November events that finally saw him winning the November Tournament Leaderboard and his views on poker as a mind sport. Here are the excerpts.

Hi Sam and thank for your speaking with PokerGuru. Tell us about your poker journey. How and when did you start playing poker and what makes you continue?

Hi, my pleasure. I read up about quite a few of my idols on PokerGuru, so it’s fun being on the other end. I have been aware of the game since my school days. However, it was about a year and a half back that I decided to commit. I love the game, its competitive aspect and its innumerable life lessons; that’s what keeps me going.

You won the November’s monthly tournament leaderboard on MadOverPoker! How was the experience?

It was quite satisfying to win the first edition of MoP’s tournament leaderboard. MoP has been consistently hosting commendable promotions, and their support is co-operative and prompt. It was an enjoyable and fluid experience.

Did you find it tough sailing through to the top at the MoP November leaderboard? What was your strategy for combating a competitive field?

It was, actually. I was behind a ton of points by mid-month where one of the competitors won 2500 points or so by winning Rehab; a leaderboard on which my winning points were close to 5000. By month end, a player going by the name of Sigma picked up a bunch of wins to take a lead of over 1000 points with about 3-4 days remaining. I decided to keep grinding regardless in hopes of a sick run, and it came. And I had almost sealed it by the time the last day came. I just had to play my best, put in some volume and let variance do its thing.

Which platform do you prefer to play more, live or online? What is your usual routine for poker?

I exclusively play online. I have only a couple of isolated cases of live, once at Delhi and once at Manilla Megastack (barring the occasional recreational game with college friends of-course).

I usually put in a session after dinner, when most of the bigger guarantees are going on, but I make exceptions for Sundays and sometimes for the afternoon sessions if I have the time.

Poker is still on its way to gain wider acceptance as a mind sport in India. What are the challenges you have faced in terms of your family’s reaction to your interest in poker, and juggling it with other aspects of your life?

My family, like many others, did hiccup on the possibility of me pursuing an unorthodox activity to a competitive extent. That too, with a sport played with cards.

However, over time, they have become co-operative and even a bit encouraging towards my goals.

I will take a little longer to share my two cents here.

Poker is played with 52 cards. The cards are merely representations for units in a game. It’s the same to think of A,2,3…Q,K,A as 1,2,3..12,13,1, and the four suits as A,B,C,D. We try to find a way to maximize our results with each of the possibilities we encounter depending on the situation and our ability. How is this any different from any sport one considers is a game of skill?

As for the element of short-term luck, if that’s what makes it gambling or negative in any sense, then it is to note that Australia does lose to Bangladesh in single cricket matches from time to time. Favourites to win the world cup in Football often just fall out before the later stages even begin. And these apply to every sport one would consider to be of skill. So, the stigma is literally coming from cards being used as representations, which is baseless. I’m open to sensible arguments; have so far received none. Poker is a beautiful, complex mind sport being misinterpreted by some ignorant individuals.

In context to playing online, tell us about your recent online forays. What has been your trajectory in terms of scores?

I have not been able to play much in my college semester. Apart from a handful on MoP, my most recent deep run in a major tourney came by a 5th in the IOPC Millionaire.

You play under the moniker of ‘Lokimon’ across several sites, including MoP. Is there any particular reason or story for why you chose this username?

To quote Max Holloway, “It is what it is.”

As an online player, what are your preferred stakes and preferred games?

I almost exclusively play online MTTs, and try to play when I can, up to any stakes.

What are your views on the expanding live tournament scene in India? Do you also play live?

It’s really encouraging. I will transition substantially over time to live tournaments and the initiatives towards live tournament series and televised leagues in India look quite promising and are highly appreciable, even from the perspective of one who isn’t participating yet.

Who are your favourite online players on the domestic circuit?

I am in deep gratitude and respect of the players and coaches that I have known. It would not be fair to take names in isolation; however, their role has been decisive.

Have you played in any international tournaments? If not, do you have any plans to, in near future?

I had played the APPT at Manila, where I failed to make any deep runs, but it was an enriching experience, nonetheless. I will be increasing my participation in live tourneys as part of my schedule over time. WSOPs and WPTs would be among the first I’d look forward to. Maybe get featured here again over one of those ventures! Till then, thanks a lot!

And with those last words, Anand signs off!

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