8 mins Read
The curtains are about to be drawn on the two-month long thrilling action at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) where the biggest contingent from Team India was seen in attendance this year and conquered historic milestones while adding deep runs to their scorecards. One such player is Young Gun Nishant Sharma, who reached Vegas after qualifying through the 9stacks #LFGVegas contest and has broken all previous records by becoming the first Indian to make it in the top 50 at the event with a 34th place finish for a whopping $230,475 (₹1.58 Crores) payday.
Now, in the third and final episode of WSOP Vlogs brought forth in collaboration with PokerGuru and PokerBaazi, Vikram ‘Lungi’ Kumar interviewed Sharma on his experience in Vegas, playing at the WSOP Main Event, and what he’s learnt from his exposure to an international event of this stature.
“It’s hard to express the feeling,” Sharma said, in conversation with Kumar, adding, “I never thought that I’ll play WSOP, this is my first WSOP series and to come here and run deep in the Main Event and making through to Day 6 which only a few Indians have ever done so far, like only Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal has finished in 71st place, was a great experience, and good thing was event my roommate Vivek Rughani, who was running in the event made it to 88th place, and it was great to play with a stack of million 10-12 millions.”
When asked by Kumar on his strategy for the Main Event, Sharma said that while he entered without any special strategy, he had been working hard on his game every day, and chipped up to Day 6. He ended day 1 with a 60,000 plus stack, by end of Day 2 he had bagged 240,000 and end of Day 3 he had climbed up to 600,000 in chips.
“While I kept chipping up, Day 5 was pretty good for me, and I ran up to 5.8 Million,” Sharma recalled.
Was it an overwhelming experience, playing so many sickos in the Main Event, asked Kumar, and Sharma smiled. “It was a great experience playing with them and I wasn’t nervous, to be frank. Before I start on a tournament I always think that I have already busted the tournament so that I don’t feel any pressure and can play without fear,” he said. “There was a time when there were 5-6 very good players on the table, they were top sickos but then again I knew what to do and how to!”
For him, Day 1 was the most crucial and later he did discuss a few pots later with his friends including Raghav Bansal and Aditya Sushant. He also had a good exposure at the Venetian tournaments where he faced tough opponents like Alex Foxen. “When you play sickos like Foxen, you learn a lot, and you come to know at what level he’s thinking. It did help me in the Main Event, and I realized that playing with people in live tournament is not same as in online games, people are bit more conservative, they don’t shove that light. I have learned to adjust my play accordingly.”
Sharma’s confidence did help him steer clear of the challenges he faced until he reached the moment when he faced the most unforgettable moment of his life, the hand where he was knocked out from the Main Event!
Sharma opened from middle position for 425,000 and Aram Zobian from cut-off 3-bet to 1,225,000. Sharma re-raised to 3,550,000 and Zobian moved all-in with the rest of his stack. Sharma snap-called with pocket queens, unaware that he would be dominated by Aram’s pocket aces. Sharma’s elimination came through after the board brought an ace, spelling his end in the tournament.
In the interview, Sharma discussed this hand and some other mistakes he made in the Main Event. The Young Gun also thanked his rail back at home for the huge support and wishes he’s been receiving.
His advice to aspiring Indian poker players? “WSOP is the most prestigious tournament and obviously everyone wants to play that tournament but don’t rush, build your bankroll, I suggest build it up to ₹80 lakh or more. Then you can come here and play,” he said, adding, “I could have come and played last year also but then it would have been a big hit on my bankroll so I skipped it”.
While Sharma’s stellar run at the Main Event has earned him much-deserved bragging rights, his performance is going to bring in a lot of traction and pull in new players to take up the game professionally for sure!
Check out Kumar’s conversation with 9stacks qualifier Sharma here –