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For a woman to make a name for herself in a male-dominated field is never an easy task. It requires immense amounts of determination, gusto and passion to succeed, and Muskan Sethi is a perfect amalgamation of all three qualities!
Sethi was introduced to poker very early on in life by her father and what started as a passing interest has now blossomed into a successful career which we will soon get to read more about in her upcoming biography! Authored by imminent writer Shikha Kaul, Sethi’s biography will focus not only on the poker pro’s professional career but will also give us a glimpse of the other aspects of Sethi’s life.
“Before I got into poker, I was from a completely different world. Before I found PokerStars, before the Shark Cage….basically before my poker journey began. So, in this book you’re going to get a little glimpse of that part of me and the person that I have evolved into because of poker. This game has taught me a lot and is a very very important part of my life,” Sethi told PokerGuru.
The Delhi girl’s claim to fame was her appearance in the PokerStars Shark Cage TV show. Since then her life has been on an upward trajectory which has brought her unbounded success and recognition. Sethi is a proud recipient of the “First Ladies” award by the Hon’ble President of India and is also one of the only two Indians to become a part of the prestigious PokerStars pro team. Recently she was also appointed as the Responsible Gaming Ambassador for the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF). A fierce competitor and an inspiring role model, Muskan Sethi is a true embodiment of the modern-age woman.
With a vivacious and outgoing personality, Sethi is a force to be reckoned with on the felts and a fun-loving and gentle soul off the felts.
“I honestly never in my wildest dreams thought that I will be doing my biography.”
She met the author, Shikha Kaul during the filming of the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) India. Recalling how things were set in motion, Sethi said, “On the last day we exchanged numbers. She told me she was interested in writing a book on me. She had done her research and approached me to take my permission for the same.”
She further added, “I honestly thought that this is like a joke, so I was also not taking it seriously. But then it was actually pretty serious when Shikha called me and we discussed the proper terms, followed by long long conversations and late-night phone calls.”
However, the process of bringing a biography to life is not a walk in the park, especially since Sethi and Kaul were both living in two different continents. “I was in London and she was in Delhi and this was also in between my tournaments over there so it was quite an experience to be a professional poker player in the day and then work on the book at night.”
PokerGuru reached out to Kaul to know about how the biography came about. “I met Muskan Sethi on the sets of Global Poker League India and she really inspired me. The way she has completely changed the game and people’s outlook to it. The very fact that she is the first female international poker star from India was more than enough to kick my grey cells. I feel honoured to be writing her life journey in the form of a book.”
While it is a taxing job, Sethi enjoyed the experience and is delighted to be able to share a very private part of herself with her audience. “It was really nice, and it wasn’t very formal. It was very personal, and it was just about my life, the lessons I have learnt, my family, especially my mother, and my upbringing. All those things that I have gone through as a poker player.”
Sethi is very aware of the negative connotations often associated to poker and in extension to poker players. She believes that her book will be able to lend a positive voice to the mind sport and those who play it professionally. “I know I have heard a lot of judgements about myself. I know how poker players are judged upon. But this will be the first time when a poker player expresses their views on the game and how they view life in general.”
Expressing her utmost faith in Kaul, Sethi stated, “Shikha Kaul is actually a really talented writer and she is an amazing person. I am so lucky that she is writing my story. She will do justice to this.”
Further elaborating how close the book is to Sethi’s heart, she has decided to dedicate the book to her mother. “This book is dedicated to my mother. She is the reason why I agreed to do this because I thought that this would be a really good way to talk about how I feel about my mother and what she means to me. I am who I am today because of her.”
About the Author – Shikha Kaul
An accomplished writer, Shikha Kaul, had previously worked in the telecommunications industry for 12 years. Following the birth of her daughter in 2013, she decided to pursue her passion for writing and eventually released her first novel, ‘Hidden Husband’ in 2015. Inspired by a true story, the romance fiction was an instant success and led to Kaul receiving the 2015 ‘Best Author of the Year’ award by Salis Online Magazine.
She has authored two more books – a crime thriller fiction called ‘DNA- Dad’s Not Adopted’, which was followed by a patriotic thriller ‘Riots of Love’ and is in the process of writing a fourth book as Kaul revealed, “Last year, I announced my fourth book which is based on a true story. It’s on the life of Sarvjeet Singh Bedi whose trial has been in the news for the last three years since a girl’s fake social media post changed his life for worse. The book is expected to be released soon.”
Kaul’s expertise are not only limited to authoring books for she is also a skilled film writer. She received the award for ‘2019 Best Screenplay at 5th Haryana International Film Festival’ for the short film ‘Dum Dum Dumroo’.
Talking about her experience of working as a writer for GPL India, Kaul said, “It was wonderful writing for GPL India`s inaugural season. I was new to the poker world then and had to do my homework before working on the scripts. It was challenging, but fun. It was my first experience in writing non-fiction. That’s a platform where you just cannot afford to go wrong, unlike fiction where the world is yours.”
Expressing her admiration for Sethi, Kaul said, “I want to cover every aspect of her life in the book. People know her only as a poker star but there’s much more to her as a person too. A woman who dared to challenge the mindsets of people and followed her heart. It’s her quality to never give up that she has achieved today what many just dream of.”
Muskan Sethi – A Star in the Making
Sethi’s first brush with poker happened thanks to her father who used to watch the game on television. She later started playing poker on Facebook like many of her poker peers. When interest developed into passion, she began studying the game on Youtube.
Sethi burst onto the poker scene back in 2014 when she qualified for the PokerStars Shark Cage TV show in Barcelona. She participated in an online PokerStars tournament and made it among the top 20 poker players in the world. She finished 4th among 700 players and won an all-expense paid ticket to Barcelona for the championship in 2014, thus beginning her career in poker. There has been no looking back since then. Her first live score came in the $235 NLH Ladies event at the $235 No Limit Hold’em Ladies in June 2014 where she finished 10th for $435.
Success & Recognition
In January 2018, she was conferred with the “First Ladies” award from Honourable President of India Ram Nath Kovind. She was among 112 women to be felicitated for breaking stereotypes and carving their way to success in unconventional fields. Soon thereafter, she became the second Indian pro, after poker icon Aditya Agarwal, to don the Red Spade patch and become a Team PokerStars pro. On December 26, 2018, Sethi won her career-first live title at the 2018 GUKPT Boxing Day Special NLHE for £4,900 (₹4.34 Lakhs).
Expectations From the Book
Sethi believes the book will help throw a positive light on poker. “There are a lot of things that we are hoping to achieve from this book. I also realised that a lot of people who don’t play poker, but they still have a judgement or an opinion about it. If someone who is not from the background of poker reads the book, they will at least get an idea that it’s not just about the cards, it’s not about what you imagine. Because what a person who has never played poker imagines versus the person who plays poker is completely different. Reality and imagination are really far from each other. So, I really hope that the game is looked upon in a positive way and someone who has never played poker before can also look at it with a fresh perspective.”
Reiterating Sethi’s sentiments, Kaul also commented on the immense potential the book holds to increasing the popularity of poker in the country. “The book will open doors to more players and give poker its due recognition as a sport in our country. The common man in India is still alien to this mind sport. It’s still a taboo when it comes to associating it with females. The book on Muskan Sethi’s life will give a complete makeover to the idea of poker and will definitely have the potential to revolutionise the way it’s played and seen.”
The book is expected to release in 2020 and we wish Muskan and Shikha all the best for the same!