6 Mins Read
A rising star and an online poker champion, 28-year old Arjanveer Singh Chadha (cover image) is our latest Young Gun. Not the usual run-of-the-mill guy who’s dabbled in poker for the fun of it, Chadha was introduced to the game at a fairly young age, and finds in poker his true calling.
Delving into the studies of the analytics, probability, hand rankings and poker strategies has been a labor of love for this die-hard numbers buff who turned away from a flourishing family business to play poker, in face of stiff opposition from his parents.
But life is not just about engaging with opponents on the virtual poker tables for this emerging talent. Chadha, who has represented Punjab in the 2005 Under-17 National Cricket championship, loves to watch movies, sports and play golf with family. Chadha, who dreams of winning a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet one day, shares with us his poker story.
Chadha was introduced to poker in 2005 when he saw his brother who had returned from Canada playing poker online. Having only tried card games like Rummy earlier, he was deeply fascinated. It didn’t start then though. In 2008, Chadha moved to Pune for his Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) and found himself playing with friends.
“We started playing poker at really small stakes, poker at Rs. 50 buy–in and I really enjoyed the game particularly the probability angle involved in poker,” Chadha said. He then made an adventurous trip to Goa with his friends and ended up playing a live tournament. It didn’t go so well for him, however.
Back home in 2011, Chadha started handling his family business, but without any interest. He kept playing a bit of poker on the side.
“I discovered that there are so many ways to learn and improve my game. I scoured the internet, and subscribed to videos. So I took a break from the business and I started to play. But it was a total failure, I was doing it all on my own and I couldn’t identify where I was going wrong,” Chadha recalls.
On the verge of giving up totally on poker, Chadha met poker coach and Team Manager of GPL India team, Pune Alphas, Abhishek Rathod and inspired by him, joined the poker stable Indian Poker Pros (IPP) run by Rathod, Sahil Agarwal and Anup Palod.
“They helped me think out of the boxed mindset I was playing with, and delve into the theoretical and strategic aspects of poker. Everything I know about poker is mostly through them. This was my turning point and the year 2014 was when I started to do well.”
“A lot of people associate poker with gambling which is ridiculous. If you follow proper strategy and Bankroll management and keep your emotions in control, you should become a winning player eventually,” Chadha says.
While his understanding of the mind sport was clear, the biggest challenge was convincing his family.
“I experienced a lot of backlash from my family at first, since poker is an unconventional line of profession. But I was stubborn and I knew what I wanted to do. So, it took years of convincing just for their acceptance. But now, they understand fully and are okay with it.”
Like all online players, Chadha’s poker sessions start late in the evening to continue till the early hours of the next day.
“When I was playing at home it was really difficult for me to maintain the hours and my routine was a big problem with my parents,” says Chadha, who eventually decided to move out and live in an apartment.
Chadha was with IPP for two years and fared reasonably well. Under them, he also mentored others for a short while. He guided a small group of players and this helped him understand what the other newcomers were thinking, their problems and bankroll issues. Looking to shift to online tournaments, Chadha left IPP.
“I mostly play online on all the websites, mostly tournaments though I do play cash games now and then. And for live tournaments, I have only been to Goa for live events, all the DPTs and Baadshah events. I haven’t done well so far in live tournaments but I look forward to more live events in future,” he says.
Chadha, who plays with the moniker ‘arjan30’ on Adda52 has been raking in good winnings. He experienced a particularly crazy week in April this year when he won three Multi-Table Tournaments (MTT`s) on Adda52, in a week’s time!
“I played the Godfather event on April 26 and I won the top prize of ₹5.20 Lakhs. The next day, I won ₹4.50 Lakhs in the Whale and on May 2 I won the Paycheck event for ₹4.87 Lakhs! It was certainly a big encouragement for me,”Chadha recalls.
Over time, Chadha has worked on different aspects of his game. He learned about different softwares, such as Flopzilla and Poker Tracker.
“Making notes on players is really important, because the Indian player pool is pretty small, so you play with these players regularly, and making notes help a lot in gauging their moves.”
During his years with IPP, Chadha studied a lot of short-stack play and dedicated himself to memorizing charts and understanding hand ranges. “There are many instances when you are short stacked and you have like, less than 20 bigs, so your push-fold play i.e. if you have to push or fold, and this is one aspect I took time to clear my understanding on.”
Talking about the Indian poker industry, Chadha opined,“Poker in India is growing and has a lot of potential. There are many sites to play in now. In the past two years itself, poker websites are offering a lot of attractive promotions and tournaments with high guarantee. Indians are now going in bigger number to foreign destinations like Manila, Vietnam, etc to play poker and it will grow a lot in near future.”
Chadha, who in 2017 was a part of Team Haryana Hunters at the Poker Sports League (PSL) headed by Samay Parikh, also feels that the arrival of various poker leagues in India has given players exposure, an opportunity to mingle with the pros and learn from them. “I saw PSL first-hand, and found its format amazing, and learnt so much from Parikh in that one week. According to me he’s the best all-round player in India, he can take on cash games, he can take on tournaments, he can take on different poker variants.”
Now he says, the GPL India has also started. “Such poker leagues are really good for the game’s future.”
However, he did point out that there were quite a few grey areas plaguing Indian poker like untrustworthy sites, high tax rates limited by archaic laws, and poker forums or players who dupe people.
Chadha has three important bits of advice for newcomers to poker.“Strictly use bankroll management, take time to study the game, at least an hour every day and avoid going for live tournaments in the beginning since there’s a lot of variance in live tournaments.”
Bankroll management in poker, he stresses, is really important. “Managing my bankroll is a big lesson I learnt from my mentors. You will eventually become bankrupt if you don’t follow bankroll management strictly.”
As for poker, he says, “You have to study hard for it. It takes hard work and dedication over a period of time and is a never ending process. No one can say that they have mastered poker strategy and has nothing to learn. You learn something or the other each day.”
Talking about his dreams and aspirations, Chadha said that he was inspired by several well-known Indian players such as Danish Shaikh, Sahil Agarwal, Sriharsha Doddapaneni, Shravan Chhabria and Aditya Sushant.
“When I play with them on the table, I find it very interesting that they have different strategies against me particularly, and against other players they play differently. So I also try to use that in my favor and I try to change my game against them when I play with them.”
While not an active live tournament player now, Chadha’s eventual dream is to move to Europe and someday win the most coveted honor in all of poker, the WSOP gold bracelet.
“I see myself playing a lot of live tournaments in the future. I want to travel a lot now, and to shift somewhere in Europe. My ultimate dream is also winning a WSOP bracelet, every poker player has that dream.”
With more than a decade of poker experience under his belt and the passion to master the mind sport, Arjanveer Chadha seems to be on the path to a bright poker future.