8 mins Read
He’s all of 24, but speaks with a wisdom and insight far beyond his years! That is Chennai-based Ashish Munot (cover image) for you, our latest PokerGuru Young Gun.
Munot turned pro just a few months back and has been showing consistent results. He has gained quite a reputation online and just recently, he shipped PokerBaazi’s The Endeavour ₹15 Lakhs GTD [Re-Entry] event for ₹3.33 lakhs.
He is a self-committed pro and prefers playing online when it comes to tournaments and plays live to grind cash games. This AceJack stable member is upbeat on the growing popularity of online poker in the country, and thinks that it will become the next big thing in the country.
Munot depends on his group of like-minded poker players for insights and hand discussions. He emphasizes on the need to be around well-versed poker players who can help each other on their journey of getting better at this mind sport, one hand at a time. According to Munot, it’s extremely important for poker players to find a good circle of poker players and have the right mentors.
Like many, Munot also faced some difficulty convincing his family that poker is a skill game and not gambling, and as they say, persistence paid off. He now has the complete support of his family for his poker career.
Despite his young age, Munot displays a deep understanding of the sport and its flipside, which is often, missed by many players starting out and like most Indian poker buffs, he gets his inspiration from India’s pioneering poker player Aditya ‘intervention’ Agarwal and WSOP bracelet winner Aditya Sushant. Just one interaction with Agarwal as Munot claims, changed his game and the way he approached things. He has made ₹25 lakhs online in just two months since that conversation with Agarwal!
Here, we present a question-answer session with Munot who talks about his poker journey, grind regime, association with AceJack, international travel plans and more. This young talent has an immense drive that shows when he talks about poker, as in his answers here.
I am from Chennai, and I have completed my schooling and engineering (Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering) from Chennai itself. Once I finished college, I immediately started playing poker professionally so I have no professional background apart from Poker.
How and when did you come across the sport of poker? Please take us through the journey.
I got introduced to poker when I initially joined college. We used to play small home games with my college mates. We used to play in apartments and formed a circle of people who were interested in the sport. We used to play regularly amongst ourselves for a small amount of buy-in. Since then we are used to playing poker after college. So, by 4 or something we used to go grind games till 9 pm or something. After I passed out of college, it was then when I started focusing only on poker. I tried to work with my dad initially but I was playing more often and now since the last three months I have taken it up as a profession. Before that, you may say that I used to play recreationally.
How much do you play & which variant of the game do you prefer playing?
Right now, I usually grind almost 100-120 hours in a month essentially. I play more live Hold’em games (cash games) and online MTT’s.
What do you prefer, live or online?
For tournaments I definitely prefer playing online due to the high value. I think it’s the next big thing which is going to happen in India. If we just look at the last 3 months, the difference is huge. Earlier in three months we would hardly play one ₹50 lakh guaranteed event but now every two weeks there is a big tournament being hosted online. So, going by how the scene is growing, online poker in India is the next big thing. There is much more value online than live and the players aren’t that good online so the fields are softer too. There is a lot more to be capitalized online. There are mostly recreational players playing online tournaments.
What’s your grinding regime like?
Sleep is essential if you want to grind, so I make sure I have eight hours of sleep if I plan to grind the next day. Usually I start playing at around 6 pm, irrespective of playing live or online, I start by the evening and grind till the game goes. There is no limit that I will play only for a set number of hours.
I usually take a break for a day in a week. Certain times, the games are not good or I may not be able to play due to some reasons. I believe 100-120 hours are essential to be on the profitable side.
What’s your family’s understanding for the game?
So, when three months back, I decided to play professionally, I consulted with my family. It took me a while to make them understand, I made them read articles and there was a seminar in IIT, so I showed that to my parents and made them believe that it is a game of skill rather than gambling. After a point, they were convinced and now they are supportive or rather very supportive.
In the beginning they didn’t know how to process it as they didn’t know what poker is. That’s the problem, nobody in our parents’ generation know what poker is. They know cards are associated with gambling but they don’t know what exactly poker is. It takes a while for them to understand these things you know.
How do you go about improving your game?
So, I joined Abhishek Jalan and Vikram Kumar’s staking stable AceJack when I started pursuing poker in a serious way two month back. They have given us all ‘Run it Once’ subscriptions, they have a group of 10-12 people in the stable itself so we discuss hands and strategies together. We contact each other to discuss any hand or situation. I use ‘Run it Once’ and watch videos, talk to players who know and understand the game better. So, I try to learn the game from their point of view and their strategies.
Before AceJack or rather when I used to play recreationally, I used to win in cash games but not consistently. I used to lose sometimes based on my patterns and all that but I didn’t understand that there is a way to do it professionally. You know you have to do certain things in the right way to play profitably.
I didn’t take coaching yet but I have been lucky enough to be associated with one of the best tournament players like Aditya Sushant. He has been helping me a lot when it comes to MTT’s. Sushant’s aggressive style and the way he puts pressure on his opponents is something phenomenal and draws me to adopt his style in a lot of spots.
So, discussions with fellow poker players and poker friends helped a lot too. You have to be with a group of people who want to grow in poker together, that’s the right way. If you are around certain people who look at the game the right way it’s easier to better your game as well.
Where and how often do you travel for poker?
So basically, since the staking, we have been travelling a lot to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. For tournaments, I try to attend the ones in Goa like WPT India, DPT etc. International travel is an agenda but I have not yet thought about it at length. It will happen probably in the next couple of years. Like, I have just started playing poker professionally so I am yet to plan international trips.
Any tips you want to share for upcoming poker enthusiasts?
I will say that patience is the most important factor and bankroll management, coaching or if a lot of people can’t afford coaching, something like ‘Run it Once’, it’s pretty cheap and I think the easiest way to learn the game better. That is a must and as I mentioned, being in the right group and among the right set of people is very important thing. So, if you want to learn MTT’s, be around and associated with good MTT players to understand the game better and what one can do in every situation. So, you can improve faster and in a better way.
Who are the players you look up to?
I look up to Aditya ‘intervention’ Agarwal obviously. I happened to have an interaction with him out of nowhere for a couple of days which changed the way I looked at MTT’s. Like facing each situation calmly and taking the right decision. Since then there has been only an upward swing in my graph and I have won more than ₹25 lakhs in tournament winnings. And it’s been only 2 months since that interaction!
Then I would say Aditya Sushant too for MTT’s and when it comes to international players, I would say Phil Galfond and Phil Ivey.
Munot Signs off!