8 mins Read
A 21-year-old who speaks his mind like any professional in the poker fraternity, the Delhi lad Ujjwal Narwal (cover image) is our latest PokerGuru Young Gun. Alike many who have come before him, Narwal’s tryst with poker began in college and this Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi student’s rapid rise is unstoppable even though his foray into the industry has mainly been on the online domain and he is yet to even enter a casino!
His introduction to poker is only a year old but it was the lucrative side of the mind sport that primarily attracted the young man to the game. Believing that all he needed was an opportunity to learn the game, his prayers were answered when he heard that Aditya ‘intervention’ Agarwal would be coachingplayers from the poker stable AceJack. Although skeptical of the information initially, he immediately joined the poker-staking stable once the fact was confirmed and there has been no looking back since.
After undergoing three months of coaching, Narwal now feels that his game has not only improved but also evolved. The transformation of the carefree poker amateur into a serious and devoted player has been incredible.
With dreams of getting his first big score and proving to his family that poker is a game of skill, Ujjwal Narwal takes us along a walk down memory lane as he reminisces his journey into the world of poker. Read his remarkable story in his own words.
A student by vocation who is still pursuing his degree in engineering from IIT Delhi, Narwal’s first introduction with poker was through a collegemate.
“I started playing poker in the summers of 2017 when I heard about a guy in my hostel who was making a lot playing online poker. I didn’t even know the basics of poker at that time.”
The first encounter led to a growing interest which culminated in his venture into online poker.
“I just spent a couple of days on Zynga poker just to get a feel of the game and then immediately started playing micro stakes on PokerBaazi for real money. I straightaway went ahead and deposited, lost it in the initial few days but didn’t stop playing. I started playing online to make some quick bucks but eventually I fell in love with the game.”
His love for online poker is evident through his grinding regime and his will to succeed.
“I only play Multi Table Tournaments (MTTs) and play about 120-130 hours in a month. I have very little experience of live poker. I have never even been to a casino! I prefer online since it’s much faster and way more interesting with 5-6 tables going on at a time. I mostly play 5 days a week, typically 8pm to 2am.”
When Narwal heard that poker stalwart Aditya Agarwal would be coaching players of AceJack he was thrilled and his time at the poker stable has also helped him improve his game.
“I’m getting coached by Aditya Agarwal and Kartik Ved and I’m in the company of MTT crushers so just being in this group of elite poker players and talking and discussing spots with them, I’m improving so much. My game and my thought process have changed so much after joining AceJack and it’s just been 3 months here!”
He also talks about his immense admiration for his poker idols and role models.
“I look up to my coaches Adi and Kartik and my stable mates who are just crushing the online poker scene in the country. To be honest I feel like Adi has the game cracked, really and I just try to absorb the most I can from whatever he says during the sessions. Other than this, I look up to Akshay Nasa (he’s the guy from my hostel). It was seeing his success that I started playing poker myself.”
This young player also displays an innate understanding of the mind sport.
“I will say that it takes time to learn the game and don’t spew money playing games out of your bankroll. Personally, I feel that I learnt pretty quickly and moved up the stakes really fast just because I had the right guys to guide me through. So, if you want to learn, join coaching or stables for coaching + backing. It’s a little hard to learn by yourself but can be done on your own too.”
Like many young individuals who face opposition from their families for choosing the unconventional future rather than the well-trodden path, Narwal too faced resistance from his family.
“Earlier my family was completely against it but now I guess they are kind of neutral about it (definitely not supportive though). Maybe I’ll get a really sweet score in the next couple of months and they’ll understand how much skill-based poker really is.”
Hoping to prove his mettle to his family, Narwal is also looking forward to participating in his first live tournament.
“I have never travelled anywhere for poker although I’m planning to go for Deltin Poker Tournament this time so let’s hope it goes well, would be my first live tournament series!”
But in the meantime, he will continue to focus on online poker and keep building his bankroll.
“As of now I just want to excel at online poker and soon when I’ll have a decent bankroll. I plan to travel around the world playing live tournaments.”
And with those words, Ujjwal Narwal signs off!