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PokerStars India has announced its arrival in India with a bang and in case you missed it, there was a pretty remarkable event last Sunday that awarded ₹10 Lakhs in prize money for free!
We are referring to the much talked about the PokerStars India Welcome Freeroll which took the country by storm, as 3,387 poker fanatics took to the felts and battled it out for the glory and of course the free prizes.
Whether it was a micro-stakes beginner, a once-a-month punter, a low-stakes grinder, a mid-stakes up-and-comer, a business mogul, or even the poker superstars of the country, they all congregated on the familiar but yet new PokerStars India client to celebrate the launch of the world’s largest poker company in India!
And finally, there was only one who would reach the front of the line, and it was Pune based Prathamesh ‘slowroll_baller’ Sawant (cover image) who was making a return of sorts to poker and hit the jackpot by winning the event for ₹1.29 Lakhs – his career-best score till date.
Though a recreational player, he does want to work on the game and in his own words, “dedicate some time to study the game and review my own results.” and well the timing couldn’t be better!
PokerGuru couldn’t miss the chance and caught up with the man himself and in an exclusive interview; he shares with us his poker journey, his thoughts on the launch of PokerStars India, future ambitions and more. Here are the excerpts –
Hello Prathamesh! Thank you for speaking with PokerGuru and congratulations on taking down the PokerStars India Welcome Freeroll last Sunday! Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Mumbai and lived in Thane for most of my life. I currently live in Pune and moved here for my job. I’m a Group Manager at Amazon and have been working here for a little more than 2 years. My family still lives in Thane. My father is a scientific officer and mother is currently retired but used to work for a bank. I have a twin brother who works in IT and a Siberian huskey named Zulf.
Can you tell us about your poker journey so far? How did you come across the mind sport of Poker?
I started playing poker back in 2014 in home games with friends. I played a lot of local cash games and built up a decent bankroll. I played in 3 IPC events in 2015 where I won a package twice on Spartan Poker. Managed to only cash in one ₹10,000 tournament but did well in cash games in all the trips.
My family hasn’t really liked the idea of me playing poker. But to be honest, I really haven’t taken the time to explain why poker is a game of skill so I can’t complain. In 2016, I got a job with Amazon and had to relocate to Pune. After relocation, my poker journey pretty much ended as I spent a lot more time working. About a month ago, I went to Hong Kong on a personal trip and played some poker in Macau. After I came back, I decided to play tournaments on Sundays. This was my second week since I started.
Please share your thoughts on the launch of PokerStars.IN.
I’m really excited about the PokerStars launch because their software is by far the best. I think there is a lot of expectation from the Indian poker community for PokerStars to take the poker scene in India to the next level.
What are your views on the Welcome Freeroll hosted by PokerStars India and the other ongoing promotions at the site?
It was a very fast paced structure, which I liked because I’m not used to grinding for long hours anymore. It was a great experience as this is my biggest tournament win.
Please share your thoughts on the current poker landscape in India.
I’ve been out of poker for the last 2 years so don’t know much about the poker landscape apart from what I read online. But the launch of PokerStars will definitely be a boost to the poker scene in India.
Who are your poker idols – (both domestic and international)?
I haven’t really followed the domestic scene but I’ve always admired Aditya Sushant. His results have been amazing. Internationally, my favourite player is Doug Polk.
Do you have any poker related goals? Kindly elaborate.
I haven’t set any goals at the moment because I’m still working full time and don’t know if I can dedicate more time towards playing poker. I love my job and poker is a hobby right now. The only thing I want to change this time around is to dedicate some time to study the game and review my own results.
Any parting words or anything you would like to add? ‘
And just in a blink of an eye, ‘slowroll_baller’ signs off!