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Spotlight: Interview with Ashutosh Naik

Spotlight: Interview with Ashutosh Naik
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  • PG News September 13, 2011
  • 4 Minutes Read

Ashutosh Naik (cover image) is a young poker pro from Bangalore who has recently been making waves in the Indian Poker Circuit by making a record 6 final tables in 7 tournament appearances! We caught up with Ashutosh and asked him to share some of his secret strategies with us. Here is the complete scoop >>>


Great going Ashutosh! You are on a heater of a lifetime! How does it feel to have made in on 6 final tables in your last 7 appearances?

It really feels great and I am really happy. I decided to quit my job in Bangalore and start playing Poker professionally for a living last month, and the results are beginning to show. Initially I was a bit insecure about my decision to play poker full-time, but the recent results in tournaments and cash games are really convincing, and I am happy with my decision to go professional now. When I do it full time, I can focus a lot more on poker, than what I could have, when I was working elsewhere. Since my parents are from Goa, they have been a great support for me, and I love living in beautiful Goa at my home.


You have now joined the elite club which consists of just 4 players
with back to back wins. Tell us your secret?

Haha, the secret is just to play patiently and wait for the right opportunities to make the moves and take the pots down. Everyone gets the same cards, and hence poker is after all a patient game. In tournaments, I try to avoid getting into coin flips early on, that’s why I was able to get onto the final table so many times. Depending upon the situation, sometimes you have to lay down big hands initially. Also when representing a hand, it’s important to keep your
story consistent on all the streets.


You have performed well in all formats of the game. How does your
strategy vary while playing Rebuys, Turbos or deep stacked Main Events?

Each tournament needs a different strategy. In rebuy tournaments, I am willing to gamble initially to build up a stack. I would typically be ready to rebuy at least 4-5 times. In turbo tournaments, you just have to win the coin flips at the right time, and take more risks, because the blinds are increasing really fast. For freezeout tournaments, I am unwilling to risk all my chips or go all-in in early situations unless I am entirely sure I can convince the other person to lay down his hand, or have the nuts. I always keep the M Ratio in mind and play
accordingly. In deep stacked main events, there is always plenty of time to build your stack, and not risk it unnecessarily upfront.


You have played at the Aces, PGT and IPS this season. What are the
unique qualities you find in each of these tournament series?

Firstly I would say that all the tournament organizers and entrepreneurs have done a great job organizing tournaments, in Goan casinos. The PGT was one of the best organized tournaments, and the good thing was that it was rake free. I hope we see the PGT event coming around more often. Similarly Rajeev Kanjani did a great job at Aces Unlimited in the new poker room at Casino Pride. Aces Unlimited also plan to introduce new format called Greed, which will be really good to play. The IPS will always be special for me, as that’s where I won my first medallion. Finally, the Player of the year concept is quite good at Aces Unlimited and IPS.


Which are the tournaments that you are looking forward to play later
this season?

I think a lot of us are looking forward to the Asian Poker Tour, which will be held for the first time in Goa, and it will have many international players and deep prize pools. Similarly I am also looking forward to Champion of Champions event in November, and also the bimonthly events of India Poker Pros, IPS, Aces Unlimited and IPC.


Any role models for you in the Indian Poker Circuit? Any international
players you fancy playing against some day?

On the Indian tournament circuit, I really admire Intervention,
Sangeet Samoh, and Rahul Melwani’s play. Internationally, I would love to play against the pros like Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Isildur, Patrick Antonius, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.


What are your views on the poker scenario in India and which is your
favorite place to play poker?

Initially I started playing Home Games in Bangalore, that is where I really started learning the nitty grittes of live games, as prior to that I was only an online player. The poker scene is thriving in most big cities of India in the form of home games, but everyone wants to eventually make it big either in Casino Royale or Casino Pride in Goa. My favorite place to play is of course Goa and Las Vegas. Bellagio, MGM and Stratosphere are my favorite casinos in Vegas and of course Casino Royale and Pride in Goa.


Any advice for poker enthusiasts who are looking at coming to Goa to
play Tournaments or Cash games?

Play patiently, be ready for ups and downs, back your instincts and trust your reads on the players. Always focus and try to profile players, on how they are playing on the particular day. Play the player more than your cards. Also tournaments and cash games need different strategies, hence try to avoid play cash games like the tournaments and vice versa.

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