5 Minutes Read
“Poker is a sport; it is not a lifestyle.” These golden words pretty much sum up the crux of Episode 3 of The PokerGuru Show (Season 3) featuring Kartik Ved! Speaking with PokerGuru Host Saumya Paithankar, the PokerGuru Staking head honcho shared some thought-provoking suggestions and insights into the poker industry.
The conversation began with Ved’s phenomenal run in the 2022 World Series of Poker. With two brilliant final table finishes in the mega-series, the Goa resident emerged as the Indian ‘Star of the Series!’ While Ved’s recap of his final table runs is exciting to hear, his views on ‘off days’ were an eye-opener. Ved also recanted his experience of the ‘rumored gunman incident’ that happened on Day 47 of the WSOP.
Given that Ved has been in the industry for a long time, his list of achievements is also quite lengthy. But a lesser-known part of Ved’s poker career deals with his experiences as a poker staking stable operator. In this candid interview, he talks about the process of recruiting new players to PokerGuru Staking and how new recruits are mentored. In a surprise revelation, Ved also announced that PokerGuru Ambassador Mithun Mahesh has been elevated to the position of coach in the stable and will be taking on an entirely new batch of candidates to groom and mentor.
Without much ado, let’s find out what Ved had to say about the WSOP trip, PokerGuru Staking, his views on the GST issue revolving around the RMG industry, prevalent issues in the Indian poker scene, future plans, and much more!
Watch the episode below.
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Here is a timeline of the episode highlights.
4:21 – Kartik Ved shares that with the WSOP moving to the Bally’s from Rio, he had expected the numbers to be more significant with more walk-ins. It turned out to be a grand affair, a much better experience than the past WSOP editions he attended at the Rio. He also played some high-stakes tournaments this time, which was fun.
5:18 – Ved talks about his third-place finish in the WSOP Mini Main Event and recounts the dynamics of three-handed play, acknowledging that while winning it would have been great, he is happy with his third-place finish.
6:50 – He talks about his deep run in Event #87: $5K 8-Handed NLHE, where he finished fourth for $172,103 (~₹1.37 Crores). He had 40% of the chips in play at one point but lost all the flips towards the end.
7:27 – Despite his ill fate in the later stages in Event #87, it was a fun experience for Ved, for he got the chance to play alongside superstars like Daniel Negreanu, Eric Seidel, Maria Ho, Sergi Reixach, and Ryan Reiss, among others.
8:12 – Ved recounts that he had a memorable experience at the WSOP and is raring to return for the next edition in 2023!
8:58 – There are no off days in poker, says Ved, even on days you don’t play. In this context, poker is like any other sport.
11:50 – Ved shares a traumatic incident that happened during the WSOP. He was standing near a table when a rumor ran amok that an active shooter had entered a casino. Ved saw a wave of people running in panic in the Convention Centre, which had a crowd of nearly 5,000 people. Ved, who had experienced earthquakes on several of his past Vegas trips, initially assumed it was another earthquake.
12.35 – Ved recalls how he lay down on the floor, was pushed over, and kicked in the face, with people falling over him when someone screamed: “YOU IDIOTS! IT’S NOT AN EARTHQUAKE. THERE IS AN ACTIVE GUNMAN IN THE ROOM!” That’s when he started sprinting out to push his way through the stampede.
13:24 – Ved continues that once out, he was faced by a massive crowd on the strip that was shutting down. He waited on the road with the others for four hours before the tournament organizers called the players back in.
14:21 – He confessed that he doesn’t believe in or wants to indulge in prop bets as he doesn’t want to challenge a friend for money.
15:37 – Ved talks about the growing breed of Indian poker players crushing it in live and online events.
16:22 – He shares the challenges of coaching players at PokerGuru Staking and playing poker professionally on the side.
18:10 – Ved talks us through the process of hiring new recruits at PokerGuru Staking and Mithun Mahesh’s elevation as a coach.
21:40 – Ved explains that there are two forms of coaching, one in a group and one-on-one.
23:06 – Ved shares his views on the possibility that the government will increase the GST on online gaming and how operators function in the current scheme of things. He said, “As a stable, we have no say. There is nothing we can do.”
24:00 – Delving into how the poker sites operate and their current tournament offerings, Ved emphasizes that poker is a sport end of the day and bluntly says, “I have been in the industry for way too long – operators don’t care about the industry, they only care about their balance sheets!”
26:20 – Sharing his feedback for online poker operators, Ved said reducing the late registration period is essential. He says, “You (operators) think you are eating into the regs’ pocket, but the reg will eat your pocket” since eventually, people will burn fast.
30:22 – Talking about cashes vs. profits, Ved says there are a lot of efforts going on and off the table, and there’s more to poker than the glamor usually projected by websites or others on how poker players live.
31:54 – Ved mentions he had planned to go to EPT Barcelona this year but didn’t get his Visa on time.
32:38 – Living in Goa, Ved confesses he finds it convenient to attend live poker tournaments happening in the casinos in the state
33:05 – Ved talks about how poker life pans out for a poker player over ten years and how it is crucial to prepare, study mistakes, give time to family, etc.
34:56 – Sharing advice for poker players, Ved revisits his view that poker is a sport, not a lifestyle, and to play, you need to go to work, be disciplined, save money, and not gamble. Ved signs off.