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Online poker has undergone a meteoric rise in the country over the past few years. This, in turn, has led to the discovery of many up-and-coming players who are crushing the online MTT’s. One such player who has emerged as one of the more consistent online winners is Anuj Yadav (cover image), better known in the circuit by his screen name ‘brockLesnar95.’
The 24-year-old has been stirring up quite the storm on the online felts and has made a habit out of shipping events on a fairly regular basis. A resident of Noida, Yadav, was introduced to poker by his office friends in 2017. Being an individual who believes in immersing himself in “things that are mentally stimulating,” poker may have well been an inevitability for Yadav.
Having completed his studies in Electrical Engineering, Yadav started out his career as a software developer. Still, he bid farewell to his job ever since he started playing poker professionally almost two years ago.
An admirer of top international players like ‘€urop€an,’ ‘C. Darwin2,’ ‘llinusllove,’ ‘Otb_RedBaron,’ Phil Ivey, and Isaac Haxton, Yadav confesses that he is obsessed with the game and devotes all his time to get better at it! Even though his live MTT record stands at a modest ₹4.19 Lakhs, it is his online resume that would make even the most seasoned regs on the circuit today envious.
Though his online achievements are numerous, Yadav has smartly opted out of Sharkscope, making it rather hard to track his recorded online earnings to date. However, his most recent wins include taking down Adda52’s Hitman ₹7.50 Lakhs GTD on March 3, Mega Suits AF ₹30 Lakhs GTD on February 23 and PokerStars India’s Uppercut 6-Max MAGIC Edition ₹10 Lakhs GTD on February 21.
We recently had a chat with the talented MTT player and got to know a lot about his poker journey and future aspirations. Here is his poker story in his own words.
Start of the Poker Journey
Yadav’s first brush with poker happened in 2017 when he was introduced to the game by his office friends. He was working as a software developer at the time, but he eventually left his job to pursue a career in poker.
“I have been playing poker for a living since May 2018, after I left my job as a software developer.”
Talking about his initial tryst with poker, Yadav revealed, “I get addicted to things that are mentally stimulating and have a competitive aspect to them. So naturally got hooked to poker.”
Sharing his grind routine, Yadav added, “I start grinding at around 8:30 PM. I play NLHE MTTs on all major Indian sites and some international sites. I usually play seven days a week unless I am feeling sick or burnt out.”
A Supportive Family
With poker still being viewed as a taboo sport, it was no surprise that even Yadav’s family initially perceived his decision to pursue poker professionally with a certain degree of skepticism. However, in the end, his family gave in by trusting his judgment and have been supportive ever since.
“They had expressed concern (rightly so) over poker not being a stable career option, but I have convinced them that it is not possible for me to be happy by working under someone else in an office job. They have always been supportive of me and trust me to make the right decisions for myself; thus, there is no pressure from them to do anything else.”
Views on Poker Coaching & Secret Behind Success in Online Poker
In a day and age where poker coaching has become a must for success, Yadav belongs to a rare breed of self-taught winning players.
When asked about his views on poker coaching, Yadav said, “I am not qualified to answer this as there has not been any prominent mentor in my poker career. There is sufficient information about poker available on the internet that new players can use to become winning MTT players as long as they have the drive for it.”
However, he did reveal that he would like to get mentored by elite players like Phil Ivey, ‘€urop€an,’ or ‘C. Darwin2.’
Without a coach or mentor to guide him, it begs the question as to how Yadav still manages to dominate the virtual felts. Spilling the beans, Yadav said, “I have a personality such that I tend to get obsessed with my passion and dedicate all of my time towards getting good at that passion. Thus, my main secret is utilizing most of my time and energy towards getting good at poker. Also, I am good at maths and have good intuition, which helps.”
“I have subscriptions on RIO and RYE. Barely used RYE yet. Videos by Seth Davies on RIO have been really useful for improving my game. They are all useful tools. ICMIZER/HRC are a must for MTT players. I don’t use a HUD, but it can be beneficial when used correctly, in my opinion. PioSolver is also very useful for improving your game. I haven’t used it much and only have a slight idea about what it likes to do through watching training videos, etc,” he further added.
Sharing his views on the mistakes that newbie poker players often make, he points at the lack of proper bankroll management, a problem he too claims to suffer from, and not being open-minded.
When asked if he is cautious of facing anyone on the virtual felts, he said, “I am not cautious of facing anyone. I like Aditya Agarwal and Ashish Munot’s post-flop game the most.”
He also credits Sandeep Varma, aka ‘effuno’ for “being there during my tough times.”
Participation in Live Poker Events & Future Plans
For someone who has been crushing the online scene, Yadav’s live MTT record is relatively modest. He picked up his first live score in 2018 at the WPT India Main Event; however, Yadav was on a year-and-a-half-long hiatus till January 2020 and confessed that he didn’t play live tournaments during this time as he did not have the bankroll for it.
We saw him again at the 2020 India Poker Championship (IPC) January Edition earlier this year, where he finished 20th in the ₹100K High Roller for ₹2.49 Lakhs.
Talking about whether he will be participating in more live events, Yadav said, “I am only going to participate if the events offer more value than grinding online during that time. I also enjoy spending time with my dog a lot and miss him when I go for a live series.”
With the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) just a few months away, we inquired if he was planning to go, “I will start considering that once the coronavirus threat is over,” was Yadav`s candid reply.
On a parting note, he offered some very sound advice, “Be grateful for the amazing and complex universe that we get to experience every day. Once you internalize this feeling of gratefulness, external things like poker results, etc., will start to affect you less.”