Dhaval Mudgal

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Live Poker – Thoughts

April 26, 2022 in Home Blogs, Featured

Live poker is back! The numbers around the world seem wildly promising, and I think we can all look forward to some record fields in the coming year.

I have predominantly played live through my career, but the last three years have been quite different after the pandemic forced live rooms to shut down, and most of us spent all our time playing online.

After years of enjoying live poker more, this time at the BPT/DPT, which were also the first live events I played as an MPL Poker Team Pro, I found myself realizing the joys of online thanks to a bunch of reasons, be it the absurdly slow pace of play, lack of skilled dealers, and the amount of effort it takes to get on the boat. I think it’s totally fair to assume that so many new players have been added to the pool who haven’t really played live and so can naturally find it challenging to deal with the mechanics of playing live.

So here are some suggestions which I feel can improve the quality of play and make it a more enjoyable experience for everybody involved.


1. Stacks of 20’s

I think players should be stacking in stacks of 20’s with big chips clearly in front instead of making random dirty stacks. I think if you decide to stack in 10’s that’s fine too, but it is very tedious to keep asking for a count when stacks are in random numbers. If stacks are in 10’s and 20’s, the opponent can usually get a basic count of the stack himself.

2. BB Ante

The BB ante is so crucial to speeding up the game, but I keep seeing dealers and players just taking the entire amount instead of separating the BB and the ante. For e.g., when BB is 500 (500), then it’s important to pay the ante separately as 500 and then the BB. Otherwise, it often ends up looking like a min-raise and wastes more time that can be spent playing. I think the onus lies on players to get the change to correctly post BB antes as their BB approaches.

3. Calling clock

I think we really need to normalize calling the clock on people. There is such a stigma attached to calling the clock on people, and players tend to take it personally. Of course, protesting an unjust clock call is fine, and I personally try to give each player one long tank before I start calling the clock, but if you think someone takes an unreasonable amount of time during decisions or is deliberately slowing down the action then start calling the clock on them. There is a reason this provision was provided to us by the TDA.

4. Shot clocks

I think it’s time most events employ the use of shot clocks. There is widespread debate about how to implement shot clocks correctly, but the point is you get time banks that you can use for your tough decisions and then a set amount of time to make your decisions otherwise. The moment you exceed said time, you will need to give a time bank chip to extend your clock. It sounds tough on new players etc., but I genuinely believe this will help make the game more attractive to recreationals. Nobody wants to see hands that last an average of 8 minutes….

5. Be nice to the dealers.

I have honestly seen some terrible dealers and some great ones, but the truth is shouting at someone while they’ve already made a mistake doesn’t usually create positive results. The dealers will make mistakes just like anybody else, and I find it best to help them while being stern without being an asshole.

Essentially, anyone reading this is playing poker pretty often, and all these measures help you play more hands per hour, which any decent player would want. These were just thoughts off the top of my head, and I’d love to hear if any of you can add more ideas to help in this regard.
Inversely, I’d be more than happy to hear counterarguments.

Some thoughts for organizers-

I know the biggest challenge you face is a lack of space and trained dealers, but please, can we start some sort of pre-online registration where I can receive an electronic version of my seating card and head straight to my seat. This seems more feasible now that we can register through our poker clients. Let’s also start diversifying schedules with a couple of different formats and more bounty tournaments as they help us save tax.

We have a lot of live poker coming up this year, and I don’t see why we can’t make this an experience that both recs and professionals can enjoy!

On a side note: If you haven`t signed up on MPL Poker yet, do sign up here and get ₹500 in rewards after completing a few simple tasks. If you are already signed up, refer your friends to win up to ₹1 Lakh in cash. Download the app now!

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Good luck out there!

Goa Times.

December 4, 2013 in News

After almost 2 years of constantly being in Goa, returning after a gap of 3 months made me feel almost alien. But Goa makes it easy to come back.
I planned to play the Golden Aces events, stick around for a couple of days of cash action and head back before the DR cup.
The plan also included shipping something at GA.
Got seated at a ridiculous table at the first event of GA, with Maddy seat 1, Me in seat 2, Kanjani Seat 3, Jasven seat 4, as well as Antilog and Rajesh Goyal.
This meant the table was fun and tough. Lots of blinds being defended and not too much folding too 3 bets.
Anyway, started nicely before this hand.
Folded to me on the button, I opened 7s6s only for Jasven to defend his BB. Magically a AsJs7h flop appeared. Jasven check called my bet on the flop as well as the brick turn and then 8s on the river on which he led out pot. I called only to see Ks3s and lost a massive pot.
Next orbit, Manoj opened UTG +1, I shipped 14 bb with 99 from button and Jasven woke up with JJ in BB. GG me.
Was kicked about the super bounty and started really well again by eliminating Kanjani in a pretty big pot first level. 6 limpets on my BB, I pick up AK and make it 5x, Kanjani in hijack now moves his whole stack in the middle after limping and I call and beat his JJ.
Few hands later,@100/200 EP limps, I raise QcJc to 550 and EP calls.
Flop is 10c 9c 3s and I’m salivating by now. EP player leads for 1k, I make it 3k he calls.
Turn is the Qh and I now have top pair as well as an open ended straight flush draw. EP leads again and I decide that theres no getting away here and ship it in. He calls and his Q 10 off holds and i’m crippled.
Get moved and pretty quickly get it in with QcJc in a multiway pot against AK and am eliminated on a 10c 6d 6s Qs Jh board. Brutal river but whatever.

Could never really get going in the main, Anti and danish were bossing the table, and Anti won a couple of pots from me early. Was down to just under 11k at 400/800, when super tight player opens UTG to 2000, Kanishka from button makes it 4k, I move all in with AcKc from the SB, UTG folds, Kanishka calls and shows 8h5h. Pretty brutal board run out- 7s 4s 3h 2h Ad giving him the wheel and GG me.
So completely bricked GA and was pretty disappointed as I knew I didn’t play too well, but as a side result had tons of time to play cash and did pretty well at some juicy games.
Sunday, Me, Antilog, Bblacklegend, Kanishka, Kavish, Donka, Romit, Ajwani all got together and rented out the Sailda del Sol conference room and set up a massive grind.
I didn’t put out too much of an outlay, had a super deep run in the bigger 55 and FTed a 25 hyper for 7th place so was a profitable Sunday overall.

Felt like the tide was turning so decided to stay back play cash over the week and play the DR cup as well.And boy am I glad that I decided to stay back!
Cash action at this time in Goa is awesome and continued to do well.
DR cup first event on Wednesday had 84 runners for the 10k.
Started really well on a soft table. DR cup field was really soft and the plan was simple. Be involved in more pots early.
Flatted a tight players 3x open in a multiway pot from BB with 7s6s and the flop ran out 7c6c3h. I led out and the player who opened raised, I shipped it in and he quickly called and showed Qc10c but my hand held up.
Antilog was seated on my left by now and I remember telling him, don’t3 bet me light today, today is a different day.
If you know anti, you know he went against my advice:), but it was a different day, and I 4 bet right back.
Im pretty sure this dance would have continued but our table broke and I got moved to a tougher table with Apoorva and Romit. Won some big pots including a pretty big all in pre with JJ vs 10 10 before I spewed off a decent sized pot from BB with Q9 vs AA on a Q 10 3 2 board.
Anyway, final two tables and I got a really soft table full of tight players, and most decent players were bunched together on another table. Kept chipping up until I lost CL pot with KK to AQ on the FT bubble. 3 players claimed they had folded an Ace so it was particularly brutal when the 4th diamond appeared to give Yogesh his nut flush.

On the 10 handed FT, I was 7/10 with 15bb with Antilog and Varad Patil as CL. As only nine were in the money and there were some shortish stacks, I took a couple of early spots when Varad and Anti opened to ship it in and chip up.
One kid had gone on a monster heater by now and was showing up with AA/KK AK and picking up huge pots. The rest of us were pretty much watching him run the show by now.

Varad opened to 17k @ 3k/6k, Romit went all in with 33k, I had 40k with AQ and i got it in as well.
Varad showed JJ and Romit KQ and and ace high board meant I was back in business.

The other guy pretty much wrapped up the rest of the FT till we were down to 3. Pretty hilarious thing happened here, when I was button and BB moves all in and SB calls, I’m yet to act! LOL. Yogi Thakur FTW!
We started heads up with Pranav holding a 3:1 chiplead, and he started pretty strong on the adrenaline rush that heaters tend to give you. After a couple of levels of to and fro, I opened KhJs and he 3 bet, I decided to call.
Flop Ks 4h 4d went check check. Turn 7d and he led, I min raised and he moved all in.
I was pretty sure I had the best hand here, though I did consider AA for just one minute, told myself he deserved it if he had actually played that hand like that and called. He shows Ac5c for air. Brick river meant we were equal in chips and I was feeling pretty confident by now!
Just a few hands later, I opened QJo and he called. Magic flop Ac Kc 10s. He check called my flop bet and I was pretty sure he’s got Ax and he’s not ready to fold all the way.
3s on the turn and I bet about 55 % and got called again. The flop flush completed on the river and he checked again, after which I shoved and he called off with Ax.
He had 2-3 bb left which were done in the next hand 9d7d vs KQ.
Good to come back to Goa and ship something, good prep for the big one that’s coming in Jan in Macau!
I remember saying that OFC would be big in my last blog, but this time all of Goa was tripping on a variant of OFC called Pineapple which is like OFC on steroids.
Did really well at Pineapple as well so a real sweet trip all in all.
Until next time!

Gone Goa Gone

August 1, 2013 in News

Try as you might, you always find yourself somewhat attached to your roots.
And Goa for a lot us is where it all started.
The recent downturn in the fortunes of tournament poker in Goa has seen a lot more of us travel to different shores.
But the announcement of the CR cup and with it the absorption of TDS, brought about a fair buzz in the circuit.
With my Macau plans cancelled due to a close friends wedding, I booked my tickets to Goa and headed out to the CR Cup.
Chance encounters with fellow players on the flight and the airport should have given me an indication of what was to follow but, walking into the poker room of the newly positioned CR was something that took all of us by surprise.
It was like rewind back to 2010. The room was buzzing and full of players and old, old friends.
It really did seem like a school reunion of sorts!
Late rugged into the 10k and unfortunately so did KC, Amit Verma, Jasven, Kavish and Bblacklegend and all of us found ourselves on the same table. While that made for some great table talk, it wasn’t too helpful in taking down easy pots.
The table broke within a couple of levels, but the turbo nature of the event made sure no one felt too comfortable with their stacks.
Got moved to a fairly weak table, where I jammed light a couple of times and showed my hands. Next hand I shove AK and and get snap called by Q 10. My hand held up only for me to lose JJ to AK for CL pot with about 22 left and 15 in the money.
My boys Jasven and Samoh chopped the first event and I can tell you it was quite a rail!
Didn’t sleep much before the 20k event, and to be honest the importance of sleep before a tournament is becoming more and more evident to me.
Anyway, @ 150/300 flatted EP position raise to 1100 with AQ on bb. Led 1500 on a 10s 9c 6s flop and got called. Turn was 3s, completing the flush. led for 3600 and got called. River was a 7c. I jammed and got snapped off by K9o. GG!
Jasven chopped this event 3 way as well. What a beast! Mad props!

Decided to go well rested for the main and got a fairly decent table draw. There were a couple of guys I knew but it was all pretty standard. We were only playing unto 1k/2k on day 1 and on the last level I got moved to another table where everyone was pretty deep. I had about 55k.
Last hand of the day, tight player on the button opened to 4800, I 3 bet to 11k in sb with 99 and he 4 bet to 24k. I begrudgingly folded which meant I went into day 2 with 34k.

Day 2 was a different ball game. About one orbit in, picked up 99 in SB to double up against AJ. Next hand, I raise Ah10h to two EP limpers. Get called by one, and check back the Ac4h4s board. Turn is the 5c and he pots for half my stack and I shove. He tank calls 7c2c and I double up.
Im opening almost every pot by now and chipping up quite quickly.
I open AQ in MP and Harshad Bharve and (72 guy) both call in the blinds. Harshad has a pretty big stack like 1.6l at 1200/2400 and flop runs out Qh 3h 3s. Harshad check shoves to my bet on the flop, I call and hold against his Kh9h to become CL with 22 left.
Lose AK to 88 in a 100k pot just before the break but still have CL. Open AhKh UTG to 12k at 3/6, 200k stack 3 bets to 34k, I 4 bet and he shoves AQ and hits a Q on the turn to win a massive pot leaving me with about 17bb.
Just about sneak in to the final table which had a very impressive lineup- KC, Pulkit, Shravan, Sapra (Boronyx), Paras Chakravarty, Sridhar, Antilog and a couple of newer guys.
Sapra, Sridhar and Paras were all shorter than me while KC and Antilog were the bigger stacks so, it was a fairly simple strategy going in to Ft. Get it in, double up and have a fighting chance!
First orbit, first time tourney player and high stakes cash player opens to 80k at 4k/8k, (which he later claimed was a mistake),
I shove 120k with 10 10 and Sapra in the bb puts his 70k stack in with JJ. The raiser folds and Sapra holds up only for me to become even shorter.
Same guy limps next hand and I shove A5o on the button only for Antilog to snap off AJ in the bb.
So that was that and I finished 10th.
Luckily though I always swap equity with beasts! And boy did they deliver!

Partied so hard after the Main that didn’t even wake up in time for the Sunday grind!!

All in all, the kind of numbers that CR cup received were very exciting and hopefully more series with this kind of turnout should revive our scene!
Also start learning Open Faced Chinese Poker (OFC) because its going to be BIG!

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