RATUL STEVES

Dealing with Downswing (It is all in your mind)

March 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

Hello there. Hope everyone is washing their hands and keeping himself or herself protected from Coronavirus! Well, the past few months have been a test of my patience…my downswing is really bogging me down mentally. I have put in a number of hours for both Cash and Online, but the results remain the same. Variance kills my hand every single time.

Downswing outright sucks. It has sometimes left me questioning my strategy and abilities and more obviously, it has affected me mentally and financially too. Hence, I have decided to use this blog to lay down some key tips that have helped me keep a positive outlook despite the variance:

 

Study more

As part of the downswing comes this emotional baggage of “tilting” at all costs. Instead, I would recommend you increase your poker knowledge. Studying has proven to engage the logical parts of your brain and therefore keep you away from the emotions that come with tilting.

 

Don’t get nitty

In times of stress, our brain has a fight or flight response. Hence, as a way to reduce variance many a times players drastically change their playing style. I would suggest from personal experience to make rational decisions from a strategic point of view and not an emotional one.

 

Start fresh every single time

Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, do not go into your current session expecting it to be like the last one. If you walk into a session thinking since you are in a downswing, this session will be bad too; there is no point playing that session. It will be a rough experience and your state of mind will work against you.

Instead, go in with a fresh attitude confident of your strategies and leave the anxiety at home. I know, easier said than done. However, know this, your sessions have no memory of the last, and the past sessions only influence your future sessions if you allow them to.

Goodbye 2019!

December 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hi guys,

It’s been a long time since I last blogged. Well, I haven’t been able to put volume recently. I’ve been playing a little less, but I’ve been devoting more of my time towards studying.

I have been suffering from some health issues….so aptly put, I was on a break! My bad food habits, they really took a toll on me, but I am recovering now and feeling much better.

Currently, I am only focusing on getting back into the correct mindset and having a good start with the new year coming up. I was very surprised and glad that the community liked my last few blogs! PokerGuru even mentioned mine as the top blog of the year!

It has been a year full of ups and downs for me, and I hope the upcoming year goes better. There is the January rush of both live and online games that I’m really looking forward to. Though to be frank, I haven’t even thought about Goa.

Finally, to end this blog, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!

Time for an Update!

June 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

Hey all!

Hope you’re all safe and healthy during this pandemic. These are unprecedented times…so I thought of checking in to give you all an update.

I’ve been at home in Chennai since the lockdown began, just kinda forced to live a daily routine that does not involve interaction with the society, I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. The live games have stopped since March. I used to play live at least 4 times a week, but obviously not anymore.

Of course, the lockdown has brought jn a streak of laziness in me…haha. Just getting up, bathing, eating, playing tourneys and sleeping. Speaking of tourneys, online MTTs are getting so interesting right now! A host of series with good crowd and amazing guarantees. I’ve been putting in work for those. Every week someone is becoming a millionaire! Hoping to be that lucky person soon.

Here’s a special update, I’m graduating! Batch 1 of our training program with Aditya Agrawal is soon coming to an end. It’s been 2 amazing years of Adi’s mentoring. I’ve been learning a lot and am indeed very grateful to be a part of this. Only through this program I truly came to realise the importance of regular self-study. It plays a huge role in keeping you ahead of the game! Apart from the learning, meeting all my fellow players in the incredibly fun bootcamps, I am surely gonna miss it.

With that, I’ll be signing off.

Hope you guys stay indoors and keep yourself isolated as long as this virus gets over. Take care, keep in touch with your loved ones and hopefully we will all get out of this triumphant.

The Aftermath of Bootcamp – My Biggest Score in Domestic Sites

June 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hi all, I have finally got a fitting answer and an end to my previous blog. I shipped the ValueBomb event for my career best online score in domestic websites this Sunday!

The experience was too good and it was an interesting tale how I joined it as well. So me and fellow PokerGuru Ambassador Ashish Munot were grinding cash games and I knew that there were two big tournaments coming up. I was pretty card dead in the cash game so I registered for the event on the second flight and played it through my phone. So I qualified for Day 2 but on Sunday I completely forgot that I actually don’t have funds in my account for my complete Sunday Grind! Then Munot started making fun of it saying I made Day 2 and hence I will bust in a couple of hours and get like ₹15-20k and then I will fire bullets in other events. Ironically in the end, he said “Bro tujhe pata tha kya”?

I started the day with 28 big blinds, initially was very smooth. After just the first two orbits, I doubled up, it was a cooler spot and villain had queens vs my kings. So I straightaway got the double up. Actually in this event, I didnt flip that much. Like I wasn’t really putting my chips in preflop. Everything was mostly post flop.

I did notice in the event that in the event was that when it was down to the few last tables, most players were new random ID’s and non regs. I got crippled a lot in between. Like last three tables, I almost had the chip lead but then I got down to just 9 bigs and grinded my way back. Even on the final table, I was 2/6 once but then go to 6/6 and I had to grind back.

There was a very interesting hand when there were only three tables left where I had to fold my flush against the eventual fourth place finisher Balwinder Singh. I don’t know what he had but that was a very interesting hand.

He had just won a huge pot and we were 3/24. I started with 55 bigs and he had 50 big blinds. From hijack, I opened with 8c 6c, he defends his big blind and the flop comes K 7 5 with two clubs. So we have an open ender and a flush draw. He checks, we c-bet, he calls. Turn is Ac and I hit a flush. He checks, I bet 70% of the pot and he calls. The river is a brick jack and he donk jams on us! He check called the flop, check called the turn and rips the river now, must have been 30 BB shove.

Now I was in a spot and here I was looking at such a huge ICM. I had profiled him as a new player so I thought he won’t risk his stack without having nuts. So I didn’t think he was bluffing, I took my entire time bank and eventually folded. I thought even if I leave this spot, I had 31 bigs which were enough. Calling and regretting later that it was a fold would have been worse as I think he didn’t have any bluffs on that board. That was an insane hand.

It was pretty comfortable tournament as a whole. Like I was winning flips, my hands were holding etc. so it was a smooth grind. I managed to crack two aces though and that was pretty epic as this time I wasn’t on the receiving end of it. Hahaha – Me cracking aces was pretty sick and that too on the final table.

Even on the final table, when I got short, I started picking up lot of blinds; there was only one major hand I played with the chip leader where the lead also changed. There were 5 left, I opened Q 8 off suit and the chip leader defends from big blind. I was 2/5, flop opens Q 9 10 with two diamonds. I check and he checks back and the turn came a Queen. This time, he bet over half pot and I called. River came another queen so I hit quads. He bet 625k in a pot of 1 Million and I made it to 1.80 Million. He tanked and folded and after this hand, I had the chip lead. From there I cruised to victory.

Heads up, I started with a small deficit but it lasted for only 3 hands. On the final hand, button I min raised Ah 4h, he called and flop opened 2 3 5 so I flopped a straight. He checks, I check back. Turn was 8 and I bet big (60-70% pot). He check raises us now and I flat. River board paired and he jams. I insta call and won as he had two pairs! So that was that.

Apart from this, I am in Chennai only and playing both live cash games and online MTT’s. Usually I play 3 days of cash and 4 days online. When I play live, I don’t play online as games last till late night. As far as regime is concerned, nothing much has changed since my last blog. Nothing special has been happening to be honest except when me and Nadeem went to Goa for a bootcamp with Batch 2 of Adi. That was a great revision and I personally felt that I was out of touch for tournaments.

I wasn’t putting that much volume earlier and thought that I was a bit disturbed with the downswings of cash games. I was seeing the pattern again and again and I had lost 2-3 big sessions so I just wanted to play more cash. So I got out of balance and wasn’t up to date. When I went for bootcamp, it was a great revision and discussing hand histories and grinding with the boys helped a lot. There itself I started running deep and it’s been only three weeks since then!

I am making sure that I play MTT’s regularly to maintain the flow. I can’t travel much as my grandfather is very old and I try to stay as much as I can in Chennai. Will now focus more on the study and put more volume and definitely will not let this score get to my head.

Apna Time Aayega!

May 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hey guys! Checking in to give an update.

In the past few months I have been experiencing a downswing in my games. I have been playing cash games consistently and also online tournaments. But I’ve been on the other side of the variance. It has been plaguing my mind, as it would to so many professional players out here at some point in their career.

My advice to anyone going through a downswing, which I take from my current actions, is that grinding it out is the only way to reduce and finally eliminate variance issues. Also take this time as an opportunity to learn and improve your game by studying around new strategies and/or perfect your current ones.

Apart from all this, there is an obvious mental stress on my head due to this variance in my games that I have been trying to remove because for me, usually, stress means a slump in my health. To combat this, I have been working on having a regular daily schedule by having proper meals on time, sleeping and waking up on time, getting adequate sleep etc. These are some things that I have been concentrating on to be able to handle the stress better and I know it will soon pay off.

Anyway, that’s all from me this time. Good luck with your games and keep grinding because as my blog title says,

Apna Time Aayega! 🙂

A Silver Lining During This Pandemic

August 10, 2020 in Featured

Hey everyone!

Writing a blog after a long time. Its been going well but I guess I hit a downswing at the worst period I can imagine. The online GTD’s are increasing day by day and to see that I am not able to take advantage of it, kinda sucks to be honest. But, it’s a part of this game and somehow, of life too.

This Sunday I won the Hercules event on PokerStars India though!

Since my last win in May, I was grinding regularly and made it to a few final tables as well. However, Hercules being a slow structure event, I was comfortable in it because I am patient. I was aware and completely conscious of what was happening on the table throughout the game and as I ran deep I committed to my focus. And I was glad I did.

As the case with everyone, its been a struggle during this unprecedented pandemic time but I found the silver lining. I also studied way more than I used to and on a regular basis and clarified some spots that I was doubtful about. That really helped me in this event too. Feeling hopeful for the coming weeks!

Ok will sum up this short blog now.

ONE REQUEST to all – Stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

My Poker Journey So Far – Motto For Now is Work Hard

February 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hey everyone. I am Ratul, a professional poker player from Chennai. Thought I would update my poker journey in my first blog. 🙂

So, I got introduced to poker during a field trip in Grade 12 (about 9 years ago) in Delhi. My interest grew in the game and I started thinking about pursuing it professionally. The next year, I came to Chennai for college and this is where I happened to befriend a professional poker player. I started getting invested into the game and started playing it for a living soon thereafter. I was playing cash games mostly, in Bangalore and Chennai.

In 2016, I was recommended to join AceJack (now rebranded to PokerGuru Staking) by a close friend Kartik. He, along with Vikram, from the stable have played a pivotal role throughout my journey and continue to do so. I think that is one of the biggest advantages of being a part of a stable in this career path. I am quite lucky to have found the right one; I have gained immense knowledge systematically and consistently progressed ahead and have felt extremely supported through my ups and downs. I am very thankful to them.

Anyway, continuing my narration, after becoming a part of the group, I played many tournaments (initially just cash) and travelled to many cities such as Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Another person who played an impactful role in my poker journey is Aditya Agarwal. I met him in Mumbai around last year and soon after was asked by my peers to join the coaching sessions with Adi in his first batch. For the past year, I have been working and learning from him continuously and improved a lot in my game especially when it comes to tournaments. I learnt some advanced strategies from him, but most of all I was impressed by his discipline and dedication. All my learning paid off as I started winning major MTT’s on almost all Indian sites and this helped me gain a lot of confidence.

I have been asked by many of my friends – why play poker professionally? I’m sure that is a common question in our field. My answer to that is simple, I enjoy the sport and see an immense scope in playing it professionally. Some other advantages are that I can play it from the comfort of home (well, sometimes) and since I like travelling, this career option works out in my favour J

Like everything else, this too has its disadvantages like it doesn’t necessarily have a fixed schedule and therefore if we don’t take care of ourselves, it can adversely affect our eating, sleeping and relaxing habit, which ultimately result in an unhealthy way of living. But to be honest, that is the case in every other career path too.

To sum it up, I love the game and have worked hard to reach where I am. I have had the good fortune to meet certain people who have always had my back. I intend on reaching new heights as the years progress, with the relentless support from PokerGuru Staking and by working even harder. Stay tuned as I hope to get you a lot more updates in my next blog soon 😛

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