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Our video segment #ChampionsSpeak, as the name suggests, is dedicated to champions. And if there is one player who deserves to be featured here, it’s PokerGuru Ambassador Vishal Bajaj.
The 25-year-old Engineer turned poker pro topped the charts last week on the back of two flagship title victories. However, his blazing run in the ₹80 Lakhs GTD WPT India High Roller on Friday is what stands out. Bajaj bagged a career-best ₹21.60 Lakhs for the win – the seven-figure score pushing him across the ₹4 Crore mark in tracked online winnings.
Talking about his mindset before the WPT Online India started, Bajaj revealed, “Before the IOPC, I went into grind zone. I started studying. The IOPC series went pretty well for me. The month was good overall. Then the WPT began, and I was pretty excited about the Highrollers. In the last two years, I hadn’t won any Highrollers, so I was determined to win. I lost the heads-up in the WPT Mini Highroller, but that just made me hungrier to get a better run.”
“The WPT Highroller was fun. After the IOPC and APT, I was a bit relaxed the following week. I went to Kartik Ved’s place to stay, which was a much-needed change in my routine. I have had a better frame of mind overall.“
Bajaj had come close to winning his first World Poker Tour trophy in the WPT Mini Highroller on August 5 but lost the heads-up to Young Gun Neel Joshi. Losing the heads-up only urged Bajaj to do better in the WPT India High Roller.
Recapping his run in the tourney, Bajaj said, “I had registered a bit late into the event, and it was an exciting table all through. The final two tables were far better. Once I was in the final table, I was pretty much the second shortest stack. Luckily, I ran well. I got some big stacks through busting the short stacks. The heads-up lasted a bit long, but I was finally able to take it down.”
According to his coaches and teammates at PokerGuru Staking, Bajaj holds the potential to become of India`s biggest MTT crushers. And if his recent form is anything to go by, he is living up to that reputation. For all that we know, this could be the start of this superstar’s road to stardom.
Bajaj was introduced to poker in his second year of engineering at Pune Institute of Computer Technology. Part of the first-ever Global Poker League India, the former The Millionaire champion credits that experience as a game-changer for his career. “That is when I got my first coaching classes and realized that there is more to this than playing. That was a nice platform to understand how the game and the industry works.”
Through GPL India, Bajaj met Mithun Mahesh, who later introduced him to PokerGuru Staking. Recollecting his application process, Bajaj shares, “Mithun referred me to Kartik (Ved), and I am very fortunate that he believed in me. That’s when I applied and got through. I remember making that decision when I was at crossroads between choosing a job or pursuing poker. I remember reading that this might be Adi’s (Aditya Agarwal) last coaching batch, and that’s when I decided overnight to give up my engineering career and get to poker full time.”
An ardent student of the game, Bajaj enjoys learning the theory of the game and says, “To be honest, I enjoy studying more than playing.”
Like us all, the pandemic affected Bajaj’s mindset, and grinding alone at home for more than a year got to him. Around six months back, Bajaj decided to move to Goa and currently stays with stablemate Ashutosh Balodhi. And the change in surroundings has immensely helped Bajaj get into the ideal mind space, and the results have followed!
The three-time IOPC titleholder has many big titles under his belt, including the PokerBaazi Premier League (PPL), The Endeavour, and Deepstack Madness. Today, he sits with ₹1.68 Crores in lifetime profits on the domestic sites!
While Bajaj’s online resume is impressive, he has only played the game seriously for three years!