Heads-Up With Abhishek Kushwaha – Winner of PokerBaazi`s IMPS Gold Edition Main Event

Abhishek Kushwaha
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis October 2, 2021

It’s always good to hear the victory stories of established pros. Still, when a relatively lesser-known player grabs the spotlight, the win becomes an inspiring one, fuelling the aspirations of other up-and-coming players.

In this Champions Speak, we put the spotlight on PokerBaazi’s IMPS Gold Edition Main Event winner Abhishek Kushwaha. On Sunday, the self-proclaimed semi-pro crushed a 2,342-entry field to win the IMPS trophy and a career-best ₹9.48 Lakhs. He chopped the top prize heads-up with Suneeth Kalmady (2nd for ₹7.20 Lakhs).

Talking about the big win that shines bright in his poker resume, Kushwaha shares, “I got very lucky during the tournament. Even on the final table, whenever I had a hand, the opponent also had a good hand. So, most opponents were calling my all-ins. I was value-shoving, and I was getting called every time. On the final table, I was down to 7 BBs against 117 BBs. While I was getting cards, my opponent was also getting good hands.”

Abhishek Kushwaha
Abhishek Kushwaha


Sharing the exuberating he felt after securing what is essentially his best score to date, Kushwaha said, “I felt numb at the time. I kept thinking, is this real or not? It was around 2:30-3 AM. I was feeling sleepy and kept thinking, did I really win?! After some time, it sunk in that I had really won!”

Kushwaha was all praises for PokerBaazi. “PokerBaazi pe sabse ache mujhe lagta hai Mobile HUD. The site gives provides a level playing field for amateurs and recreational players like us. Their TDS policy is good. At least they are offering some bonus on TDS deductions, unlike other websites.”

35-year-old Kushwaha hails from Bareilly, UP, where he completed his schooling and graduation before moving to Chennai to pursue a career as an Air Traffic Controller. He has been stationed in Chennai for the last eight years but has big plans ahead.

Reminiscing the early days of his poker story, Kushwaha shares, “2017 mujhe poker ke baare mein pata laga tha. Adda52 ke messages aate the. 5-6 mahine tak mujhe laga ke koi scam hai. Poker koi scam hota hai. Isme koi jeet hi nahi sakta. Mujhe mere ek friend ne bataya uska koi bhaiya hai and woh khel rahe hain. And he was crushing. Toh maine kaha chalo karte hain kuch aise hi hali baithe baithe. Main pehle 100-200 daale. Haar gaya. Aise karte karte lamba haara. 10,000-15,000 haara dheere dheere. Fir ek din ek tournament jeet gaya. 100 buy-in tha. 3,500 mile the mujhe. I felt very happy. Mujhe samajh mein nahi aaya ab kya karu with the 3,500. Fir maine socha ki yeh professional poker players kya hote hain? Fir main socha dheere dheere ye jeet gaye toh aue bhi jeet jayenge.

“Mere saath koi baat karne wala tha nahi poker ke baare mein. Na mere aas paas na kuch toh apne dimaag se hi jo chal raha tha karta gaya. 3,500 jeet hoon fir 2,200 tournament ki entry kar raha hoon. Usme do-teen hands jeet raha hoon toh feeling like a pro. Yehi karte karte I went into a downswing. Huge losses. Aise karte karte ek din Adda52 pe Maverick jeet gaya. After six months, I won this. I think it was around 81,000. Usse thode losses cover hue, he added, talking about his early poker days.

Abhishek Kushwaha Total Profit Graph
Abhishek Kushwaha’s Total Profit Graph


It was in 2020 that he realized a lot of studying goes into mastering the game and discovered the concept of bankroll management. Till this time, he was playing the game solely on his sense of intuition.

Later, he got in touch with Young Gun Anujkumar Kodam and took a few sessions to improve his game. These sessions helped him make more sense of the game. During this time, poker was banned in Tamil Nadu, pulling the brakes on Kushwaha’s poker journey.

Anujkumar Kodam
Anujkumar Kodam


On balancing his professional work and poker, Kushwaha says that as an Air Traffic Controller, he is on duty only for six hours. (Btw, did you know? To protect against fatigue, most air traffic controllers must take a half-hour break every 90 to 120 minutes. How cool is that?!) All of this allows him to comfortably play poker three days a week, and he tries squeezing in six tournaments a week.

Moreover, Kushwaha considers the pandemic a blessing in disguise for him as it allowed him to stay home and spend time with his family. The only downside was that he was locked up at home with nowhere to go.

To conclude, he shares with us his poker aspiration, “My one big wish is to win PokerBaazi’s EndBoss.”

We are sure that with the efforts he puts in for the game, this wish does not seem far-fetched.

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