Coming this week to inspire us is Atishay Samuel! The young lad has been in stellar form this week. He started out by championing PokerStars India’s ₹18 Lakhs GTD Sunday Special PKO for a super cool ₹3 Lakhs! Fighting his way through a field of almost 300 players for eight hours, he made his way to the top to win the event – his second time doing so. He had previously won the event in 2019, scoring a personal-best ₹4.53 Lakhs.
But wait! That’s not all! Just two days later, Samuel added yet another title to his tally, winning Spartan Poker’s Mega Stack – Millionaire Bubble for ₹3.15 Lakhs. Besides his title wins, Samuel also FT-ed two more events on Sunday and currently boasts of ₹1.22 Crores in recorded online winnings and ₹39.30 Lakhs in corresponding profits!
Talking about his run in PokerStars India`s Sunday Special PKO, Samuel explained how as a tight and not-so-aggressive player, he found himself in a field mostly filled with mellow players. This helped him battle his way and see himself as a chip leader and, soon enough, the winner of the event.
By the looks of it, an introvert, Samuel confesses that even though he stays in Goa, he prefers to stay at home and play poker online than attend parties.
Wondering how he got into poker? Well, the story begins with another mind sport, chess. Samuel was deeply interested in chess and climbed the ranks as a kid but hit the ceiling after some time. He made the hard decision to give up the game when he understood he could not improve further. He was 16 years old when a friend shared a link to play Zynga Poker, and he was instantly hooked to the game.
Samuel was raking in millions of play money chips daily, and before long, the thought of playing with real money crossed his mind, considering how good he was at the game. Back then, as he was residing in Bengaluru and the city was mushrooming with poker clubs, Samuel would play poker at these clubs with a buy-in of ₹5,000. All of 16, Samuel funded his live poker aspirations all by himself and even took up a job as a cleaner in an office to fuel his poker bankroll. It took him three months to figure out how real money gaming is so much more different than dabbling with play money. After three months of losses, he found himself on a winning streak and got the confidence to quit his job.
He pursued BBA for his graduation as a backup but continued to play poker on the side and built a bankroll which helped him make a shift to tournaments. All was going well for Samuel until the pandemic hit, and he was forced to play online poker. This surprisingly turned out to be great for him.
The turning point of his poker career came in March 2019, when he won the Sunday Special PKO on PokerStars India for the first time. He narrated the story to us, “One day while I was playing online and had a bare minimum bankroll, I joined an event on PokerBaazi where I came second and won almost ₹6K. This helped me climb the stakes, and I played another tournament where I won ₹19K! I was thrilled, and right then, I noticed that PokerStars India had the Sunday Special event running for a buy-in worth ₹5.50K! I was nervous and wouldn’t have joined, but as I was with a few friends of mine, they pushed me for it, and at the end of it, I saw myself as the winner of the event, along with a massive payout of ₹4.50 Lakhs! I stared at the screen in disbelief for close to 20 mins! This win rocketed my poker career, and I was able to travel to different cities to play. I was also able to take up online courses and signed up for Raise Your Edge, which helped me improve my game.”
A self-learner through and through, Samuel distances himself from using HUDs as he feels it makes a player lazy as all the data is provided with minimum effort. Samuel tries to analyze each player and adds his insights personally. He also examines his hand history all by himself. Though he doesn’t have any coaches or mentors, he believes in keeping the right mindset to play the game.
Cheers to Atishay Samuel and his success at the poker felts which sets an excellent example for players who can believe in themselves and play the game without a mentor or other tools. It shows how all we need is hard work and determination, and success will follow through!