The Asia Poker Tour Online Series India made a smashing return on PokerBaazi last night, and as expected, we saw many few big names chasing down big-ticket events during the series.
This Monday, we have with us Vinayak Bajaj driving within us some much desired #MondayMotivation after winning the series-opener ₹20 Lakhs GTD APT#1 Kickoff for ₹3.93 Lakhs. Adding to his winning spree, Bajaj made ITM finishes in six more events to pad his bankroll by a hefty ₹9.82 Lakhs. After a 13 hour grind, the champion, in a video conversation, talks us through his win, his plans, and all things poker.
28-year-old Bajaj hails from and resides in Ranchi and has completed his schooling from Ajmer before completing his MSc. in Chemistry from IIT Kharagpur. He is a full-time professional and simultaneously lends a hand to his family business.
This card shark has racked up over ₹4.55 Crores in lifetime online winnings and an impressive ₹1.46 Crores in net profits in his short poker career!
Bajaj started playing poker with his friends in college, where he found his footing and developed an interest in the game. He continued to play online poker after college, and that’s when he discovered the entire gamut of the poker ecosystem in India.
In 2017, during Season 1 of the Poker Sports League, he dedicated his efforts to secure his spot through the online qualifiers and came across and interacted with some of the top poker pros. Soon after, he also joined a poker stable, where he found some much-needed guidance from mentors- a learning experience he considers irreplaceable.
Talking about the routine during the lockdown, he says, “Online poker definitely has boomed, as everyone was cooped up in their homes. Personally, I had more time to study the game and put in more volume. I also focussed on implementing changes to my lifestyle – paying attention to healthy eating and working out, which is something a lot of players fail to concentrate on.”
Bajaj, who has championed many events over the past few years, believes that while scores matter, what gives him an additional dose of rush or, should we say motivation, is getting his hands on the silverware – medals or trophies and physical mementos that he cherishes. In fact, Bajaj has over 41 titles to his name! One of his favorites series is the recently concluded National Poker Series, where he clinched a silver and bronze medal!
Talking about what goes behind acing such tournaments, he says, “The key lies in the learning process. A mentor is definitely beneficial, and you also need to devote enough time to studying the game. You might be good and still not be winning or be bad and still be winning. A mentor’s guidance definitely comes to the rescue in helping you identify areas of improvement which are not always possible to do all by yourself.”
Moving on to discussing his plans for the game, he shares, “I have nothing specific in terms of long or short-term plans except that I aim to play regularly. My immediate plans are more inclined towards learning the game. Right now, it’s not result-oriented but process-oriented, where the idea is to improve the game. I don’t plan on playing the WSOP this year, but maybe next year I will give it a thought.”
Talking about who inspires him, Bajaj sums it up by saying that though there are many outstanding players out there whose performances inspire him, he believes that God helps those who help themselves. He also mentions that speaking to other pros, understanding their thought process and routines really helps improve his gameplay. There are also study groups that he regularly engages with, which is immensely helpful.
Here’s wishing Bajaj a super successful grind at the virtual felts! With the consistency and grit he showcases at the table, we are sure to hear about more of his conquests in the future!