Monday Motivation With Amit Kaushik – The Poker Streamer Extraordinaire

Monday Motivation With Amit Kaushik
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis May 9, 2022

Bringing us a king-size dose of motivation this week is the inspiring poker story of Amit Kaushik! The 27-year-old is someone we have frequently featured in our ‘Daily Majors’ and ‘Sunday Online Railbird Reports.’ Given that the online reg has already won 13 titles in 2022, it’s hardly surprising.

Hailing from Kurukshetra, Haryana, Kaushik is currently based in Noida. A postgraduate in Applied Mathematics from IIT Roorkee, he began playing poker during his college days. By July 2020, he decided to break away from his corporate career to play poker full-time. With ₹3.32 Crores in tracked online winnings (₹1.25 Crores in corresponding profits), we’d say it wasn’t a wrong decision.

Amit Kaushik
Amit Kaushik

 

While his online MTT exploits are well-known, his poker streams are even more popular among the poker community. Interestingly, Kaushik has a penchant for winning tournaments while streaming and claims that streaming makes him play better.

A mostly mid-stakes grinder, Kaushik has climbed up the stakes fast! Already his poker resume is littered with numerous marquee titles like Spartan Poker’s Sunday Superstack, Adda52’s Nano Main Event, and Godfather and PokerBaazi’s BSS#4 SuperStack. While talking about the secret behind his impressive form, Kaushik revealed his aim to be in the top 10 online rankings is what gave him the determination to do well consistently. He is currently ranked 12th in annual winnings and 15th in net profits; he is within touching distance of realizing his goal.

But wait, if you thought that Kaushik’s poker prowess was limited to just the virtual felts, then think again. Last month, he clinched his career-first live title in the Deltin Poker Tournament ₹15K Bounty event!

With goals of wanting to travel and play more live poker, he will be one of the players to watch out for at live events and hopefully even make it to the upcoming IPC Megastacks in Nepal.

 

Secret to Success

Kaushik has been a consistent winner over the past few months. With 15 title wins already under his belt, he is one of the 20-odd players on our tracked database with over ₹1 Crore in annual MTT winnings.

Amit Kaushik - Total Profit Graph
Amit Kaushik – MTT Profit Graph

 

Sharing the secret behind his success, Kaushik revealed, “Till last year, I didn’t have any particular goals that I had wanted to achieve. So, when this year started and IOPC was also announced, I thought that I wanted to try my best to finish as many tournaments as I could this year. I don’t play many High Rollers. But I was trying to grind everything that I could. My goal was to finish in the top 10 (in the annual rankings) this year. Right now, I am slightly behind. But I hope I will reach the goal by the end of the year. ‘Abhi bhot time bacha hua hai.’ So, basically, I set the goal, and I am trying to grind as much as possible. I haven’t missed any series. I have grinded IOPC’s full schedule. I grinded APT and every other series. I took breaks, like smaller breaks, for 2-3 days and then again got back to grinding. But I never took long breaks. Even when I was playing live, I used to take small breaks. Either on my phone or back at the hotel or on my laptop. So, I told myself I have to grind, be disciplined, and be very serious about this. Now I want to achieve that goal, and I haven’t reached there. And if it goes well, then I’ll be very happy.”

 

Introduction to Poker and Turning Pro

Kaushik’s poker journey started in college by playing the game with friends. Once his interest in poker grew, he started watching ‘Poker After Dark’ on YouTube out of fascination. What began as an activity out of curiosity became a full-time profession once the global pandemic hit.

Amit with his friends
Amit Kaushik with his friends

 

“We used to play cards when we were in college, and we used to have a lot of free time. We didn’t play poker, just other card games. I was not one of those students who studied a lot in college. I was having fun. We used to play a lot of games, and when we started playing poker, it really attracted me. Then I started watching a show called ‘Poker After Dark,’ the old one. I think every poker player must have watched it. Even now, I watch it sometimes. So, when I saw these players playing and bluffing – players like Tom Dwan and Daniel Negreanu – they used to have a bunch of money in front of them. So, that made me think that you can make money while having fun and playing a game. Even then, it was just a thought in the back of my head. I wasn’t contemplating it. But I started playing for money, for a very small amount.”

Kaushik is the only one in his family to have worked in the corporate sector, and soon after graduating, he took up a high-paying job. However, once the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he decided to quit his job to do something on his own, and he found his calling in poker.

“Then I got a job. I played on the weekends. I played with friends. I really liked the game. But after COVID started, basically, I felt like I needed to get away from corporate. I wanted to do something of my own. If poker was not an option, I would have tried starting my own business. But I had poker, so I thought, let’s give it a try. So that’s how I started with poker. In July 2020, I turned professional, and since then, I have been playing poker full-time.”

 

Sticking to a Fixed Schedule & Grind Routine

Talking about his grind routine, Kaushik said, “My day usually starts in the afternoon. I wake up around 1 or 2 (PM). On days that I play a longer session the day before, I still try to keep with my fixed schedule. Because if I keep switching it, it can hamper my health. So, I usually wake up at around 12 to 1 (PM). After that, if there is any household work, then I’ll just finish it off in a couple of hours. Since I am an MTT player, I start my grind at around 6 or 7 (PM). Before that, if I get time, then I study a little bit. I try to study as much as possible when I have off days. But even that is kind of difficult when you are taking an off day because you want to go out and meet friends. I would say that I have not been very disciplined when it comes to studies. But I have played poker a lot, and in-game study is also important. You can definitely make a lot of things work. Like when you make notes from players. That’s also kind of a study itself. But the off-table study, I definitely need to do more.”

 

Memorable Poker Moments

Sharing his most cherished poker moments, Kaushik recalled, “I would say two instances. One was in 2018 when I was in Bangalore. I had left my job, and I was playing poker, but not very seriously. I was only used to playing small MTTs and cash games at that time. I got a free ticket to play Mega Suits in the first week of April through a promotion. So, the tournament started at 8 PM. When I opened the client at 9:30, I saw that I was already registered, and I had already been blinded down to like 7-8 big blinds. So, I just started playing, and I finished second in that tournament. And that was like my first kind of major score as well. And I will never forget that feeling. The first time I had won so much money. That was a lot of money for me and such a big tournament as well. So, that was definitely one of the best moments.”

“The second was during IOPC this year. There is a tournament called Blaze. I finished runner-up in that. So, that was also a big achievement.

 

The Live Streaming Live Wire

Poker streaming or vlogging has been trending for a few years now. Many players, both pros and newbies alike, have dabbled with it time and again. Kaushik, too, is a well-known poker streamer. But what sets him apart from the rest is his win rate while streaming.

Amit's Grinding Session
Amit’s Grinding Session

 

“I started streaming last year. It felt very cool. I watched a lot of people who stream. It looked really fun, especially when you interact with the chat while you stream. When you win something on stream, it is a really good feeling. So, I thought of giving it a try. So, my first stream itself was a tournament called The Endeavour that happens every Tuesday on PokerBaazi. It was my first stream, and I won that tournament. The chat was very shocked, and even I could not believe it. But it gave me confidence. When you start something new and get success, it gives you confidence. That’s when I thought I could stream regularly. I also feel that when I stream, I play better. It should not be the case. I give away a lot of things when I am streaming. I am giving away like how I play. People can watch that. But I don’t know; I feel more comfortable when I stream. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to make stupid mistakes in front of people. Maybe that’s the reason. But I feel very good when I stream.”

“When I stream, I feel more comfortable that I won’t be making stupid mistakes, and I really make those kinds of mistakes now. And even when people appreciate you and tell you that was a good call, there’s an appreciation. The confidence is always high, which helps the game as well. So definitely streaming does help,” he added.

When asked why he doesn’t show his face while streaming, Kaushik said, “I don’t do it to hide my tells. I am just being lazy. You have to do a lot of settings in the OBS. And I don’t get that much time. Whenever I get time, I’m just a lazy person. So it’s like a small thing.”

 

Dealing With Downswings

Kaushik had some solid advice on how to deal with a downswing, especially in MTTs.

“Downswings are definitely part of the game. Every player deals with it. You have to be like, really, really lucky never to have downswings. And in MTTs, the downswings are even more severe. Someone told me that this is the best way to deal with downswings; just lower your stakes and increase the volume. So, if you play like ₹5,500 buy-in MTTs, then start playing like ₹3,300 buy-ins and increase the number of tournaments you play. Toh downswing ka kya hota hai na, downswing mein your confidence gets very low. So you don’t know if you are running bad or you are playing bad. So, you’ll get confused ke which one is the reason for your downswing. When you are on a downswing, you don’t want to lose a lot of money. So when you lower the stakes, you are risking less money and giving yourself more chances to win a tournament. And the psychology is that when you win a tournament, it boosts your confidence a lot. It kind of makes you confident that you are playing the game correctly, just that you were having a bad run. When you play more tournaments, you’re giving yourself more chances to win.”

 

Winning His First Live Title at DPT Last Month

While we already know that Kaushik is a competent online MTT grinder, he proved his mettle on the live felts as well last month by taking down the Deltin Poker Tournament ₹15K Bounty in Goa for ₹5.57 Lakhs and his first live title!

Amit Kaushik receiving the trophy from Praveen Dwarkanath
Amit Kaushik receiving the DPT trophy from Praveen Dwarkanath

 

Talking about his win, Kaushik said, “Even I could not believe it. I have not played a lot of live tournaments. Online, on an average day, I end up playing like 10 to 12 tournaments. But in live (poker), the whole series, there are like five or six tournaments. The volume is very low, definitely. And to win a tournament, I have to get very lucky as well. I had a really good stack when there were like 13 or 14 people. I thought that I would definitely make the final table, then I would try to get into the top three, and I would try to win. But then one hand happened, and I was crippled. I got a bad beat, and I was down to 2 or 2.15 big blinds. From there, winning the tournament was unbelievable for me. And definitely, I ran very well. It is not possible to win a tournament in poker without running good. You have to play good, but you have to run good as well. And that feeling was really amazing.”

 

Adapting Between Online & Live Poker

Like many other players, Kaushik, too, has been primarily playing poker online, with the pandemic taking away the option of playing live poker. However, his recent win is proof that Kaushik can adapt his gameplay to offline events.

Disclosing how he could make the transition, Kaushik shared, “I had played live poker before, but I was playing cash games then. But the point is when you play live, you don’t want to give away reads easily because there are a lot of good live players who can read people really well. So, I had that kind of experience before. So, I knew that I won’t be giving away too many tells. But I might give away a few because I haven’t played live for a long time. I was mainly focusing on the game. I was comfortable playing live. I was not very worried about live stuff. I was able to focus on the game.”

Kaushik confirmed that he would be playing more live tournaments in the coming days. Though he wasn’t sure whether he would be attending the upcoming IPC Megastacks series in Nepal next week, he does want to participate in the series if circumstances permit.

 

Poker Role Models

Kaushik called Raise Your Edge founder and poker coach ‘Bencb’ to be his inspiration and the one who inspired him to take up poker streaming. He also shared that Young Gun`s Anuj Yadav and Gaurav Sood are his favorite player from the domestic circuit.

Anuj Yadav
Anuj Yadav

 

“So internationally, I think there are a few players that I like. So, there is a player, and he’s also a coach. He is a really good player, and he streams as well. I was inspired to stream because of him. He is Bencb. He is very famous. All poker players know him. I like the discipline that he has. He is very mindful. He does a lot of meditation, and he eats healthy. He does a lot of inspirational stuff.”

“Domestically, I would say Anuj Yadav is one of my favorite players. I don’t play all the High Rollers, but he does. I am really impressed by his game. I don’t know; there is something different that he does. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. That is very inspiring. And I also like Gaurav Sood. The kind of discipline he has is phenomenal.”

Gaurav Sood
Gaurav Sood

 

“There are a lot of other good players. When you play with good players, they motivate you to do better. You want to study more and get better because you play with those players. It’s motivating that everyone is working hard, everyone is studying, everyone has their groups, and everyone is improving. So, it motivates me to improve my game and get in the mix. And you play against such players, that’s really fun. And we should definitely have that kind of competition.”

 

Poker Goals & Lessons

Talking about his poker goals, Kaushik revealed, “I waited for the live circuit to open up. Poker gives you financial and personal freedom to travel and play from anywhere. I wanted to travel a lot, but because of COVID, it was not possible. Since live MTTs are back now, I want to travel as much as possible. I want to attend every series unless there is some emergency that I need to attend to. That is my goal; I want to travel a lot and play poker.”

Kaushik also shared how poker has helped him open up to people more. He says he used to be an introvert, but poker helped him overcome his inhibitions.

 

Advice to Newcomers

Kaushik highlights an interesting point of how many newcomers feel it’s easy to win in poker. He underlines the necessity to be mindful and disciplined while playing to ensure one doesn’t lose too much money.

“I remember when PokerBaazi was hosting the NPS, there were doing short interviews with players. This guy called Vinod Megalmani said something that I think is very true. He said, ‘Poker is not just a rich-making scheme; it can also be a poor-making scheme.’ This is something one should always keep in mind when deciding to get into poker. The attraction factor is money and freedom, but it’s not easy. You hear it so much that you start thinking that you’ll just start winning money if you start playing poker professionally. But that’s not the case. You can also lose a lot of money if you are not careful or disciplined. So, I would say to whoever is trying to play poker, be disciplined. Follow bankroll management. Study a lot. Improve your game. Poker is very difficult. You play your best game, and even then, you lose the session and lose a lot of money. So you have to be very mindful of that.”

With those wise words, Amit Kaushik signs off.

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