Monday Motivation With Gopal Bajaj – Winner of Spartan Poker’s Sunday Sundowner

Monday Motivation with Gopal Bajaj
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis April 19, 2022

Moving up the motivation quotient this week is the inspiring poker story of one of the newest online crushers on the block, Gopal Bajaj! The 22-year-old has been wreaking havoc on the virtual felts this year, having already won 15 titles in 2022.

The upcoming poker star has been crushing the mid-stakes MTTs, but his results in the flagship tournaments are also encouraging! He has final-tabled numerous marquees like Spartan Poker’s IOPC #100 – Friday Spotlight and the Destiny. However, he seems to have an affinity for winning Spartan Poker’s Sundowner – he won the evening tournament four times already and clinched his biggest score in the event this past Sunday, winning the Sunday Sundowner for ₹1.92 Lakhs!

Gopal Bajaj
Gopal Bajaj

 

Hailing from Latur in Maharashtra, Bajaj’s poker journey began while he was still pursuing his B.Engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune, under the guidance of his brother, who happens to be one of the most promising MTT players in the country, PokerGuru Ambassador Vishal Bajaj.

Vishal Bajaj
Vishal Bajaj

 

Gopal has been working diligently on his game under the able mentorship of his brother, and his results these last six months are proof enough of their joint efforts. Gopal Bajaj has accumulated ₹1.67 Crores in MTT winnings in just a short span with ₹43 Lakhs in net profits.

Gopal Bajaj - Total Profit Graph
Gopal Bajaj – Total Profit Graph

 

Currently completing his final semester, Bajaj juggles his college studies, internship, and poker simultaneously. Despite his young age, Bajaj is astute enough not to mix up his work life with poker and has a set schedule he follows!

Gopal was grounded enough to share that he was not yet ready to play live poker and the higher stakes even after his newfound success. But he is playing the online satellites for the upcoming IPC Megastacks and confirmed that if he wins a package, he will surely make his way to Nepal.

 

Winning the Sunday Sundowner

Having won the Sundowner title three times before, Bajaj seems to have made a habit of shipping the evening tournament on Spartan Poker. His most recent win came in the ₹8 Lakhs GTD Sunday Sundowner this past Sunday when he outlasted 251 opponents, including the former The Millionaire champion Rishab Malik (2nd for ₹1.30 Lakhs), clinching his fourth Sundowner title and a handsome ₹1.92 Lakhs in prize money.

Rishab Malik
Rishab Malik

 

Discussing his Sunday grind, Bajaj revealed, “I’ve been pretty comfortable in the mid-stakes. I was not good a couple of months back, but I’m getting really good at the mid-stakes. I’m still trying at the high stakes, but I’m not comfortable yet. And talking about the Sunday grind, I mostly start a Sunday grind around like three or four (PM), playing with satellites and all. But last Sunday was going to be a long one. I had a day 2 at two in the morning. So I just planned to start my regular grind at around eight or nine. So, I started late this Sunday. Suddenly five to six tables started simultaneously. So it was fun, though. The Sundowner one was a side table. I just keep it on the side. And just kept stacking up. And I got it in the end quite comfortably.”

 

Introduction to Poker

Much like his brother, PokerGuru Ambassador Vishal Bajaj, Bajaj was introduced to poker in college when he was in his second year of engineering at VIT, Pune. However, he knew of the game since his brother Vishal was already a semi-professional player by the time he was introduced to the game.

Gopal with college friends
Gopal with college friends

 

“I was introduced to the game in the second year of my engineering degree. Actually, I knew about it because my brother was a semi-professional player at that time. So, I knew what poker was, but I was not interested in getting into it. But I’ve seen my brother playing, and then his friends taught me how the game works, how to play. So, I started playing with friends and then moving to the online site, playing those freerolls. And I remember playing the ₹10 and ₹25 buy-in tournaments that we used to play for fun once a day. But things changed when the lockdown happened, and I came back home where my brother was playing. And from then, there was nothing to do during the lockdown. Everyone was free, right? So he just taught me. I used to sit with him the whole night, seeing his final table and how he played. He used to teach me the small stuff. Like how 3-bet works, how raises work, and what ranges are. He taught me all the fundamentals.”

 

Secret to Success

While Bajaj has been playing poker for about two years, he started to take the game more seriously only in the last six months, with his focus shifting to studying the game more than simply playing it for fun.

“What I have observed is that for the last six months I have been studying and since then the graph has been on the rise. And before that, I was just used to playing for fun. Just play at night and then go to sleep. But I’m trying to put more effort into the study part of the game. And that, I think, has been bringing the results.”

 

Learning From the Best

Having a brother like Vishal has been a boon for Gopal Bajaj. The former WPT India High Roller champion has the potential to become of India’s biggest MTT crushers, according to his coaches and teammates at PokerGuru Staking. So, Bajaj’s meteoric success is hardly unfathomable, given that he is learning from the best.

Vishal and Gopal Bajaj
Vishal and Gopal Bajaj

 

“Whatever I am right now in poker, it’s all because of him. He has taught me from zero to like level ten out of 100 something. But whatever it is, it’s because of him. I do share my hand history with him. We discuss hands, and it’s great getting insights from him, how he thinks of the game, and that really motivates me to go on that level and think how he works on improving his game.”

 

Finding the Study-Work-Poker Balance

With two months left in his final semester, Bajaj is currently pursuing an internship while playing poker as a semi-professional. Talking about how he balances it all, he said, “Actually, this is my last semester of college, and I’m doing an internship at the company, so I do most of my work before 3 (PM). Then I’ve got like 3 hours for myself to study or whatever I want to do. And then, from the night, the grind starts, so I just don’t mix up my work life with poker. I do that separately.”

 

“It’s hectic. I have to work the whole day, and I get only two to three hours for myself. But you have to do it. I’m done with the engineering. I will complete my degree in the next two months. I’ll work on the corporate side for a year and think about what to do in the future. But for now, I am playing poker semi-professionally and as a passion,” shared Bajaj about his future plans.

 

Memorable Poker Moments

Sharing his most memorable poker moment, Bajaj said, “Just six months ago, when I came back to my hometown, I was bankrupt. I had like ₹8,000 or ₹10,000 from poker, and I lost all the money within a week or two. I only had like ₹1,500 or ₹2,000 left on a Sunday. The only tournament I played was the Sunday Storm, which had a ₹550 buy-in. I fired four bullets, and luckily I won that event. And after that, there has been no looking back.”

 

Playing Live MTTs

Even after churning out consistent results in the mid-stakes online tournaments, Bajaj feels he has a long way to go before taking a shot at competing against the regs at the higher stakes in live MTTs.

“I feel like I’m not ready yet to play on the online sites at the high stakes, but I’m definitely preparing myself for that. My next six months would be mostly focusing on the study part rather than increasing the volumes and playing live. But definitely, I’m playing those satellites to IPC. If I get one, I’ll be good then.”

 

Poker Lessons

Discussing the valuable lessons he has learned from poker, Bajaj said, “Poker has really taught me to be consistent. I’m not good at other sports. I guess I was lacking in all sports, and this is the only sport I am getting good at. So it motivates me. And the consistency part comes from playing every day. You have to show up every day on the felts. And that’s the reason you keep winning. And that was one of the most important lessons, but I’ve learned a lot. Consistency is the only thing which will take you ahead,”

We wish the upcoming poker star Gopal Bajaj all the best and hope to see him win more titles in the future!

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