This Sunday’s FTS #5 Saturday Special champion on Spartan Poker, Manash Kalita, brings us the weekly dose of motivation! The 26-year-old overcame a stacked final table to win the FTS Gold Medallion and an impressive ₹7.80 Lakhs payday.
Kalita had trounced a field of 498 entries to make it to the eight-handed final table on Saturday. The final table resumed play on Sunday evening, and after nearly two hours of play, Kalita defeated PokerGuru Ambassador Mithun Mahesh en-route to winning his first-ever FTS title.
Talking about Day 1 run in the FTS Saturday Special, Kalita said, “I am usually someone who likes to play deep stack structure, and FTS was one such deep structured tournament. I was initially not very bothered by the players. But when about 30 people were remaining, I was a little cautious. I was going through a bit of pressure because you see all the names and big regs. You have to compete against them. So, I was a little cautious, but then I just kept my calm. I didn’t let myself get bothered by who I was playing against.”
Sharing his strategy for the FTS Saturday Special final table, Kalita stated, “When the final table began, I was one of the short stacks. I was fifth of eight, and I had 17 big blinds to start off with. My strategy was quite simple. Initially, I had to play tight because of the ICM spots. I was just basically looking for a double-up. I know that if I could build up a stack once, then probably I could get involved and play a few post-flop hands.”
Talking about facing off against the start-of-the-final table chip leader, Young Gun Arsh Grover, Kalita relayed, “I have played with Arsh (Grover) before. Obviously, he is one of the best, alongside ‘Zima’ (Mithun Mahesh). Both of them were really good. I was initially scared since I did not have a good stack. But gradually, it went on. Since I started playing post-flop, I was fine. I gained a bit of confidence once I was able to build up a stack. I would say it was a bit of a cooler hand between Arsh and me. He woke up with pocket eights which is a pretty strong hand three-handed. I had Jacks. It was something that either of us couldn’t avoid in that situation.”
“I would have to say I had a slight advantage because I had 3:1 chip lead against him (Mithun Mahesh). I really tried to keep him under pressure by not giving him enough chips. There were basically two-three hands that actually turned around. He had a huge hand, but the cards were in my favor. So, it turned out pretty well,” he said, recapping his heads-up match against Mithun Mahesh.
An up-and-coming player in the domestic circuit, Kalita started playing poker while completing his BBA in Finance.
Speaking of his initiation in poker, Kalita shared, “How I got involved with the game was during my college days. My roommate used to watch a lot of videos of WSOP. I used to watch videos along with him and used to play Zynga Poker like everybody does. That’s the basic where everybody starts.”
Elaborating further, Kalita added, “There were a lot of poker clubs in Bangalore during those days. I got introduced to one of those clubs by a friend of mine. Then we went on to play. I started off by playing cash games. Cash used to be okay. Like I was able to make some small amount of pocket money during my college days. So, that’s how it used to be. After college, I worked for a while and playing poker on the side. Mostly cash games. I was very keen on improving myself and making this a long-term thing. Just because I did not make some money today does not mean the end of the world. So, you have both good days and bad days. I have learned from the bad days quite a lot. I realized that I would need a little bit of stability during my poker journey. That is when I decided to shift to tournaments.”
“After shifting, I had to look for motivations from people like Gaurav Sood, Arsh Grover, and many other people. Looking up to these people. How are they managed? How much money have they put in? How have they studied? These kinds of things actually help you to improve while also inspiring and motivating you at the same time.”
For someone who has been playing the game professionally for two-and-a-half years now, the Bengaluru-based player is not doing bad in tournaments. In a relatively short span, Kalita has worked up ₹54.50 Lakhs in online winnings with ₹13.46 Lakhs in profits. He has numerous live tournament cashes to his name as well, aggregating to ₹11.61 Lakhs.
Kalita’s outlook on enhancing his gameplay is genuinely inspiring, making him a player to watch for at the tables!