This past Sunday was fateful for Sanat Mehrotra. The 29-year-old player topped a 225-strong field in the ₹25 Lakhs GTD Adda52 Millions to score a ₹6.63 Lakhs payday. The IIT and IIM alumni cashed another five Sunday flagships, adding ₹7.71 Lakhs to his online poker bankroll. Speaking of bankroll, Mehrotra’s smashing Sunday run pushed him into the prestigious ‘₹7 Crore Club’, earning him a Super Achiever badge!!
“It feels like an achievement,” Mehrotra said, adding – “Having said that, I have always said that cashes in themselves are not the only way to judge a poker player. For me, metrics like ROI or profit would be slightly higher in judging a poker player. But just the chance to play poker every day for a living is a dream. I love poker, and I love studying the game and succeeding at it. I am very thankful and full of gratitude that I am in this position today!!”
It was the Gurgaon-based player’s second time winning the Adda52 Millions. He had previously won the event last April for ₹6.68 Lakhs. In October, the same year, Mehrotra won the ₹1 Crore GTD Full House Finale for ₹25 Lakhs – his career-best finish to date.
For Mehrotra, the Full House Finale victory is memorable. “It was my biggest cash. My game wasn’t so great at that time, but it felt special winning it.”
Sanat Mehrotra’s key achievements include:
💎 Largest Online Score: ₹25 Lakhs 💸
💎 Lifetime Online Winnings – ₹7.02 Crores
💎 Lifetime Online Profits – ₹2.53 Crores
💎 Annual Winnings (2021): ₹2.92 Crores (so far)
💎 Annual Profits (2021): ₹71.07 Lakhs (so far)
💎 Recorded Winnings on @The Spartan Poker: ₹45.78 Lakhs 💸
💎 Recorded Winnings on @PokerBaazi: ₹1.52 Crores 💸
💎 Recorded Winnings on@Adda52: ₹2.75 Crores 💸
💎 Recorded Winnings on @PokerStars India: ₹55.34 Lakhs 💸
His experience playing the 2020 India Poker Championship in Goa is another memorable poker milestone for Mehrotra. He admits it changed his outlook towards poker and pushed him to take the game more seriously. “My real poker journey began when I played the IPC about two years back in Goa. I was primarily a cash game player, but I took part in this tournament, and luck boxed my way to the FT. I met a lot of poker professionals, and after the tournament got over, Devang Yadav, who won the event, called us to his room. I was listening to everyone. The terminology they were using was very new to me. They talked of it in terms of a sport, coaches, data. I always took it as a hobby. It fascinated me. I credit taking the plunge in the poker world to the Goa trip.”
As for his poker journey, Mehrotra shared he has been playing poker since his undergrad days at IIT. Like most poker players, he started playing with his hostel-mates for fun. His fascination for the game continued even as he went on to add an MBA degree from the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad to his resume. Poker was just a big hobby. But like Mehrotra said, all that changed after he attended the 2020 IPC in Goa.
“I did well at the IPC ME. Poker wise I was mediocre then, but the feel of it, but getting close to the top spot is very thrilling in a live poker tournament.”
But for all the excitement of live poker, online poker is where Mehrotra has polished his skills over the past one-and-half years. “I really enjoy all the Sundays. You get the feeling that you’re stepping into the battle. Every aspect of your poker skills is tested, managing so many tables, etc. I enjoy my Sunday grind. It’s a great source of fun and intellectual challenge to me.”
The COVID lockdown gave Mehrotra a lot of time to explore poker. “I always say that if you have the personality and the mindset for it, it is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Yes, playing poker comes with its own challenges.”
Talking about what motivated him to improve, Mehrotra said – “There are a lot of courses in the market. I have followed games of some of the best Indian players, Gaurav Sood and Sreeharsha Doddapaneni.”
Most poker players’ lockdown months were hectic, but Mehrotra`s schedule has mellowed slightly in recent months. He is usually on the grind five days a week, taking a break mid-week. Saturdays are usually a full off for him when he likes to devote time to his other favorite sport – Footfall. “Once in two-three months, I take a complete break of 8-10 days, go for treks, long hikes. On weekends I watch a lot of football. Currently, I’m ranked in the top 1,500 in Fantasy football. Saturdays are also when I socialize with the real world.”
For the past one-and-half years, he has been chiefly grinding on Indian websites. “Today, I feel that my game is definitely much better than what it was when I went to Goa, but I hope to improve it much further,” he adds pragmatically.
Mehrotra takes poker study very seriously, and it involves three aspects. He reviews his previous day’s play, usually his Sunday session, which he records using a screen recorder. He also watches a lot of poker content, and then there are courses. Some of the poker content is free to watch, and according to Mehrotra, the GGPoker Super Millions stream is a great watch. It is like a TV program for poker players. Courses are different, and he suggests players should not rush through a course since it takes time to understand a concept.
The third aspect involves a lot of self-work. “A lot of study is preflop today. A lot of decisions that will make you the most amount of money will be 20 BB – 30 BB spots, and in these spots, preflop is kind of very critical, so studying them using HRC/ ICMiser or whatever software you want to use is important.”
His Sunday schedule is wholly attuned to the long hours he plans to put in. He wakes up late and follows the news, cryptocurrency updates, etc., before spending nearly an hour reviewing his previous day`s play.
“Usually, I try to try to study something, some spots to cover, and then an hour or 1.5 hours of some sort of fitness – running, lifting, etc.” Starting at 8 PM, his Sunday run usually goes on until 6.30 – 7 AM in the morning.
What about downswings? “I have been on several mini downswings, so initially speaking to other pros help me a lot,” Mehrotra informs us, sharing he talks to Shardul Parthasarathi a lot.
Otherwise, he simply chooses to take a break. “With every kind of big poker moment in the game, it sort of builds up over time. I step out into the external world and take off to the mountains when it does. That helps a lot.”
Getting back, Mehrotra dives back into studying. “Poker is a very mathematical and scientific game, but at a higher level, it’s an art. You have to feel creative. Many online domestic players adopt extremely different styles, and when they do something different, it throws pros off guard.”
Every poker player’s dream is a trip to Las Vegas to play the WSOP, and Mehrotra plans to apply for a US visa next month. Mehrotra hinted that if he gets the visa and manages to maintain a sturdy bankroll by May, he could very likely be a part of the Indian contingent at the 2022 WSOP!
The up-and-coming talent is currently busy working on his game. He finds the likes of Sreeharsha Doddapaneni, Gaurav Sood, and Anuj Yadav truly inspiring for their sheer consistency and skills. “I look up to Gaurav Sood for his consistency. Anuj is very creative as a player. I find his strategies fascinating since they are off the norm. He’s not going to play simply as the charts advise.”
For the young go-getter who has achieved so much in such less time, there’s no long-term poker goal he can pin his thoughts on. His immediate plan is to improve the game, not hitting new milestones with online cashes, but playing better every day.
A big shoutout to Sanat Mehrotra and his passion for the game!