April 19 was a red-letter day for Indian poker when the country’s biggest online tournament, PokerBaazi’s ₹5 Crores GTD EndBoss crowned a champion in Abhishek Maheshwari! The 28-year-old recreational player banked a life-altering ₹1 Crore payday, becoming the first Indian to win an eight-figure MTT payout on a domestic site.
And to celebrate its seventh anniversary month, PokerBaazi is bringing back the mother of all MTT tournaments for a second outing after a nearly 18-month-long hiatus from October 20 to 24. The five-day-long EndBoss 2021 again features a ₹5 Crore prize pool guarantee at an entry buy-in of ₹11,000. The only change this time around is an extra starting flight – there are now five flights to get in on the action.
So, while we wait with bated breath for this incredible tournament to return to PokerBaazi, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and relive the excitement of the inaugural EndBoss with the first-ever EndBoss champion, Abhishek Maheshwari.
Maheshwari’s EndBoss victory was the stuff of legends. The Pune-based player had won his seat in the EndBoss through a ₹1K (10 seats GTD) satellite to Day 1D. Incredibly, the 28-year-old got the satellite ticket as a bonus for making a deposit of ₹5K on the site. The rest, as they say, is history as the recreational player went on to ship the event to bag the single-biggest payout in Indian poker history.
The B.Tech graduate from Pune University has been dabbling with poker since his high school days. He was introduced to the game by one of his juniors, and his poker journey began by playing small house games. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he joined his family business, overseeing the manufacturing and marketing divisions.
Winning the EndBoss was a massive boost not just to Maheshwari’s bankroll but also his confidence as a poker player. Even though he still plays the game recreationally, he has started taking poker more seriously.
Talking about the significance of this win, Maheshwari said, “I can’t even say that it’s like a dream come true because I had not even dreamt of it. But it was huge for me. Life has changed completely after that. My confidence had boosted so much after that. I can put in more hours to playing poker and learning the game. Taking it more seriously.”
The first-ever EndBoss logged in a whopping 5,847 entries, and given its magnitude, it brought in all the big guns. The final table was a reg-fest comprising accomplished players like Young Gun Neel Joshi (2nd for ₹65.01 Lakhs), Romit Advani (3rd for ₹40,05 Lakhs), Aditya Kesharwani (4th for ₹26.54 Lakhs) and Rishab Malik (5th for ₹19.35 Lakhs).
When asked who he feels were the most formidable contenders for the EndBoss 2021 title, Maheshwari said, “There are many players. Of course, I will be defending my title. There are a few players that I will look out for, like Neel Joshi, Gaurav Sood, and Mohammad Azhar, who performed really well in the NPS series. So, I’ll be looking out for all of them.”
Given the exponential growth of online poker in India over the past year, the expectations from EndBoss 2021 are huge, especially given the resounding success of the other PokerBaazi marquees like the National Poker Series and the Asian Poker Tour Online India. Reiterating the sentiment, Maheshwari also said, “I think this year it’s going to be even bigger, and the prize pool is going to cross ₹6 Crores.”
Talking about the opportunities that EndBoss gives to players, Maheshwari said, “It’s just the kind of opportunity where you get to make big money. Even if you come in the top 50, you definitely make ₹1 Lakh. So, there is huge money involved. It is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to boost up their bankroll. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play EndBoss.”
To play a mega tournament like EndBoss requires a disciplined mindset. Harping on this point, Maheshwari said, “What I realized after the EndBoss is that discipline really matters. This I had seen after the EndBoss also when there were times that I was not in the right state of mind to play some tournaments. But because of the opportunity, I still went to those tournaments and did not see any results. I realized that I was really disciplined during the time of EndBoss, and I was in the correct state of mind to play the EndBoss. So, this time also, I am going to do the same where I meditate and prepare myself and play with a certain discipline.”
There can be no doubt that EndBoss 2021 is going to be another record-breaking event. We wish Abhishek Maheshwari and everyone else playing the event all the best!