For today’s #ThrowbackThursday post, we caught up with India’s poker superwoman Nikita Luther. In a candid tête-à-tête, the WSOP bracelet winner recapped her year-long journey as a Spartan Poker Team Pro.
With over ₹2.50 Crores in live tournament winnings, Luther is easily one of the most prominent faces of the Indian poker circuit. Some of her notable wins include the Teams Event title she won at the Macau Poker Cup 26 in 2017, followed by her career-highlight Tag Team bracelet at the 2018 WSOP. She has FT-ed the WPT 500 Aria twice, including a second-place finish at the marquee event in 2019 for over ₹75 Lakhs.
Luther was onboarded by Spartan Poker as a Team Pro in June last year. And even though this was an exciting new collaboration, it wasn’t Luther’s first stint endorsing an online poker brand. She has previously been a part of the now-defunct Thrill Poker’s pro team before joining the ranks at Adda52 in 2016. Luther joining Spartan Poker was perhaps one of the most ideal amalgamations between a top-class poker pro and India’s leading online poker operator.
While in the past year, online poker has seen unprecedented growth, live poker took a setback. Luther revealed how her first year as a Spartan Poker Team Pro has been in the light of the global pandemic.
“It’s been a very good experience in the sense that it has been a motivating experience. But a not-so-good experience because of the pandemic I wasn’t able to do a lot of the things I had set out to do as a Spartan Poker Team Pro.”
Throwing light on how the pandemic has impacted online poker, the B.Com graduate from Delhi University said, “We are in an unprecedented situation, and in the first few months of the pandemic, the increase in traffic was nearly 300%. Friends I have been talking to from different professions and backgrounds were all just sitting at home with nothing to do except play poker. So, in that sense, a lot of recreational players got connected with the game and found a huge passion and enthusiasm for it. That was a big highlight because I could direct them to the right sources to become better poker players. Direct them to the high-value tournaments that Spartan Poker was holding and crushing the guarantees.”
Being one of India’s leading tournament-centric brands, Spartan Poker has been doling out one exciting online poker series after another. From introducing new series like the Final Table Series, Freezeout Master Series, and the Grand Poker Series to hosting record-shattering editions of the India Online Poker Championship, the brand has well and truly captured the attention of India’s poker playing masses.
Speaking of IOPC, with the 11th edition just around the corner, Luther shared her excitement about the upcoming series.
“IOPC always endeavors to be a very glamourous, cool tournament series. Compared to anything else in the country, it is very unique. You have these diamond-studded broaches and medallions and international commentators like Maria Ho & Kevin Macphee. They really go larger than life. It’s so exciting to be a part of something so amazing and global!”
A self-proclaimed math nerd, the 30-year-old finds studying poker far more attractive than earning a livelihood from it. “Trying to solve the game and the challenge of studying the game, that is almost as exciting to me as playing the game and making money.”
Being a dedicated student of the game, Luther has hosted several educational webinars in the past year, including one with renowned international poker coach Bencb. Last November, she became one of the first Indian poker personalities to give a TEDx Talk at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in Kolkata.
Coming out on top as one of the leading names in a male-dominated industry is not an easy feat to achieve. Luther proved that she is as good as (if not better) than any of the top male poker pros; she is also constantly trying to encourage other up-and-coming female players in the circuit.
“I also run a group called the ‘Tigresses.’ We are a group of 20-25 women who take an active interest in studying the game and getting better. We are always railing and supporting each other.”
Nikita Luther truly deserves the title of India`s Poker Superwoman, and we wish her all the best for the upcoming IOPC and WSOP 2021!