In this week`s #WomeninPoker feature, we have with us the vibrant and independent Farheen Poonawala, the marketing manager at PokerBaazi.
In the last few years that Farheen has served with the fast-growing poker company, she has handled various responsibilities. From managing the marketing affairs to handling client servicing and player relations, she has done it all to ensure the brand gives its stakeholders an unmatched experience. Her spirit of getting the job done at all costs and the will to handle challenging situations with a smile has seen her add value to the company’s growth and success.
But this 29-years old Mumbaikar, who currently lives in Gurgaon, really put her best foot forward working behind the scenes at the recently concluded National Poker Series. The PokerBaazi team had been preparing to launch the series as a live event last year, but those plans got postponed because of the pandemic. The NPS recently made its digital debut at PokerBaazi, setting a new benchmark in the industry. And Farheen was at the forefront of backend operations alongside a team of Baazigars, making sure things were nothing less than perfect.
Farheen has not won her skill set on a platter but rather earned it. She completed her Bachelors in Banking & Insurance from Malini Kishor Sanghvi College of Commerce & Economics and was among the toppers in her course. Farheen subsequently added a Masters in Management degree from the University of Mumbai to her shoulders.
She was introduced to the world of poker and all its charms and nuances during GPL India. Farheen was working with the e-sports and event management company Nodwin Gaming at the time. Talking about her experiences, she says, “During GPL India, we were struck by the monsoons. Suddenly, we had to conduct the qualifiers in 72 hours, there were 60 players, and it was a huge challenge getting that kind of logistics, travel, and everything in place. But the team involved literally did not sleep for 72 hours, and when I look back, it was a huge learning experience!”
Farheen later moved to PokerBaazi, where she works as a Marketing Manager, looked into client servicing and handled player relations, and managed backend support for the brand’s flagship Baazi Poker Tour other offline events.
This is why she holds the time when she first joined PokerBaazi and was assigned to the comeback series of the BPT as another memorable experience. “I was new to the industry, I was new to the environment, I had to understand the guarantees, how people are crushing, the passion that people were carrying. The Baazi Poker Tour was happening after a hiatus of three years, and I had the zest to perform well and assist and solve player queries. With a series that carries on continues for days, you want to keep that energy on. You have to hide all the chaos that may happen in the backend. I think we performed extremely well to pull off the show. This was my event with PokerBaazi, so it will remain close to my heart.”
The National Poker Series is so close to Farheen’s heart since she poured her energy and mind into the process like other team members. “We started preparing for the NPS last year, but then we were hit by the pandemic. So, NPS became our own baby. The testimonials happened in 2020. Hence, preparations started long before. The idea was to create a platform and motivate people to play poker, give them a sportified feel.”
Today, having seen the industry up close and personal, Farheen feels very enthused to see the growing number of women playing poker and the exponential manner in which the game has grown in just the past few years.
“Poker is a mind sport, where you see men and women playing on the same table. Women are breaking the stereotypes in the industry, not only on the felts. We’re establishing ourselves even in the backend. Things have progressed so much, so I’d like to call out to the women out there to come, join and be part of the industry!”
Well said, Farheen. Keep rocking! It is inspiring to see women like you push past your barriers and evolve.