With Diwali right around the corner, people are getting ready to brush up on their poker skills. While teen patti is an integral part of Diwali celebrations in may parts of India, Poker, has picked up among people. It is still a niche pursuit, but court judgements legalising the game in certain states has managed to widen the player base.
Interestingly, the tradition of gambling stems from a legend in which Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiva on the fourth day of Diwali and won. The Goddess then declared that anyone who gambled on Diwali night would always prosper. Some Hindus believe Lakshmi the goddess of prosperity is invoked through gambling.
Speaking to this correspondent, international Poker star Aditya Agarwal talks about the game and PokerStars an online poker site owned by The Stars Group which is slated to launch in India this year. The veteran player also shares a few tips to play and win at Poker this year.
When did you realize you want to become a professional poker player?
I started playing poker in my Freshman year in college in the US, by the time it was time to graduate I was already playing the biggest tournaments live and online.
While I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do after graduation while I was at college it soon became an obvious career choice for me. Playing poker professionally isn’t for everyone, but the freedom and flexibility works well for me.
Did you have any other jobs prior to poker, was there a moment when you were both playing poker and working a 9-5 job. And if it was not poker, do you think you’d still be working?
In the strictest sense of the word I’ve never actually had a job! Since leaving university poker has been my full time profession. Playing poker takes time, dedication, study and discipline if you want to play consistently at the highest levels. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to consider any other career in the meantime.
Do you think people like playing poker online?
Online poker is great, it’s convenient to play and it’s really good fun. You can fire up a game at any time of the day and there is someone else ready to play. I think people love online poker because it gives them the opportunity to play whenever and wherever they want with a lot of other like-minded people.
What has been your most memorable incident while playing poker?
I love playing live as well as online. Playing the WSOP main event is up there as an amazing poker experience, playing poker in Las Vegas is special. To go really deep in any tournament is pretty exciting and I have been fortunate enough to do this several times both in Las Vegas and also at the PokerStars EPT Barcelona back in 2007.
The international Poker star who will of course be playing and winning several hands of Poker this Diwali also shares a few tips for budding players
Poker star Aditya Agarwal's five tips are:
- Always be aware of your bankroll and choose games accordingly.
- Be professional and put in the hours like any other job.
- Study and watch poker for as many hours you put in playing (on and off the table, time spent on poker should be equal).
- Be dedicated and committed, if you are not, you probably won't make it as a professional.
- Be open minded, poker is ever evolving and changing and there is always something new to learn.