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UMA Poker has integrated itself into the fabric of the domestic online poker industry in a relatively short period and has also created a niche for itself, by continually offering its player base with exciting high-value tournaments. Recently the poker portal hosted the first edition of the UMA Poker Series of Poker (USOP) which ran from July 17 – 28. While several well-known players and newbies alike won titles at the series that offered over ₹3 Crores in prize pool guarantees, the breakthrough performer was Anchit Agarwal (cover image) who took down the coveted USOP Main Event ₹40 Lakhs GTD for a personal-best score of ₹8.40 Lakhs!
Born and brought up in Kanpur, Agarwal was introduced to poker when he moved to the US to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. More familiar with the live poker scene in America, Agarwal also enjoys playing at the Bovada and Horseshoe casinos. Though he mainly plays online when he is back in India, Agarwal has quite a bit of experience playing in the local poker rooms in and around Chicago. In fact, this year he had even traveled to Las Vegas to participate in the 2019 WSOP, but unfortunately, failed to cash in any of the events that he played. Luckily, the USOP Main Event score would have taken some of that pain away.
While he doesn’t consider himself a pro player just yet, he is working hard to improve his game and is already looking forward to attending next year’s WSOP.
Since Agarwal is settled in the US, it took us a while to reach him. Finally, in an emailed conversation with PokerGuru, Agarwal shared with us details of his poker journey, his experience playing live poker in the US and recounted more information from his career-best score to date. Here are the excerpts.
Congratulations Anchit on taking down the USOP Main Event on Uma Poker. Was this your biggest poker score?
Yes, this is my biggest poker score! Shipping the tournament as always, felt great!
Tell us a little about yourself. Also, how and when did you move to the US?
I completed Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. I was brought up and raised in Kanpur and belong to a business family. I moved to the US in 2010.
The US has a very vibrant poker community, and though there have been clampdowns on online poker, live poker rooms and tournaments continue to flourish. Talk to us about your experiences if any playing in the US. Also, some key highlights, big wins, or standout moments that you have encountered along the way.
Yes, the restrictions on online poker in the US is a big hurdle. Though there are a lot of live rooms and games/tournaments going on every day. But a player can invest more time in online poker. It’s hassle-free. I’ve been playing poker for 2 years, in and around local casinos in Chicago. One of my best experiences would be shipping the $50 tournament in Horseshoe casino, where I was left with 1 BB 30 minutes before the late registration period and went on to ship it.
How did you make your start in poker, and what did you do to improve your game?
I have known about poker since I moved to the US. It was a huge deal back then when I was in college. My friends used to have a poker night once or twice every month. Though I never played, that is when I started understanding the game. It wasn’t until 2 and a half years ago that I got into the game seriously. I started studying about the game, went to local casinos, where I made friends who taught me the game better. Just being regular at local live games and Bovada made me a better player. I wouldn’t consider myself to be pro, but I’m trying to get there.
What does your average poker session look like? Where and how often do you play?
It’s tough to manage poker and daily job alongside each other. I play 3-4 times a week. Weekends are a full day grind, whenever I get time on weekdays I try to grind in that time as well. When I’m in the US it’s a mix of Bovada and Horseshoe in Chicago. When I’m in India, I only play online.
Are you up to date on the poker explosion back home? Which platforms do you play on and how often since this big score of Uma Poker comes almost five months after your last notable cash on the platform?
I only play online poker on Indian platforms when I’m in India. I regularly play on Spartan and UMA when I’m home.
Tell us about your impressions about the UMA Poker platform, promotions on offer, support, etc.
I think the platform is really good. It has great potential. Their offline support has been really good too. For whatever issues I’ve ever faced, I have always got an immediate call backed with action from the team. The major attraction for me is the softer field on UMA. It is really for aspiring professionals. The only thing I would say will need refining is the software. The android app needs tweaking, windows is good. Overall the experience has been good.
Coming back to the USOP Main Event, take us through your journey in the event.
My run throughout the tournament was breezy. Luckily, I was running good. I was winning flips and was hitting flops. My reads were good, I assume. Right after the late reg period ended, I was in the top 5 with a significant lead over the person who was next to me. I felt confident at that time, and I think I made the right decisions.
Do you have set goals in mind, especially relating to your poker career?
I wasn’t able to get anything in this year’s WSOP from the 7-8 odd events I played. Getting a cash and hopefully, a ship in next year’s WSOP would be a start. My focus right now is to study a lot about poker and play a lot more to make myself better at the game.
Agarwal’s inspiring run in the USOP Main Event is one of the many success stories unfolding on the UMP Poker platform. The fast-growing site is one of the first in the domestic circuit to announce a special tournament for the upcoming Indian Independence Day – ‘Independence Day Survivor.’ Featuring a buy-in of ₹1,947, reminiscent of the year of independence, the tournament will award the top 10 players a min-cash of ₹73,000, in honor of the 73rd year of independence. The event will start at 6 PM on August 15.