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November is a month for Millionaires on Spartan Poker, and the first player to don the crown is cash game specialist Anish Patra (cover image). The 27-year-old was the showstopper on November 10 when he not only became the 33rd Millionaire winner on Spartan Poker, banking ₹46.21 Lakhs but also shipped Adda52’s Mega Suits ₹25 Lakhs GTD, for ₹4.88 Lakhs, taking his cumulative winnings for the night to a life-changing ₹51.10 Lakhs!
Patra put in an incredible performance on Sunday night. He had entered the final table of The Millionaire Legends ₹2 Crores GTD as the shortest stack and had even come down to just 5 BBs at one point. Nevertheless, he managed to bounce back and made it to the heads-up against a formidable opponent – Vikranth ‘borntrouble’ Varma. An accomplished online player, Varma has several virtual exploits to boast of including shipping PokerBaazi’s BSS MegaStack ₹5 Lakhs GTD for ₹1.28 Lakhs on October 27 and winning Spartan Poker’s Afternoon Hi-Fi ₹3.5 Lakhs GTD on September 30 for ₹ 73,287.
The up-and-coming player, who in his own words, had a ‘2nd place curse’ agreed to a heads-up deal with Varma. In the end, Patra was finally able to break the curse and became the latest Millionaire!
The Mumbai lad, who is presently residing in Pune, started dabbling in poker in 2010, before progressing to become a semi-pro in 2015. Despite being a recreational player, the MBA in Finance from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies has accumulated numerous scores on the virtual felts. His most recent accomplishments include finishing runner-up in the PokerBaazi Premier League (PPL) PPL #35 High Roller 6-Max ₹70 Lakhs GTD on October 7 for ₹10.85 Lakhs and taking down Adda52’s The Ballers ₹15 Lakhs GTD on October 25 for ₹4.20 Lakhs.
The online crusher, who presently works as a Product Manager, hasn’t made too many forays on the live felts. Still, his poker resume comprises of three live scores. His first recorded cash was a 10th place finish in the ₹30K Main Event at the DPT August Edition way back in 2016 for ₹1.32 Lakhs. He has some experience on the international circuit as well as he had picked up two scores in last year’s The Indian Poker Series (TIPS) in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, namely in the TIPS Poker Classic I (10th for ₹15,618) and the €220 Main Event (47th for ₹37,047).
I had a quick chat with Patra to find out more about his views on the emerging online poker scene in India, his fantastic Sunday run, and more! Here are the excerpts.
How does it feel to be crowned a Spartan Millionaire and to be among some of India’s biggest online winners ever?
It feels wonderful to come out on top of such a high-profile event that had some of the best players in the country. A big thank you to everyone who has supported me through this, it only motivates me to try and do even better. I would also like to thank Spartan Poker for having given me this platform and opportunity.
What does ‘Millionaire’ mean to online poker players and the industry as a whole?
The inception of the Millionaire tournament was synonymous with the growth of online poker in India. Back in 2015, when I started out, we used to have ₹5 Lakhs and ₹10 Lakhs GTD tournaments as the flagship events on sites. Having a ₹2 Crores GTD tournament is a testimony to how far we’ve come as an industry.
What was your reaction when you realized that the buy-in had more than doubled to 27K?
Along with the increase in the buy-in, the guaranteed prize pool doubled to ₹2 Crores (which was also crushed) so congrats to Spartan Poker for that. I am comfortable playing the higher buy-in MTTs and have been doing alright in them, so I was more than happy with this change.
Talk us through the pressure on the FT with such massive prizes at stake?
The final table had some very accomplished players in Nadeem [Nadeem Basha], Sajal [Sajal Gupta], Neeraj [Neeraj Kumar], Manish [Manish Lakhotia], and Vikranth [Vikranth Varma].
I started as the shortest stack and was down to about 5 big blinds at one point. The plan was never to bleed out my stack for a couple of pay jumps. The idea was always to play solid, pick my spots, and try and come in the top 2-3 places where all the money was. There was no pressure at all. I just wanted to play my ranges and take the mathematically correct decisions irrespective of the outcome. Very fortunate that I was on the right side of variance when it mattered.
Why did you agree to the deal with Vikranth Varma, and in hindsight, do you think it was the correct decision?
I had the 2nd place curse going on for me in a lot of tournaments (including the recently concluded PPL Highroller), so entering a deal looked like the only way that I could win this.
But jokes apart, the pay jumps were significant, and entering a deal helped iron out the variance. ‘borntrouble’ [Vikranth Varma] is a solid player and big congratulations to him for playing the way he did. No regrets at all, and I was happy to share the prize money with him.
This was a life-changing Sunday for you as along with the Millionaire, you also took down the Mega Suits. What would you attribute this run to?
It was a special Sunday indeed. I would attribute the win to a lot of hard work, belief, run good (of course), and a wonderful family and set of friends who have always encouraged and allowed me to do what I love doing.
I entered the final table with the shortest stack and to come back from there makes the win even sweeter 🙂
Any plans for this prize money?
I will add some of it to my poker bankroll and invest the major chunk in the financial markets.
How do you work on your game?
I am mainly a cash game specialist and work on my game through online courses, books, and poker forums. I am guilty of not having put in much effort on the MTTs front, and that is something that I intend to correct in the future.
Who are the players you look up to in the circuit?
Jonas Mols, Doug Polk, and Ben Tollerene when it comes to cash games.
Amongst the Indians, I love Sriharsha’s [Sriharsha Doddapaneni] approach to the game, and how Danish Shaikh conducts himself on the tables and off them.
What would you suggest to players looking to get better in the game?
Treat poker like your business. Invest your time and money in studying the game. Always play at stakes your bankroll permits you to. Do not talk about bad beats. Embrace variance, and put in the volume to beat it. Try and become immune to wins and losses. Believe.
And with these pearls of wisdom, Patra signs off!