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It’s almost time for the inaugural Match Indian Poker League (MIPL) to make its much-awaited debut in Mumbai later this week (November 17). MIPL is an intellectual property (IP) owned and promoted by Raj and Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Viaan Industries Ltd, and the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP).
The first of a kind league is leaving no stones unturned to get the mind sport of poker recognized as a skill game in the country. The first-of-a-kind mainstream TV advertisement echoes their slogan “#PokerIsASport” very clearly and MIPL’s official tie-up with entertainment channel MTV is bound to boost both the presence and the acceptance of the game in the country.
One of the seven teams that will be taking part in this extravaganza is Kolkata Diamonds owned by Sunny Karira & Deepak Keswani, owners of The Park Street Privilege Club in Kolkata.
Karira is a poker enthusiast himself and developed a keen interest in the mind sport over time. He was drawn to the relationship between lifestyle and poker and has travelled extensively for over eight years in the quest to understand the nuances of the game. He believes that poker is one of the refined forms of recreation.
On the other hand, Keswani, Director at United Roads Construction Pvt. Ltd & Wintage Infra Pvt. Ltd has played over hundreds of thousands of hands over the last couple of years. He realized that poker enhances ones psychological, mathematical and emotional skills and hence he is an avid fan of the mind sport.
The duo has locked in FTC Group and Santieb’s as the official sponsors of their team.
Not just the owners, even the player lineup of the Kolkata Diamonds is equally impressive. Featuring well-known pros like Anil Adiani, Shuchi Chamaria, Akhil Jain, Pranay Bachhawat, Rohan Singh, Mukul Agarwal, Shuchi Chamaria, Niwesh Sharma, Aditya Goenka, Shammi Karira, Jayjit Ray and Tanmay Chakraborty (MANAGER), Kolkata Diamonds will certainly be a team to watch out for at the finale.
1. Tanmay Chakraborty (Manager) – Chakraborty started his poker journey in 2011, he is an avid online poker buff and plays online tournaments regularly.
2. Anil Adiani (Captain) – Adiani is a known face in the circuit and has been grinding live cash games for the last 6-7 years. Adiani has travelled extensively to attend several domestic and international tournaments. He holds an Asia Poker Tour title and like to juggle between deepstack live cash games and tournaments. Adiani is slowly transitioning into a solid PLO grinder as well.
3. Akhil Jain – Jain loves the mind sport and has been a regular in the cash game circuit, he made notable deep runs in both online and live tournaments as well.
4. Rohan Singh – Singh has been a professional poker player since 2009 and believes that “It’s not gambling if you know you’re going to win”. Singh is essentially a cash game pro but has notched up a few tournament wins to his name as well. He admits that “Focus, hard work and determination have made me what I am today and I strive to do the best.”
5. Shuchi Chamaria – Chamaria aka “the first lady of poker” started her poker journey two years back after she got married to India’s pioneering pro and Team PokerStars member Aditya Agarwal. Chamaria accompanies Aditya to travel the world attending international events and says, “Poker is both my passion and profession.”
6. Aditya Goenka – Goenka’s poker journey dates back to 2008 when he got introduced to the mind sport in college. He has been a regular grinder since 2009 and forayed into online poker a few years back. He put the time to learn and gradually learnt multi-tabling. He finds poker intellectually stimulating and challenging with more than 1 million hands running in his head.
7. Jayjit Ray – Ray has been playing poker since 2009 and after being a banker for five years decided to take poker professionally in 2016.
8. Mukul Agarwal – Agarwal got bit by the poker bug in 2010 and has been playing professionally since 2014. Primarily a Hold’em cash game player, he aims to “ACE the Hold’em games in India”
9. Niwesh Sharma – Sharma believes that Match IPL will suit him as he has been grinding cash games for more than eight years and even has decent experience in tournaments. He believes that “psychology plays an important role in poker as every good poker player has got a basic understanding of the game but being psychologically prepared for the game is what makes the difference”
10. Pranay Bachhawat – Bachhawat is a living example of a die-hard poker aficionado. He got introduced to the game through a cousin in the US and since then he has thrived to gain knowledge. He gets so involved in playing that he doesn’t realize when he is sleeping or getting up! He says the streak began since he learnt the game which has neither stopped nor will ever do. Like many, he aims to clinch the WSOP bracelet as many times as possible and play poker till his last breath!
11. Shammi Karira – Karira learnt the game through his brother who he has seen playing for the past seven years. Since 2015, Karira has been regularly playing poker and had a good journey till now. This passionate poker player says that “The thrill which you get after bluffing and winning the pot just cannot match up to any other sport.”
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