Top 5 Interviews That Rocked 2019

PokerGuru Top 5 Interviews of 2019
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  • Namita Ghosh December 28, 2019
  • 5 Minutes Read

2019 was another fantastic year for the poker industry, and we were always on the front lines bringing you the inside scoop in exclusive interviews featuring industry leaders, the big winners, and upcoming poker talents. Based on the viewership, here are the top five interviews that really stood out in 2019.

This is not just a list, it is a meaningful reflection of the movers and shakers of the poker industry this year, setting the mood for an equally remarkable year ahead!

 

Anish Patra – Winning the Inaugural Millionaire Legends on Spartan Poker

November 10 was a fateful day for Anish Patra. The 27-year-old recreational poker turned semi-pro trounced a reg-laden field of 857 runners to win the first-ever The Millionaire Legends ₹2 Crores GTD on Spartan Poker following a heads-up deal with Vikranth Varma.

Anish Patra
Anish Patra

Patra pocketed a life-changing sum of ₹46.21 Lakhs for his win. Speaking to PokerGuru after his stellar run, Patra said, “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.”

The Mumbai-lad, who now lives in Pune, entered the final table with the shortest stack amongst seasoned players like Sajal Gupta, Vikranth Varma, PokerGuru Ambassador Nadeem Basha, and Manish Lakhotia. “I started as the shortest stack and was down to about 5 big blinds at one point,” Patra recalled.

Patra charted an impressive climb to reach the heads-up play with Varma, where the duo quickly locked in a deal. Having had too many runner-up finishes in the past, as he describes as his “2nd place curse,” Patra was hell-bent not to miss out this time. “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,” he said.

Read the complete interview here

 

Gaurav Gala – Leading Team India to Victory in the IFMP Asian Nation’s Cup

PLO specialist Gaurav Gala captained the six-member Team India comprising of Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Prateek Mishra, Krina Gala, and Taran Mundkar at the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) Asian Nations Cup hosted at Taoyuan City, Taiwan in November. Gala was instrumental in strategizing the team’s spectacular performance that saw Team India lifting the IFMP Asian Nation’s Cup trophy for the first time this year!

Gaurav Gala
Gaurav Gala

In an exclusive interview with PokerGuru, Gala spoke about the winning strategy that helped them lift the cup. “Our initial plan was to finish in the top four and qualify for the world championships. Match Poker is a Team sport, one needs to follow a team strategy with discipline to succeed. To select the player with the right skill set who fits perfectly into the team strategy, that is what a ‘horses for courses’ strategy is,” Gala said.

Team India suffered a few setbacks in the first two sessions, and so after the third session, Gala decided to make a few changes. “Taiwan’s change in approach caught us on the wrong foot. Bitti [Aditya Agarwal] played well but faced the wrong side of variance, and we slipped to the third position. Prateek [Mishra] and I were following every team and their player’s gameplay, we had to counter Taiwan’s play and target the Singapore team who were playing kinda passive. The change bore fruit as we knocked off 20 points from the top.”

Under Gala’s stewardship, Team India will be seen competing in the World Championship slated for February 2020 in Peru. “We are motivated and egging to give it our best shot,” Gala added.

Read the complete interview here

 

Puneet Dua – BalleBaazi, PPL High Roller Run, Past Wins & More

Puneet Dua is a man of many talents, but one thing has remained a constant – his passion for poker. In 2016, he made heads turn when he took down the inaugural Baazi Poker Tour (BPT) ₹25K Main Event for ₹10 Lakhs. Three years later, Dua once again grabbed the spotlight when he stormed into the final table of PokerBaazi’s PPL #35 High Roller 6-Max ₹70 Lakhs GTD with over a third in chips. He eventually finished third, taking home ₹6.97 Lakhs.

Puneet Dua
Puneet Dua

Luckily, the flips fell my side mostly. Players were exposing a very wide range, you expect that short-handed so had to adapt, picked more chips in the late stage when less than 25 players were left. I prefer playing short-handed, always,” Dua said, reiterating his run during a heads-up interview with PokerGuru.

Dua is currently the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the fast-growing fantasy cricket platform, BalleBaazi. “It’s been BalleBaazi for the last 27 months now, looking forward to being coached in January before becoming a frequent customer at the live tables. I have been spending whatever little cash game time I have at OFC tables, I really enjoy playing the progressive & ultimate format.”

Read the complete interview here

 

Co-Founder of Poker Dangal, Karan Gandhi – Talks About the Startup’s Journey So Far

In 2017, four passionate poker diehards got together to set up Poker Dangal. The site launched operations in 2018 and has been growing its player base steadily since. Co-founder Karan Gandhi, who heads the firm’s Business Development vertical talked to PokerGuru at length on the making of Poker Dangal and future plans.

Karan Gandhi
Karan Gandhi

“We are 4 co-founders in the company – Varun Mahna, Varun Puri, Shashwat Jain, and me. The team is a mix of IITians, BITSians, and XLRI graduates, so we know what we want to drive in terms of our customer experience and value proposition.”

Gandhi added, “We have achieved many firsts in the industry and are continuously learning and unlearning every day. From acquiring PokerMet to launching 5 Card PLO to successfully running Dangal Value Series, it has been a great learning curve for us.”

He admitted that acquiring the defunct site PokerMet helped the site gain players’ trust and was emphatic that the team is working committedly to offer a better poker playing experience to players.

PokerMet was struggling because of many reasons, and we wanted to help the players who were facing the consequences of this struggle. The positive vibes and image we got post the acquisition have been invaluable. Constant product innovation is the key to customer delight, and we will make sure to keep evolving and innovating.”

Read the complete interview here

 

CEO of PokerBaazi, Navkiran Singh – Talks About a Trailblazing 2018, Baazi Rewards & ‘The Game Changer’

The past two years have been significant for PokerBaazi that has streamlined its software and player rewards system in a major overhaul. At the year’s outset, CEO Navkiran Singh spoke to us on the various factors that have helped position the site among the top-rung leaders in the domestic circuit.

Navkiran Singh
Navkiran Singh

“The growth has been great in these last 4 years. PokerBaazi now has a registered user base of over 5 Lac. The numbers have also grown 60-70% yearly,” Singh said, underlining how the software upgrade was a testimonial to the team’s passion and commitment for improvement.

“With this (software) revamp, we gave name to our core value of #NeverStopImproving. Now, our immediate focus is on polishing the beta version and getting out the complete version out asap.”

Singh also shared the idea behind The Game Changer that made its inaugural run from February 20-24 with a staggering ₹2 Crores in prize pool guarantee.

The site’s player trend-setting rewards system – Baazi Rewards was another game-changer for the brand. “Our goal while designing the rewards program was to try and cater to every single player by providing them with benefits based on games, stakes, and hours that he/she plays…We wanted to give them all the options, the best possible prizes, and the best rake-back model. It’s the most comforting feeling to see players’ overwhelming responses.”

Read the complete interview here

 

With the year-end just around the corner, we will be bringing you many more features documenting the best and the most impactful developments of 2019, so stay tuned!

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