Ishwar Sundaram aka Gawwd on Adda52.com has swept the ‘Ticket to Vegas’ tourney and won air tickets and accommodation worth Rs.1.5 Lakhs to Las Vegas. He can now travel to the Poker Capital of the world to participate in the world’s largest poker tournament. It is noteworthy here that Ishwar finished a close runner’s up in the Fly to Vegas Promotion in January losing to Sumit Sehgal.
Adda52 presents a chat with Ishwar on what this win means to him and what are his plans ahead.
1. Hi Ishwar , thanks for your conversation with Adda52. Firstly congratulations on winning the ‘Ticket to Vegas’ Tournament. For our readers who don’t know much about you, please tell us how you got into playing poker?
My poker journey started around 41/2 years ago, when I returned to India from US. Those days I used to play Teen Patti with my friends. Then I was introduced to poker by one of my friends. I find the game more interesting than Teen Patti but it required a lot of funds to play in real cash. So, I started playing online poker on Facebook to understand the rules and basics of the game. 3 years back, I went on a short trip to US. I played live poker in States but was unsuccessful in winnings. Though I won less and loose more, I was more exposed to the game. After returning from US, I started playing online poker, and also went to Goa to play live real cash games and experienced ultra-grind sessions. There was a time when I had a strong understanding of the game. I started making profits, and reinvested profits in poker. 18 months back, I registered on Adda52.com to play online poker. I played poker for quite sometime, and took a break for 8 months. In last December, I started playing poker again on your website. Earlier, I used to play more live poker games but now I am focusing on online poker because of time constraints and flexibility that the online play offers. Regarding my career, I started as a marketing professional in a FMCG company and now I am an business entrepreneur of an organization that manufactures Tech Apps.
2. How do yo feel right now – excited, intimidated, terrified?
I really feel excited as being a part of World’s largest poker tournament is a big thing for any poker player. Further, I am not a tournament player, and usually play cash games. For an intermediate player like me, it is an extra bit of push to surface as a successful poker player in long run. I am all set to pack my bags, catch a flight and clinch some tournaments in Vegas.
3. In ‘Ticket to Vegas’ Tournament, you have been a rock-hard performer. Which hand was your turning point in this tournament?
During the first half of the tournament, I was second in terms of chip holding. Pocket Tens was a hand that turned lucky for me. In this game, my opponent holded Q-Q, and he made 3 bets. Initially, I raised 400 and my opponent raised 1100. Though second in chips stack, I didn’t lose the chip lead. Then, I flopped 10 when the board ran 10-2-4. I checked and he bet 1100 making the pot total to 2600. He bet 2100 when the turn card 8 turned up. I bet 1700. On the revelation of river card 5, he re-raised and I went All-in. While Pocket Tens are considered danger cards in poker, they were well-timed for me.
4. Last month you stood second in Fly to Vegas tournament. Was it your determination to go to Vegas that made you win this event?
It was heart-breaking for me as I couldn’t make it to the top of Fly to Vegas. I was a chip leader in heads-up game against Sumit. One of the games where I had A-9, and Sumit was holding Pocket Kings gave me a bad-break. Though I flopped a 9 and the board ran 5-9-3-4-3. It was a flip he won. During the last tournament, I definitely got to learn a lesson of playing cautiously and carefully, avoiding bad play and being more determined.
5. Could you share the final hand which won you this tournament?
My final hand in this tournament was K-J. It proved fruitful against opponent’s A-6. I flopped J when the board ran in my favor J-7-6 and an another J on turn. During the final game, I was the chip leader with 60,000 chips.
6. Have you ever played at international tournaments like APT, EPT, etc.?
I play more of real cash games in comparison to tournaments. Though I have been to Macau and Indiana but didn’t played any tourneys there. Now as I have win the ‘Ticket to Vegas’ tournament, I will continue playing online tourneys. However, right now keeping my fingers crossed for Vegas.
7. As you have played both the tourneys of Vegas at Adda52, what is your feedback on the format of the tournament?
It was a fantastic ultra turbo fest. The format of the Vegas tournament was slow yet phenomenal with reasonable starting stacks, regular blinds, etc. More chips and long levels reduced the degree of luck to the minimum making a great deal of play, and reduce the degree to which luck.
8. What sort of other tournaments do you think adda52 should run?
There is no better tournament than ‘Fly to Vegas’ or ‘Ticket to Vegas’. You can run satellite or promotional events for EPT, Barcelona, Macau Poker Cup but they cannot compete the world’s richest poker tournament.; though craze may be less for Asia specific or Europe specific tournaments. Tournament like Fly to Vegas provides an exposure to Indian poker players to get accustomed to the real world of poker. It is also pocket-friendly for them as they may not be able to spend that much to take part in the Main Event.
9. Do you have any suggestions for Adda 52 to improve game playing experience for poker players or online game lobby?
I have a suggestion for ‘Fly to Vegas’ Leaderboard Series tourney running on your website. The timings of the tournament is 3 p.m. & 1 a.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends. Professional players can play at these timings but such timings are not suitable for entrepreneurs like me. The timings should be like 10 p.m. in the night.
10. Do you feel poker has potential to make it as a sport in India?
In India, there is a stigma related to poker. Poker to emerge as a sports may take sometime. Ofcourse, there is a hope for that striking fame to happen before it is accepted as a sports by the mainstream. Presently, it is looked upon as a sports only by poker professionals. The people who play poker for fun consider it to be a card game, and don’t take it into account the skill element involved in it. A lot of efforts need to be made by the whole community to validate the status of poker as a sports.