Poker player Aditya Agarwal spent his childhood and school years in Darjeeling, India. He moved to the US to study at Drexel University, first enrolling for a degree in Engineering, before switching to Marketing. Just like students at every other college across America in 2003, Aditya and his peers saw poker being played on TV for millions of dollars, and they wanted in on the action. By the time Aditya graduated, he was already a full-time poker pro.
In an interview Aditya Agarwal reveals on his Poker journey,
1) Can you tell us when you started playing poker? Basically, your poker
journey till date…
“I went to college in 2003 and started playing poker when I was 18 years old, which I think was the same year Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP on ESPN for $2.5 million. His win, coined the Moneymaker Boom, created a huge upswing in interest in online poker. Chris qualified for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event for $39 online at PokerStars. I started out playing with my college friends and then progressed to online poker where I focussed on playing multi-table tournaments. When I turned 21 and was still in college I was able to balance playing poker and studying. After graduating I began travelling and playing full time and doing what I could to promote the game in India, which I moved back to in 2009. Playing poker has given me the chance to travel the world and meet some amazing people.
2) How do professional poker players make the determination if someone is
“There are lot of factors to take into consideration when deciding if someone is bluffing, semi-bluffing or value betting. There are the physical tells that you’ll see in the movies, but most decisions are based on the information that you get from playing hand to hand. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, player tendencies, such as whether you think a player is tight, aggressive, loose or passive; current table dynamics and how the hand has played out so far; and how you think that player perceives you, how you think that player thinks you perceive them and so on.
Poker is a game of incomplete information so the more variables that you weigh up will help you to make a more educated decision than simply acting on a hunch. Catching a player bluffing can make the game really interesting if egos start getting involved!”
3) How long would it take for someone normal to become a professional
“A professional ‘anything’ is someone whose main income comes from poker. There are lots of amateur players that are better than professional players. The learning curve in poker is quick. You can pick up the rules to the game in your first session and who deep you get into the strategy is entirely up to you. Poker can be whatever you want it to be. For some that’s means making a living, but for most it just means enjoying the game. It doesn’t take too long nowadays for individuals who play regularly to get a real understanding of the game and learn how to play well. Poker is a great game mixing brains, courage and subterfuge.”
4) What are the main ways you developed your game during the years. Did
you take any poker lessons from professional players? What do you think
, can someone become a successful player without personal or
other type of coaching?
“Over the years, I have worked on all aspects of my game. This includes a lot of self-study. There are plenty of resources available online which a player can use to get better and these include videos of a lot of world class analysis of tournaments and high stakes games showing the hole cards of players. There’s also some great Twitch channels streaming with guys like Jason Somerville and Jaime Staples talking through poker action.
I was lucky enough to have been mentored by some great players: Sorel Mizzi very early in my career and then later by Vivek Rajkumar and Yevgeny Timoshenko. Getting to grips with some of the fundamentals of the game early really helps. There’s a lot of great resources and information available to players today, such as at PokerSchool Online and PokerStars TV.
5) What do you think of the game now compared to when you
started playing more seriously? What’s the future of online and live poker
according to you?
The game is always evolving, which is part of what makes poker so fascinating. It’s really unique in that way and you have to keep the mind sharp and stay up to date with the new strategies and trends. Or you don’t and just play how you want to.
Poker is a much loved game and pastime all around the world with huge live tours and events, such as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure that takes place in the Bahamas each year. Poker is well established in the US and Europe and is booming in South America and Asia with some record-breaking fields at places like PokerStars Championship Macau. It’s definitely an exciting time for poker and I can’t wait to see how things develop in India.