Arun Sriram said he plays about 250 poker tournaments every month.
Poker is slowly becoming one of the most popular online games in India. During the pandemic, the popularity of poker reached the next level with people of all age groups trying their luck at poker.
Many people have given up their full-time jobs to become full-time professional poker players. One of them is Bangalore-based Arun Sriram, 38, who came out as the winner of the Adda52 Champions Leaderboard (ACL) tournament and took home an Adda52 Pro contract worth 20 lakhs INR.
Speaking to timesnownews.com, Arun shared his views on his love of poker and how he took a break in 2020 to focus on playing poker full time.
Tell us a little about your background
I am an entrepreneur turned Professional Poker. My first years of career were devoted to the marketing function of one of the largest consumer goods companies in India. In 2016, I built a healthcare technology company in Bangalore with a couple of friends who grew from scratch to become the market leader in dental supplies in India. In 2020 I took a break from active work to focus on poker.
Coming from marketing, when did you start playing poker and what caught your eye?
I learned about poker when a group of friends came to play at home during my early days of corporate career, but it remained a secondary hobby until the pandemic. The complexity, the competitive environment and the opportunity to fight with the best minds in the country hooked me to the game. I’m relatively new to the circuit playing poker professionally since 2020.
To a layman, how would you explain the game of poker?
Poker is the easiest game to learn and the most complex to master.
What are some of the most important qualities of a top poker player?
Discipline to work, perseverance in failures and humility in success to realize that there is a long way to go in terms of achieving mastery.
Several people have given up their jobs full time to play poker full time. Do you think the trend will continue?
Poker is gaining more and more popularity in the world as the most important mental sport. Magnus Carlsen – the chess champion recently played in the Norwegian Poker Championship. And, India, with its steady rising mobility, has shown that more people have started pursuing their passions instead of the 9-5 standard. Combining both, I hope this trend continues for a long time.
What support does your family have, and what do you say to others when they ask you what you do for a living?
My wife has been a stumbling block on this journey and as a nationwide gun shooter, she understands the mindset requirements of a competitive sport. My parents and their parents have been super supportive cheerleaders on this journey and are proud to say what I do to make a living.
With a negative perception of poker in society and not too much acceptance, how do you motivate yourself to keep playing poker?
Like all sports, poker is going through its initial struggles. But with more awareness of the skill involved in the game, acceptance levels will increase over time. I think the change is happening right now and it will only get better.
People who are good at math become poker professionals. Would you agree with that?
This is not entirely true. Good people in math have an advantage in one area of poker. Poker is a complex combination of math, statistics, psychology, situational awareness and a great sense of self.
If you could share, in terms of money, how much can a poker player earn in a month?
It varies dramatically depending on the bets you play, the skill level you are at, the volume you place, and the selection of the game for that volume. The top 1% could be well above a senior executive of a large Indian company who would have spent decades to get there. The rank immediately becomes 5 times, if you manage to go beyond India and play the highest bets in some of the events in the world series.
How many tournaments do you play in a month and how do you keep track?
I play about 250 tournaments every month and I have a personal track of each and how I do it. Adda52.com also offers a hand history that I use to review my plays and study sites where I can improve and gain more long-term advantage.
In terms of awareness, what role did the pandemic play in helping poker gain more popularity?
The fact that people could take a step back and have time to think about things, aside from the crazy rush surrounding standard urban life, was one of the few positives of the pandemic. It gave people time to explore old passions or new hobbies and poker was wonderfully positioned for the home-confined Indian. That’s why both men and women spent some time during the pandemic testing their worth and many new players entered the poker arena.
Can you tell us what the differentiator of the upcoming Adda52.com “Fly to Vegas” campaign is and what are your plans to win it?
Adda52.com is the most popular poker site in India and in their effort to give Indian players an insight into the international circuit they have launched the “Fly to Vegas” campaign. They offer unlimited Vegas packages along with money to play poker in Las Vegas.
Personally I’m very excited as it offers a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world and a chance to interact with them off the table and discuss ways to improve. I’m focusing on MTTs every week to try. I know cash game players also have a great opportunity and Adda52.com usually takes the lead as the leading sports promoter in India with the campaign.