Sometimes one small decision in our daily lives can change our entire lives. It doesn’t has to be a childhood dream or long lost desire, sometimes when you find something and that matches the rhythm of your heart, you should chase after it. In this case, a teacher became a professional poker player. Here’s one such story of a poker player, who started playing poker games for fun but after five years of playing he has won Deltin Jaqk, Indian Online Poker Championship by The Spartan Poker and so on and so forth, leaving his own trademark in the craft. In a one on one conversation with Gambling India Info, Guruprasad Gupta sheds some light to his inspiring story that turned around his whole life.
“It all started with trying my hands in the game of poker virtually after I had done coaching students on engineering mathematics for the day, I would play virtual poker through various virtual poker playing apps. With time, my interest got deeper in the sport and that’s when I came to know about real poker games where I can win real cash so I started playing it side by side. And, like after four years of continuing both my private coaching and playing poker, I won my first major poker event. I won the main event of INR 5 lakh Deltin Jaqk in Goa. That’s when I made up my mind that I no longer want to be a private tutor anymore and would play poker professionally,” quoted Gupta on asking why he chose to be a poker player professionally.
Commenting on the various segments of playing poker, Guruprasad feels that online poker will always have the upper hand because it promises bigger prize money and a player can choose any table according to that player’s preference. He said, “In my early days, I was more of a live poker player because playing live is always more fun than playing in virtual world. I am more into online poker because it gives me too much freedom and space. Especially when you are a family man, you can play online poker at home. If I were to compare online poker with live poker then the basic difference would be the option of multi-tabling in online poker. Moreover, it also gives away very high value in low buy-ins which is not the case with live tournaments. As far as cash games are concerned, live poker has softer field.”
India has seen a drastic change when it came to poker in the last couple of years, despite many state governments claiming poker to be a game of chance Indian poker players have found that they can beat others with skills and a very small portion of luck. Speaking of which, Gupta expressed. “Four to five years ago, poker in India was not considered of much value but in last 2 years the poker industry is on boom. Hence, we see so many poker operators in the market today with so many promotions. There is a wide scope for poker players in India now and in the upcoming years people will see an exponential growth in this industry as percentage of poker players are on a rise.”
With a smile, Guruprasad said, “The best way can the Indian government can really help this industry is by reducing the Tax deducted at source (TDS) from a net 30% to lower because poker is not recognized as a skill game by the Indian constitution. So, poker is treated as a lottery in India and like every game of lottery, the tax deductable from the winnings is way higher than most other professions. Once the government accepts poker as a game of skill and provides flexibility with the current TDS, there will be an unstoppable growth of the poker industry in this country.”
Guruprasad feels that the inception of PokerStars in India will change the look of poker industry in India. He quoted, “The entry of PokerStars in India is of great joy because they are bringing in their standard and quality of game-playing experience will give a tough competition to the other poker platforms which will mean in an overall development of quality of game playing. Moreover, more operators in the field mean more exclusive tournaments and challenges for everyone. It is good news for all poker players or customers as they would rush into them. Talking about the Indian operators, the involvement of PokerStars will not affect much unless they bring in really big tournaments or opportunities for the Indian audience because the Indian operators are way ahead in promotions and market capital with highly appreciated customer support.
One of the key things in life is to have a balance in both our personal and professional life and Gupta, has found his balance. “Earlier, it was too difficult for me to balance both my professional and personal life as I was way too invested in poker to learn each and every trick of the trade but then I tried to adjust my schedule and now I take breaks in regular intervals. And, when I am on a break I am on a complete break. I spend my entire time with my family and friends and nothing else.”
Not every day is our best day and in those days, when the going gets hard all we need is to pick ourselves up and tell ourselves that it’s okay. Talking of such a support system, Guruprasad says, “I think in early stages of any poker player when they are faced with some serious issues on a terrible bad day or having a bad run they broke down. But once you get accustomed to that, it no longer remains a herculean task to get back to normalcy. For me, it’s very simple. When I run terribly bad on a day, I just stop playing for a minimum of 1 hour or so and won’t play till I am mentally comfortable or confident enough because poker is a game of volume, volume as in long term. I try to focus on the end game than anything else during those days. This is how I get by.”
“As per our Indian culture when we talk about 52 cards, it’s always considered as gambling but nowadays people are more educated in our country and they are having a more liberal approach to everything. With each passing day people understand that poker is not gambling and a lot of skills are required to win a game of poker. Obviously in the coming days we will definitely see more people to make poker as profession in our country. It just remains a matter of time only,” said Gupta talking about Poker getting the limelight finally as a professional choice.
Speaking of the drawbacks, Guruprasad believes that novice poker players don’t have the patience. They believe that they will win early in their lives and they would live their life in no worries and that is where they are wrong. “The new faces in poker majorly go wrong in bankroll management; they just want to become rich in overnight which is never possible, my friend. Just like any other profession, to be successful in poker you need give in a lot of dedication and experience. One of the best things about poker is that helps you earn more than you expect but for that you have to follow a routine of discipline, practice and hard-work. To my fellow players who are just entering in this poker field, I would like to tell them that keep working hard on your game. Play within your bank roll. The results will follow, it may not come right away but it will come and it will guide you to your dream,” signed off Guruprasad.
Guruprasad has won the Deltin Jaqk Main event for INR 5 Lacs, won The Spartan Poker IOPC event for INR 6.2 Lacs, also won the Pokerbaazi PPL HR for INR 4 Lacs, won the Spartan SSS for INR 4 Lacs and also won the Moneymaker for INR 30 Lacs and several others.