The first big Sunday of the month at The Spartan Poker saw two winners Aproorv ‘tankdonk’ Bajpai and Sandeep ‘effuno’ Varma claiming the Two of a Kind (2.o.K) tournament for INR 15 Lakhs each. This 2.o.K tournament features a buy-in of INR 5,500 and drew 1,018 entries to make a prizepool of INR 50,90,000. The prizepool was distributed to the top 85 places with a min-cash of INR 7,635. Apoorv Bajpai is certainly a well known quantity in the Indian poker community. In fact, he was the first ever winner of this very same tournament which took place in August 2017. Bajpai and Amit Gupta were the inaugural 2.o.K winners who also received their trophy at the India Poker Championship Awards held in September that year in the Garden City of Bangalore. Varma on the other hand has been a professional poker player from the last 7 years and is based in Bangalore. He is primarily an online player who dabbles in live poker in the local poker rooms from time to time. This is Varma’s biggest win of his career.
Bajpai who is a doctor by qualification and a former Indian Air Force officer who completed his management studies at IIM – Lucknow. He then worked in the corporate sector for a while before switching to the field of experimental learning. At present Bajpai has facilitated life skills (leadership and team building) workshops for corporate teams and school students using experiential methodology at Inme, Innergise and Experlearning. He works with his wife, also a facilitator and coach with another initiative of theirs called Excellerate. As with many new players back in the day, Bajpai too began his poker journey at Facebook’s Zynga poker app in 2010 and got into the game. Then he deposited $5 in PokerStars to practice micro stakes and SnG’s where he multiplied the initial $5 several times over. His tryst with live poker began with his friends at IIM playing INR 100 buy-in games. Bajpai felt an immediate attraction to the game as it involved a mix of skill, math, psychology and intuition.
A delighted Bajpai had this to say, “I feel immensely lucky and grateful to have won this title twice! It has been a great experience and a thrill to play and win this tournament. It’s been a long time since I had a good score, so this win could not have come at a better time.”
It was not an easy ride on his way to the top, “My journey to the final table was a tough, patient grind this time. I was constantly on tables with at least one good aggressive player who would be a table captain. So, I just bid my time and picked whatever few spots I got to stay in the game. I made a few tough, good calls along the way based on my reads. One hand that stands out was when I 3-bet a loose aggressive player from the button with 78s and got called. I got lucky in this spot as my turned 2 pairs vs his turned straight led to me winning on the river with the board pairing up. That set the ball rolling for me.”
Bajpai is graceful to admit that he wasn’t infallible in his play and gave due credit to his co-winner, “I made a few bad plays on the final table but since I was I had a huge chip lead I was able to recover from those mistakes and play my A game. Eventually ‘effuno’ played a great game to come out from the dead to capitalize on some ill-timed, costly mistakes by ‘chimpoo’. All in all, a thrilling experience as always. Humbled and grateful. Congratulations to all the winners and good game (gg) to all the players who played well but could not get lucky this time.”