A well-known name in the Indian poker scene, this player has made quite a name for himself with multiple wins to his credit. One of the regulars in various online poker platforms, Vinayak Bajaj is a player that has remained consistent with his gameplay and love for the game. During the special 10th edition of India Online Poker Championship (IOPC), Bajaj was not shy to show his skills as he shipped multiple tournaments throughout the mega event.
With his name constantly cropping up in the IOPC charts and on other poker platforms, we were curious about this player who was taking the IOPC stage by storm. We spoke to Bajaj over the course of the week and found some interesting insights into his life, game and more.
This poker powerhouse hails from Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand. Bajaj’s poker journey started with a casual game between college friends. “I picked up the game from there and eventually moved to playing online,” he explains about his early beginnings in the game. After constantly working on his game in the years that followed, it’s no surprise that he eventually started cashing in bigger tournaments. Although he came in third, he won an impressive INR 9,37,589 on Spartan Poker’s 1 Crore GTD Millionaire United Day 2 in May 2020, his largest online score to date.
However, for this IIT graduate from Kharagpur, it was Spartan Poker’s Two of a Kind (2.o.K) held in October 2018 that put him on the Indian poker map. Fast forward to 2021 and Bajaj has managed to ship around 29 tournaments in a span of just three years, not a bad record for this 27-year-old player. Just this January, he clinched the title of IOPC Destiny Finale after a long battle with nine others. When asked to share his experience about this, Bajaj replied, “Winning Destiny Finale felt amazing. I really liked the concept where 10 winners from different tournaments come together to play the Sit ‘N’ Go (SNG). I was very short stacked at one point in the tournament which made winning it even sweeter.”
Shipping a Destiny tournament couldn’t be that easy, especially when you’re up against other Destiny winners. So, we had to ask him about his strategy, something this poker player did not mind delving into. “I focused on playing solid and trying to put maximum pressure once I got some chips. Playing a SNG feels like playing a final table but it is very different. Only 2-3 get paid in a SNG unlike in MTT final tables. Thus, the strategy changes accordingly.”
Besides his big splash in the digital felts, Bajaj also enjoys playing in live poker tournaments. When asked about it, he was keen to share some of his favourite moments. “I love these annual series in Goa which are held live. My favourite moment playing live is when I got to play the final table of the MoneyMaker held at Baazi LIVE. That was a great experience.”
Bajaj credits being patient as one of his biggest strengths when it comes to playing poker. Which is not surprising considering the number of long hours that one needs to sit and play the game. With India Poker Championship’s (IPC) Final Table Series coming back in March, we were also keen to catch up on his daily training routine. “My training routine doesn’t change much around any upcoming series. I just try my best to keep working on leaks and building up my strategies,” he shares.
Aside from playing poker, his other hobbies also include swimming, learning to play the guitar, and playing board games. “I have a great knack for card games in general. I love playing card games with friends and family,” the poker pro admits. Life can be unpredictable and if poker has taught us anything, it’s to know how to play our cards right. This is why in our last question we asked him about his future plans. “My plan is to work hard, be it life or poker. Putting in work on and off tables when it comes to poker, and focusing on health and lifestyle when it comes to life,” he replied with a smile.
While the road of a poker player is not easy, it’s clear that this charming player is aware of both the risks and rewards that come along. This poker dynamo is willing to take the plunge to follow his hunger for the game. With many more tournaments to come, we’ll keep our eyes on this young player. Until then, we’ll be ending our lovely story on Vinayak Bajaj here.
Donna Amo is a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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