Growing his poker game since 2009, Mithun Mahesh is among the slew of veteran players in the Indian poker circuit. While there are many exceptional poker pros in the scene, Mahesh is by all means a delightful inclusion into this list. Since going pro back in 2018, this 28-year-old player has managed to stay on top of his game, winning many titles in the process. While we already interviewed Mahesh back in 2019 about his growth as a player, his recent spectacular performances on the online felts once again caught our attention.
We thought that this was an opportune time to catch-up with the player and we were keen to have him for our Feature Friday segment. Currently residing in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, this poker player doesn’t let anything stop him from bringing his A-game every time he sits down to grind. Something that is evident given that he already added 122 online titles to his credit.
Hailing from God’s own country, Kerala, Mahesh has been smashing the online felts and shipping tourneys after tourneys. His biggest win was The Millionaire on Spartan Poker, which was his first Millionaire title and also his largest cash grab to date (₹19,39,261). “It was a fun tournament. I was very focused and composed that particular day, I think that was a major contributor to the win,” said Mahesh when asked about his victory.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Mahesh actually worked as an Engineer for over three years before making the big decision to quit and play poker full time. Well now it’s been almost four years since he took that leap of faith. It is safe to say that he has no regrets. With a lifetime total of ₹3.67 crore, according to PokerGuru, it’s pretty understandable why.
Poker players know that breaking the news of going pro to the family is not easy, especially when they already have a stable job. While Mahesh did expect some resistance, his family surprisingly understood. “It was swift. I was doing well and had a lot of study resources. I told my parents I’m quitting my job and trying poker for the next 6 months. Surprisingly, they agreed immediately. Within a few months of going pro, I got selected for Chennai Sharks (GPL India) and was on national television, so that established the game’s legitimacy in their perspective. It has been an exciting journey since then,” Mahesh narrates.
Playing for Chennai Sharks in Global Player’s League India (GPL) was also one of his most cherished memories. “Winning the semi-final match for Chennai Sharks and taking the team to the finals is one of my best memories till date. The team celebration at that moment is something you don’t get while playing online, which made it more memorable,” shares Mahesh.
Trained under the mentorship of Aditya Aggarwal, one of India’s most prominent poker players, it’s not shocking at how well Mahesh seems to grasp the game. Talking about his mentor, Mahesh said, “I have been under his training since 2019 and he has added another dimension to my understanding of No Limit Hold’em MTTs.”
Keeping a healthy mental state is important not only in poker but also in life, which is why meditating and doing yoga are among this poker pro’s favourite activities. He also enjoys a good read, playing strategy games and exploring electronic music.
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Perks of being a professional poker player are many but it’s all hard work underneath the glamour of titles and cash prizes. Each player has his/her own reasons for pursuing the mind sport and we wanted to know what motivates Mahesh to do the same. “I think, for me, it’s more about curiosity than motivation. Even though poker is seemingly infinite, it’s still a quantifiable system. The pursuit of finding its equilibrium, understanding its mechanism can be a rewarding process in itself. Applying it while playing with relation to real world parameters is an intriguing process for me. I’m grateful for being able to play this beautiful sport for a living,” states this poker dynamo.
One part of Mahesh’s online poker presence that caught our attention was his Spartan Poker moniker ‘Zima Blue’ which is straight out of an episode of the hit anthology series ‘Love, Death & Robots.’ The series is known for its interesting themes, unique animation styles, and unexpected twists. So just out of curiosity we wanted to know why he chose it. This Ratnagiri based poker pro said in a thoughtful manner, “I think it’s because I resonate with Zima Blue’s philosophy. Humans seek outwards for finding the meaning of their existence when in fact one can find it within themselves. It could simply boil down to being in the moment, mindful and grateful. I think everyone should watch and reflect on it, especially during these tough times.”
While already crushing the online poker felts like no other, Mithun Mahesh is definitely here to stay. The grind certainly doesn’t stop for this dedicated player and you can bet to see him take down more titles in the days to come. To all the players reading this, Mithun has one thing to say, “Treat it like a sport and train like an athlete.”
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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