India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) January 2021 was one tournament series that made a lot of dreams come true. Priyank Kothari is one such player who was highly motivated during IOPC Jan 2021 and gave his best shot. This Mumbai-based player shipped two tournaments during the IOPC in January 2021.
He is a chartered accountant by profession and is currently employed as a Group Strategy Officer with the Mahindra Group. He is a source of inspiration for all the players who wish to juggle between a day job and poker. We had a chat with Kothari to know more about his game, strategies, future plans, and more.
How were you first introduced to poker?
I was introduced to poker when I was during my second year of MBA, back in 2014. My initial thoughts were that it is recreational gambling with friends. And that’s how we played back then, without much method or skill.
For how long have you been playing poker?
For a long time after kick-starting my poker journey, I stayed away mainly because of work commitments and not really having many avenues to access the game. I didn’t know many people who played poker, so I couldn’t access live games and I was also reluctant initially to create an online account. It was only in early 2018 that I got reintroduced to poker, thanks to a few of my friends who started the poker platform Poker Dangal. I played both online and live cash games for a year but I wasn’t doing too well. Post that, I decided to explore tournament play and things started looking up since that switch in mid-2019.
You shipped two tournaments during IOPC Jan 2021. How was the feeling?
IOPC January 21 was a mixed bag for me. Overall, I did well as I finished 4th on the leaderboard. But I wasn’t making deep runs in many featured tournaments. Also, while the overall results were quite positive, it was a particularly tough time. I was only sleeping 2-4 hours daily which is way too little to even stay productive, especially in a series like IOPC. I did not intend on playing for the leaderboard. I found good success initially and I was running first at one point. Also, the IOPC leaderboard prize was not a small amount so I reconsidered my decision and decided to give it a shot. Those two wins really proved to be a healthy dose of motivation to keep grinding despite all the chaos.
One strategy you know that works best for you.
My approach to poker has been based on observations of games played by other players and adjusting my game accordingly. I don’t use any heads-up displays, so I jot down notes about players in the space that most online poker sites provide as I prefer playing on mobile instead of a dedicated set-up.
I know playing on mobile is not ideal compared to playing on a laptop, but it is my preferred option because of the flexibility it offers me. I have been able to put the volume because of it, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. This has helped me gather valuable information on many Multi Tournament Tables (MTTs). So, this works for me despite what popular opinion would suggest.
Which was your biggest win so far?
I finished 7th on Pokerbaazi’s END BOSS 5 Crore GTD for a payout of 12.62 Lakh in April 2020. That was my biggest win on any Indian platform.
Do you have any mentors in the Indian poker circuit?
I look up to many people in the community, but I haven’t really found a mentor so far. I hope that will change soon.
As a poker player, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I have been quizzing myself about this for some time now. I’ve also discussed this with a few close pals, both from within and outside the poker community. Ideally, I would want to declutter from the regular tourney schedule and only focus on a few key tourneys spread across comfortably.
Are there any players who you look up to? If yes, please name them.