When we speak of champions we think of those who worked hard and kept going despite the hurdles and hardships. Winning and losing is a part and parcel of every game, but when you win in a way that you haven’t before, it feels all the more special. This Thursday, poker player Akshay Kadam won the Trending Thursday tournament on Spartan Poker. We spoke to this ace player to know more about his life, beginnings in poker and the evolution of his game.
Excerpts from the interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Hometown, Age, Education and Professional Experience)
I am Akshay Kadam, 28 from Pune. I’ve studied management and worked in Bangalore for a while with an event management company.
When did you step into the world of poker?
I had no clue about poker. I used to see my friends play these card games all the time while we hung out. Once I really got bored and asked one of my friends to teach me. I love this sport tremendously because it needs a lot of focus and patience unlike the common misconception of the game being only about luck.
Could you tell us about your beginnings in the Indian poker circuit?
About my beginnings in poker, I started off as a poker dealer as the game requires a player to have money for cash games. One also needs to put in a lot of study, so I thought of being a poker dealer so I can earn money and can also study the game from the best players around who actually make their living from this sport.
How did you prepare for the Trending Thursday 16 GTD tournament?
I won a small tournament wherein I made some money and hence I thought of trying my hand at daily Main Events to improve my game and play with the best players in the country. I never thought that I’d end up winning Trending Thursday. My goal was to come in-the-money (ITM) and then slowly make a headway.
What was your gameplay like for this tournament?
My natural game is aggressive. So once I made an early double up of the starting stack, I tried to put pressure on the shorter stack and was playing an aggressive yet positional game, wherein I have the betting lead.
When you won the Trending Thursday tournament, what were your first thoughts?
When I actually reached the final table, I had a commanding chip lead which made it possible for me to play in an aggressive manner. But this does not mean that I was out of control. As a player on the final table, I knew who had the most ICM pressure. After winning my first thought was damn – I did it! I felt this sense of belonging, and that I should be a part of the Indian poker circuit.
Do you have any go-to strategy that works well for you?
My strategy is to play in control and exploit the weaknesses of the rivals. Further, I also make notes when players show their hands in a game. The key is to remain calm and focused.
How do you deal with a downswing?
As a rookie in the poker circles, I thought these downswings will never reach me, and hence never gave it a serious thought. But, when the downswing hit me, it washed away all my confidence and started doubting my abilities as a poker player. Slowly and steadily I got over it, and brought some changes to my routine. Watching poker streams really improved my game as it taught me newer ways to approach a game.
Do you have any mentors or poker players that you look up to?
I admire Kartik Ved as a poker player. Whenever Ved is on a final table, I note down observations from his game. I judiciously follow Ved’s gameplay as it only gets better, and I’ve also tried to emulate it.
Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
I want to be the best poker player around, if I continue playing the game. In the next five years, I see myself playing some heavy-duty tournaments with buy-ins and playing against the best poker champs from around the world.
We hope to see Akshay Kadam win many more poker tournaments in the coming future. For more news and updates keep reading GutshotMagazine.com. Follow us on our social media handles like Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.