| On Updated : Jul 25, 2020 1:27 PM IST

Alok Ranjan on his poker journey, coaching instinct and other insights of the game

By Dheeraj Singh

“It’s pretty simple! You might enjoy Poker, but I can guarantee that you will enjoy Poker way more if you win more money. You won’t enjoy it as much when you mostly lose money.”

Today, we have the Best Indian Poker Coach Alok Ranjan aka ‘darkmatter’ with us in our chat session. Alok spoke in length about his poker journey, coaching instinct and other insights of the game.

Here are the excerpts –

Hi Alok, Thanks for having a chat session with PokerSpot. For those who don’t know much about you and don’t follow Poker regularly, could you please tell a little about you and your background?

Thanks for interviewing me, Thakur.
For those who don’t me, I am an alumnus of IIT Dhanbad, Batch of 2013.
And I have been Trading Derivatives and Playing Poker ever since.
I had reached the SuperNova Status on Pokerstars.com, the highest VIP level at that time, in 2017.
I have the best long term win-rate in NL Cash games and one of the best ROI’s in tournaments.

At some point in 2018, I felt the need to do other things, learn new skills, and make myself more of a part of the marketplace. There has to be more to me, than just clicking buttons in a locked room, making some random numbers in my bank account was all that my mind could think around that time. And so began my tryst with exploring life and fundamentals on which every life is built. It required me to think for long hours, days even to understand exactly how the world works, how the economy works, what motivates a person to be in sync with nature, how to develop a calloused mind, How my own body works, how relationships work at the fundamental level; among many other things.

By the end of 2018, I started HIG (High Income Generators), with the sole intention of taking a few motivated individuals and make them realize their full potential at the fastest SPEED. The primary tenet of HIG is speed. With HIG, my vision was to offer a platform and skillsets for people to work on their Minds, Body, Relationships and eventually Money. When it comes to money-making skills, I offer aspiring youngsters live training in Poker (both cash and tourneys), Trading and Investing.

Back to the present, I have multiple multiple skills, I am the best at everything I do, I run multiple businesses, I am never tired of work, I am built like a brick and trained to kill another human being within 5 seconds with my bare hands. All in all, I turned into a Man from a Boy couple years ago and I am now in the business of making MEN from BOYS.

Online poker or live poker, which is more interesting to play? And what makes online poker different from live poker?

For me, it would be online poker because I don’t like to sit for long hours waiting to be dealt one hand. I like to play multiple tables and stimulate my mind full time. I have hardly played live poker, 5-6 tourneys in Goa and 7-8 live cash sessions in the casinos. Online poker helps you put way more volume than live poker. Also, I have 4 cats and I love spending time with them while playing from home.

Playing online for long hours with big volume will make you way better poker player in the long-term than playing live poker, just because of the exponential number of hands and spots you can clock online. But playing online also restricts your people skills and social skills.
Live Poker will make you money and help you network with other people, which opens more business opportunities down the line.

So, both have their pros and cons. I would suggest you make a choice based on the type of person you are and the life you want to lead.

As an Introvert, I take the first route.

Poker is still considered to be gambling by a majority of Indians. How do you perceive the poker-related laws of the Indian government?

I wouldn’t recommend playing live poker in the first place unless it’s in the casinos and legal. If you are just starting out, you might lose a huge chunk of money playing live. Secondly, you need to have a big bankroll to play live games.

As far as legality in India is concerned, I am a very big believer of “control the things that you can control”. India runs in a certain way – people choose leaders, and then leaders make laws and work accordingly. So, if a state government decides to ban it or not allow it in their jurisdiction, so you have to abide by that. It’s not in your control!

However, there’s always a way if you really want to do something. Like, if I have to play poker and I am serious about poker, I will move out of that state and move into a place where it is legal or allowed. There’s no point in crying about it. I believe – do not complain, do not cry. Find your way out. There’s always a way out!

I guess everyone who is playing poker today is a grownup; they are not 12 or 13 years old kid and are fully capable of making a living. So, move out and go out to a place where it is legal.

What’s High Income Generators (HIG)? Also, your FB about us says DM me and you will be a millionaire in less than six months. Can you please give an insight into this stable or program run by you? I got to know about this from one of your student Shashank Shekhar.

Most stables consist of professional poker players who are playing poker professionally for 7-8 years or more. As not a big name in the industry, I decided to take a bunch of highly motivated Individuals new to poker and I decided to train them harder and faster to have them compete on that level. Basically, if you are willing to work 6 times as hard as your competitors, then you will reach the top very quickly. Again, the primary Tenet of HIG is SPEED. Everything has to be done, faster and quicker. No excuses

I also want to give all the credit to them as these are very smart and hardworking young guns. If they played on their own they would still be successful. It’s just that it might have taken them three or four years to reach there. It’s their commitment, hard work, speed and full trust in me; that has propelled them to the highest level in record time. Big shout out to Shashank Shekhar, Abhishek Gubba, Prithu Gaur, Anmol Raj Singh Chawla, SreeHarsha Boneni, Rachit Parihar and others.

Also, HIG operates like a FIGHT CLUB.
Many people think of Poker as an Individual sport, just like tennis or boxing or MMA. WRONG!!!
Only the fights are individual, but training is always in a group or a team with a coach to lead them.
All the best fighters in the world, all the best tennis players have a team to train with. Which is what I created with HIG. Also, my fighting mindset, keeps the energy high, never settling for what we have and always looking out for more. More Combat and always Combat Ready.

Is there any impact of the lockdown on your lifestyle? Like what’s your daily routine?

Can you do anything about the lockdown? The straight answer is NO!
DO NOT waste your time in things you cannot control. It’s the way of the world, not your way. You need to find your own way around it.
You have to make the best use of your environment and time.

Personally, during the COVID era, I have substantially increased my net worth, I have increased my productivity. My body is the strongest it has ever been. I have started a new batch and I am continuing my fight training on the side. So, yeah, everything’s worked out pretty well, because I made it work out.

Which are the Indian platforms you love playing at? Is there any favourite?

I don’t care much about the platforms or user experience. I only focus or care about winning and making money. Let’s say, if a platform has software that lags for fifteen minutes in an hour but has a lot of fishes, I will play there. I don’t care!

I mean people only play poker for money. So, if they say that they play poker for anything else then they are probably lying. It’s pretty simple! You might enjoy Poker, but I can guarantee that you will enjoy Poker way more if you win more money. You won’t enjoy it as much when you mostly lose money

Where do you feel a newbie can go wrong in poker? Any tips for the aspiring poker players in India?

I will say that as an aspiring player you should first learn to be patient and get a sense of what things you need to learn. Also, community >Individual. I mean a lot of people say poker is an individual sport but your prospect will be way higher when you play into a team or train as a team. The high stakes, low stakes, mid-stakes players’ work as a team. You come to a table, play together, you learn something, and you clear your doubts. I would definitely say “get some level of coaching and get into a team; Poker is a forever evolving sport and you will forever need to train to beat it relentlessly. Get into the best team”

Stay tuned to check out the next Poker Star!

Dheeraj Singh

I believe Life and Poker work on the same principle. The more you learn the better you become.