“It is a beautiful game, and there is a lot of scope in this field. But, at the same time, do not rush into it.”
Siddharth Karia aka “schemer77” on Spartan Poker took up poker professionally just a couple of months before the lockdown. In the chat session with PokerSpot, Siddharth opened up about his poker journey, IOPC July edition experience and many other things. So, without wasting much time in the introduction, let’s hear it out directly from Siddarth.
Here are the excerpts-
Hi Siddarth, thanks a lot for this chat session. First of all, I would like you to tell us a little about yourself, your educational background and other stuff.
Thanks a lot. My educational qualification is MBA from Babson College in Boston. Before that, I did my undergrad in business studies, and I hold a BBA degree from Symbiosis, Pune. While growing up, I wanted to be a cricketer which I couldn’t become. And, I also started a company of mine plus I was working in my family business also and simultaneously I started playing poker, and that’s how I got into the game.
You wanted to become a cricketer while growing up. So, till which level did you pursue it?
I played for my state. I represented under-15 and under-17 state-level team. But I couldn’t perform very well after that. I was doing very good at the school level, and district level but couldn’t excel after that.
So, this is when poker came into the picture? Did you shift towards poker after cricket?
Not really, once I left cricket, I got into academics and went on for my undergrad. In my college days, I played a lot of poker, but it was all for fun, and I never thought of taking it professionally. Interestingly, I never played poker for almost 3-4 years. I went abroad and did my MBA, and then I worked and did an internship in a steel processing unit. So, there was a huge gap.
So, when did poker return to your life?
When I returned, I was at a friend’s place, and he told me about the Poker Super League. I took part in it, and it worked for me. Before that, I had gone to a friend’s bachelorette in Macau, and I came second in a PokerStars tournament. So, everything worked out on its own.
Which format do you enjoy playing more – live or online?
Both have their essence. Like you can play much more hands in online poker and put a lot more volume. What I enjoy personally is live poker because there’s a lot more tension, excitement over the table. You can talk to people, travel around the places and after the game you can chill with your friends whom you have mostly known online.
So, if I had to choose one format which I enjoy the most, then it will be definitely live poker.
What’s your daily routine? How many hours do you grind or invest daily?
My daily routine is like I wake up around 12:00-01:00 PM. Then I take my first meal which is small snacks which are followed by lunch. So, my day usually starts at 02:30 – 03:00 PM. Then, if I am on a study spree, I usually study for 2-3 hours and take a break for one and half hour. If I am not studying, I try to complete my other works and stuff. Later in the evening, I start grinding, which goes around 02:00-03:00 in the late night. I usually go to bed by 04:00 or 05:00 AM.
You ended eighth in the IOPC leader board. Please share your experience of IOPC July edition?
It definitely was bigger, and the leader board was huge. I usually don’t go for the leader boards but as I said it had huge value plus I thought it was the best time for me to go for it as I was playing less poker comparatively. Also, I got to know more about myself through this series as when you are playing daily; you don’t get much time to recover and think. So, yes, this series helped me a lot, and from next month I am going to focus more on working on my game and studying a lot than playing.
P.S. It’s not that I will not play more; you have to keep playing to implement whatever you are learning. So, I am going to focus a lot on improving my game.
Does it get monotonous while playing daily?
Yeah, it does! For me, after the first seven-eight days it was like okay I can’t do this for eighteen days. I did it mainly because I was playing for the leader board. There were a couple of days where I used to watch something side by side while playing as the blinds were very small and I had to keep playing. And I am glad that I did it.
However, I don’t think it’s a healthy thing to do. I will think twice before doing it again.
Which are your favourite Indian poker platforms? And, how do you choose or pick which tournament to play and which not to?
The platforms which I mostly like playing a lot are PokerBaazi, Spartan Poker and Adda52. And choosing which tournament to play depends on how many tables you can play at the same time. So, if you can just play one table at a time, then you have to look for the softest tournament, i.e. where the game is easiest. For example, let’s say I have played a lot on Spartan then I know how the players on the Spartan play. Plus, I also look where that chance of winning is more.
Basically, it doesn’t depend on a single factor, but a mixture of all these helps in picking or deciding which tournament to play.
What is your support system when you have an odd day in poker?
I think a particular routine should help likes warm-ups and exercise. They can help to cool down. Apart from that, the support system for me is my friends, especially the non-poker friends. However, they know enough about the game as I have been telling them over the years.
Sometimes you need someone to hear you out. So, friends are very important in that case. Poker friends are also important, like someone senior to your or someone who has gone through it.
Moreover, the balance is also essential, i.e. being in a good space and surrounded by likeminded people. I mostly have non-poker buddies, and I am looking to add some poker friends in that circle. So, let’s see how this pans out.
Tell us about the gradual shift of picking up poker professionally. Was there any significant title or moment?
As I said earlier, it all worked out eventually. There was no such title or big win of let’s say 4 or 5 lac but yeah a series of good run convinced me to do so. You can say a good run of 4-5 months made me believe that okay now; I should invest more time in it and focus more on it. So, the scores only helped me take that decision.
At last, do you have any tips or word of advice for aspiring poker players?
First of all, I would like to say that it is a beautiful game and there is a lot of scope in this field. But, at the same time do not rush into it unless you do not have any other alternative or you are so into this. Please don’t take it up as a profession very quickly. Don’t hurry if there are two or three things on your plate and you cannot decide. There will come a time when you will know that yeah I am ready!
Stay tuned to check out the next Poker Star!