The Game Changer by Pokerbaazi was first announced in December 2018 with an intent to make it the largest online poker tournament in Indian history. The first ever edition of the tournament guaranteed INR 2 CR, however an outstanding participation of 3000+ players raised the prize pool to INR 3.78 CR, which was by far the biggest prize ever awarded in India.
Its successor, Game Changer 2.0 generated a sizeable field of over 4000 entries with a massive guarantee of INR 2.63 CR. Now this was not an easy feat! Not only did the second edition need to surpass the 3000+ entry mark, but it had to do so with a reduced buy-in of INR 5500. Even though it was a daunting record to break, the tournament made sure to retain its position and name in the poker circuit by eclipsing with a margin of 1,019 entries!
Flash forward to now, we’ve got a third edition of the mega-event coming up – from 1st to 5th July, featuring 4 flights and multiple routes to entry. The buzz and excitement’s on a roll, more so than ever and we can’t wait to see who takes away the title, the grand prize, and a shot at those bragging rights!
While we’re gearing up for the third season of the colossal event, we got the opportunity to connect with one of the players, Dhinesh ‘dhineshrocky007’ Kumar who won a hefty sum of INR 2,58,984 in the last Game Changer. And this time the 25 Y/o is even more determined and headstrong as ever, to pocket the prestigious GC 3.0 title!
‘Game Changer was one of my most memorable tournaments as that was my biggest score by far’, Dhinesh reminisces about his previous gamechanger moment. ‘Earning a spot at the GC final table will always be remembered.’
Let’s see if Dhinesh has got some interesting strategies in place for the new season. Read on to know more.
- Hi Dhinesh! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey with poker?
In a gist – I’m 25 years old, originally from Chennai, completed my engineering degree in Electronic Communication. I never applied or have been interviewed for any job! My journey with poker started through Facebook in 2011 where I used to play for free. Eventually, the game piqued my interest and in 2003 I started playing with real money. Early 2014, I was given an opportunity to be a part of a small Europe MTT stable, ended up working with them for almost a year. Right after I joined spins and legends stable for a short time, and then got settled in IPP. I’ve been with them for over 2 years now!
- Take us through your last Gamechanger experience on Baazi. How was it like being among the final tablists and winning that hefty prize money?
Gamechanger was one of my most memorable tournaments as that was my biggest score by far at that time, something around INR 260-270k for 9th place. Even though I now have two 7 figure scores under my belt but earning a spot at the GC final table will always be remembered.
- When did you first realise you could make a good living through poker?
It’s been 4 years now that I’m playing poker professionally. As I mentioned earlier as well, I’ve never done any standard 9-5 jobs so all I know is poker. Plus I was making more money than I ever could through a usual job which is why I term poker as my only profession.
Of course it was a little tough to convince my parents especially coming from an Indian family, but now they’re highly supportive of me.
- How important is it for a poker/life balance? And is it balanced out for you?
The answer to this one is actually pretty simple. See, because when you take poker as a profession your entire schedule and daily routine will be completely different compared to others. For starters, it’s essential to eat healthy. I don’t know the outcome of all of this yet but I’m still taking little steps like eating good and going for a walk, maintaining physical fitness, etc.
I play 5 days a week, spend one day with family and one day on studying the game – this is basically how I’m balancing out poker and life so far.
- What is your proudest achievement in the game? What do you think would top that?
My proudest achievement was winning the “MILLY LITE” on Spartan since that was my first 7 figure score. I want to win a MAIN EVENT title on any series because I don’t have any ME titles at the moment. I’m so looking forward to bag one!
- Which tournaments on Baazi are ‘must play’ on your schedule right now?
I play all 8 pm majors on Baazi. The structure’s pretty great with good GTD.
- Do you think ‘intuition-based’ play alone can make good money in poker?
Not at all! You need a good strategy at play and always, always study your game to make good money. With hard work comes success.
- We’ve seen a sudden boom in online poker since the lockdown, do you think your productivity has changed since or does it remain unaffected?
It’s good to see the online boom during this lockdown since many people are home. This in fact took a stab on their online game. For me it’s a cherry on top because GTDs were crushed on all sites and the prize was bigger compared to normal, due to which all regulars were having a great time, nothing changed for them.
- If you had one tip for a player venturing out into live poker for the first time, what would it be?
I myself am a bad live player! But one tip I can give would be to do the math correctly and train yourself to calculate the amount of chips in pot, when you’re not in the hand.
- How much are you looking forward to the upcoming Game Changer?
I think every single one’s very eager and excited. So am I!
- What do you think of the Prize pool and Buy-in this time (2 CR at just 5K)?
I believe it’s very good for mid stake players where they can give a shot to big MTT at affordable buy-in, especially to compete in a 2 CR Prize Pool.
- How are you joining this time – satty, deposit code, direct, etc.?
I think I might use the deposit code, if not then buy-in directly.
- Do you have any learnings in place from your previous gamechanger that you’d use here?
Being patient and waiting for the right spots. Watching out for regulars and fishes, whom to counter and whom not to! At the end of the day, poker is all about adjusting accordingly to other players.
- What do you think of Baazi promotions?
Pretty good. They’re promoting the game on a huge level so that people can reach out easily. Just you wait! Soon poker will be known as the ‘Game of Skill’ all over India.
- Binge-watcher or binge-reader? Favorite poker movie/book that has helped/inspired you to improve your game
I used to watch movies when I started playing, and like everyone, ‘ROUNDERS’ was the movie that inspired me the most.
- Who’s your support system when it comes to poker?
I’d say my coach and my good brother, Danish. He always helped me and had high hopes on me, he used to say that I’ve got great potential to be a crusher! I’m sitting here talking to you because of him, and his belief in me. All credits go to him and Abhishek Rathod for giving me the opportunity to be a part of IPP.
- What does a typical day away from poker look like for you?
I’m a movie buff some days and occasionally going out with friends the other, when I’m not playing poker. In my vacay and stress-free days, I love to spend my time watching a good movie.
- Quickly! Name 3 things that first come to your mind when you think about poker.
PASSION, MONEY, PATIENCE.
- How do you get through your downslopes in poker? What’s the longest duration you haven’t played?
Downswings are a big part of poker. Just recently I was going through a downswing for 3 months where I lost around INR 8 LAKHS. The most important thing to do in a downswing is work with your game and keep reviewing yourself, also if you could get some help from your poker friends and analyse how they are working through their game.
I feel like I was lucky to be in the right hands when I was in a downswing. Kanishka from IPP gave me a mental session which helped me a lot, and now I know that I’m ready to handle any scary slope that comes my way!
- Who is the scariest player you have ever played with?
Without a doubt, Danish! Playing against him is like showing my 2-hole cards because he is the one who taught me everything so whatever I do, I’ll be counter exploited.
- If you could host a tournament anywhere in the world, and invite any 5 players, where would it be and who gets the nod?
I guess Venice or anywhere in Italy.
Danish, Anurag, Sreekanth, Ayush Garg, Vishal Madan and Rajat Sharma would be on my list.
- Please inspire our readers with tips and advice to becoming a pro player, given the troubled times and in a competitive industry of today?
Poker as a profession can get complicated. And it’s certainly not all about the money. Success in poker cannot be achieved in a short time, it’s a LONG, LONG GRIND. One should have much more patience to handle the variance and most of all, tilt.
If you need to start poker for a living, I would advise you to learn discipline, respect other players on the table, maintain a good diet and physical fitness. Most importantly – have a good BRM, and keep working on your game. If you follow these simple steps, it’ll surely help you in the long run.
Satellites are running daily so be sure to join in!