Gautam Sachdeva is no stranger to tournament success. This BPT Main Event tournament win comes a good three years after his last live title. His only tournament title before this win was the ₹30K Main Event title that he won at the 2016 DPT February edition.
Initially, Sachdeva worked in his family business but poker touched his soul back in 2008 when he was still in college. Since then, poker has become a huge part of his life and he now plans on playing LIVE internationally as well, after winning live titles domestically.
Hi! Congratulations on the BPT win. Please tell us how did you pick up poker as a career?
Thank you so much. Firstly I haven’t chosen poker as a career, in fact, I work with my father in a family run business of manufacturing Aluminium doors, windows and facades. But poker is something I’m really really passionate about and I love being at the tables whenever I can.
Could you tell us about your poker playing in the early days, what did you learn initially, the mistakes you used to make, etc.?
It was my last year of engineering at Pune University in 2008 when I was introduced to poker by my friends. We used to play very small stakes cash games of Rs 100 to Rs 200 buy-in then. I used to be on the losing side mostly but it was the nuances and the dynamic nature of poker that I got attracted to and that got me to learn more about the game.
Then we used to make trips to Goa from Pune to play at the casino to get more exposure and interact with other players to understand the game better. One of my mistakes initially used to be bankroll mismanagement. I always used to push beyond my bankroll and sometimes lose a lot. I think bankroll management is very underrated in poker but it is one of the most important principles especially for newcomers.
What were the challenges you faced?
The challenge for me initially was to stay in the game. Since I was losing a lot I was having second thoughts about myself as a poker player. I loved the game so much that I never wanted to give it up and I decided to get serious about learning the game, putting in the required study and maintaining a healthy bankroll which I really sucked at but eventually understood its importance the hard way.
Now the challenge is to keep evolving my game and to learn and try new strategies every time I play.
What is your game mix like?
It is 95% live tournaments (NLH) and 5% online cash and MTTs.
What is it that made you a better player?
Since I do not put in so much volume like so many other players, to keep up with the game I read a lot of books and watch a lot of poker videos and tutorials. Wanting to get better every time I am at the tables pushes me to work hard on my game and not repeat the same mistakes I made last time.
Who are your role models in the poker fraternity and otherwise?
Domestically, I would say, Dhaval Mudgal and Abhinav Iyer. Internationally, it would be Fedor Holz and Daniel Negreanu.
How does your family feel about this career choice?
I feel blessed to have such a supporting family. Having a set of parents who have always supported me and understood that poker is a game of skill and not gambling helps a lot. My biggest supporter is my wife who has been a pillar of strength in my poker journey and always pushes and motivates me to go and play the sport I love.
What’s your advice to a newcomer in poker?
Poker is a game of extreme variance. It’s very process-oriented and players should focus more on the process and the results will follow. Players getting in the game to make a quick buck without putting in the required study and analysing their game will fail in the long run more often than not.
What are your plans for the live and online space?
I usually come to Goa for all live tournaments. I would like to add a few international stops this year. It is the online space where I would love to put in more volume and hopefully will try and achieve that this year onwards.
Any message for our readers?
I remember a quote that I had come across a few months back, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Don’t tense up at the table so much that you forget to enjoy the experience of playing live. Poker is fun, and when we forget that, we often put ourselves in a mental space that prevents us from playing at our peak.
Let’s have some Rapid Fire Questions
I would say the first title is always special, so it would be DPT Nov 2016 Main event win.
Live poker or online poker?
Live poker any day.
Favourite Live Poker Destination, Indian and International
Goa. I haven’t played poker on the international circuit but Barcelona and Vegas should be a lot of fun.
Poker by day or poker by night?
Poker by night.
Weirdest poker moniker you’ve heard of
I don’t play online much to remember a lot of them but the two weirdest that I have come across are ‘AbbaDAbba’ and ‘MandirYahinbanega’.
Biggest pet peeve at poker tables
Some players losing their shit after a bad beat.
Favourite poker app
Don’t play online much but would say PokerBaazi and SpartanPoker.