The National Poker Series by PokerBaazi was certainly the most attractive series of the year so far. With incredibly high guarantees and low buy-ins, the series gathered all the top and budding players from the country onto the PokerBaazi app for a month of intense poker action at the online felts.
But the most exciting and value heavy event of the series was, by far, the NPS Golden Rush INR 1 Crore GTD for just a buy-in of INR 550! The event received an incredible total of 19,249 entries across its 15 starting flights. However, only 1777 entries were able to make it to Day 2 of the massive tournament.
But at the end of the day, there’s always going to be only one winner and for the first time, the NPS Golden Rush champion was Vivek ‘V42V’ Bajaj! The man from Ranchi took down the massive field and the incredible payout of INR 9.1 Lakhs!
India Poker News had a conversation with the man himself to learn more about his poker career and the impact of the National Poker Series.
IPN: Tell us something about yourself, where you’re from, childhood, studies, college life, profession.
VB: I am from Ranchi. I did my schooling from Mayo College, Ajmer. I have pursued Computer Science Engineering from Manipal, and an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. I worked with Google for 6 years, and now I’m experimenting with a couple of my hobbies and business.
IPN: Tell us about the Golden Rush grind and what was going on in your head during the event.
VB: It was a great event with low buy-in high value tournaments, so the field sizes were fairly huge. The Golden Rush Finale had 1777 players, so I was just looking to keep getting past each hourly break since almost 200-300 people were getting dropped out every hour.
We only started thinking about a rank once we were in the last 100. So yes, it was about taking one step at a time since the variance in such large tournaments is super high.
IPN: Can you go through a hand that turned the tide in your favour on the final table?
VB: There was no particular hand as such, we were 1:5 behind in chip lead when the last 2 players remained. I just followed a limp-shove strategy and eventually turned around the chip lead to 1:5 in my favor. One hand that stood out was our K5 against the villain’s AK, and we hit a 5, so that was very lucky.
IPN: How has the NPS experience been? What all aspects of the NPS did you like the most?
VB: NPS has been a great experience. It had something for everyone. Low Buy-ins High Value tournaments. Also, since it was so well covered in terms of Marketing, it is enhancing the image of Poker as a skill game in India.
IPN: How do you think the game has changed over the last couple of years in terms of skill and is it harder to take down big events nowadays than it was when you started playing?
VB: Definitely, the field is only getting better each day, and one has to constantly study and be updated about new styles of play. The tournaments are much bigger now in terms of both money and number of players, so it’s definitely getting tougher each day.
IPN: How big of an impact do you think the National Poker Series will have in making poker an accepted sport in our country?
VB: I think it’s a great start. Especially with the 3 Medals in each event. I am honestly more excited about the Gold Medal for this huge field event than the winning amount. So definitely it will start tilting people’s mindset towards Poker being a sport, and a game of skill.
Here are some quick fire questions we asked Vivek
IPN: What are 3 essential things for you while playing online or live poker?
VB: Good sleep, good music and good wi-fi
IPN: Which one do you prefer: Cash or Tournaments?
VB: Tournaments any day!
IPN: First thing in your mind to do with NPS Winnings?
VB: Not to waste it away, re-invest some of it back in Poker wisely.
IPN: Which is the one thing you want the most?
VB: In Poker, a WSOP Main Event Bracelet.
IPN: Which has been the most memorable moment in poker?
VB: Winning this NPS Golden Rush Gold Medal. I have won bigger cashes in the past but this one is most satisfying because of the sheer field size.
IPN: Are you a better online player or a live player?
VB: Online for sure!
It’s not an easy feat to achieve, winning a poker tournament with a field of over 1700 players! Vivek Bajaj made it look easy and his performance on the final table was exceptional as well!
Congratulations to the man from Ranchi on this achievement and India Poker News hopes to see him in action on the online felts at PokerBaazi soon!
For more interesting interviews with some of the best players in the country, keep reading India Poker News!