Delhi based poker player Devesh ‘isildor1’ Thapar maneuvered his way to the top in India’s biggest online poker tournament, The MoneyMaker 2.0, early on Monday morning. The event saw 772 entries battling it out for the bracelet and a sweet payday of INR 30.57 lac. Players from across the country- pros, amateurs and recreational players, all took to the felts on the 26th of November to try their hand at this prestigious event and an opportunity to make some life-changing money. Nearly every poker player in the country had their eyes on this one, and the much anticipated event finally found a champion in Devesh. From short-stack at the money bubble to chip leader going into the final 9, Devesh shared a little about his poker journey, what the game means to him, and his journey to champion of The MoneyMaker 2.0. Let’s see what he had to say.
Q) Hi Devesh, first of all a hearty congratulations on the achievement. Has is sunk in yet? A) Thank you so much! It’s been over 5 days now but I am still not able to believe I did it, it’s a dream come true for any poker player to win this big a title, but I am really happy and I am happy to have this as my bankroll and yeahh from now ONLY TOURNAMENTS FOR ME.
Q) All of us have a unique story of how we got introduced to the game. What’s yours?
A) My Poker journey started in 2011 when I was in 11th and my friend Kartik Dhawan used to call me to his house to play ₹100 buy-in and in my pocket used to be 2k, me and a friend of mine used to go there and lose to him every day, but we used to love it as chips and cards were something new. Then slowly I got into this , When I entered my first year of law school I had a group of friends who were so inclined to play 3patti everyday, we used to bunk classes and go and play . One day I told them to start with Poker, they all were hesitant but within a week they got addicted to it, “all gamblers”. Then it was Poker everyday, “BANKROLL” was just a word like the other words, then Aditya Sardana (owner of Casino cart) started a 1k game at his place and we started playing there . The game was in my head , And this was proved the day I missed my MAIN EXTERNAL EXAMS in second year, because I was stuck in a session, hahahahah so kiddish it was but yeah that’s how you get a bag of something , the results of my law went on a major down , I flunked couple of set of exams and passed 2nd year on borderline even after being a 7 pointer in the previous history, till the time 3rd year came I went for my First IPC, where I made decent finishes and saw BIG MONEY . So I came back and started playing online on a random site for real money where I used to grind 100₹ to 10k on weekends. And then play cash while bunking college, I crushed the cash games and made a decent roll to play.
Q) Poker journeys are usually pretty rocky, would you look back at yours and say so too? Work, commitments, family?
A) Definitely! I have had so many ups and downs, just like so many other players. While playing cash game in Delhi one day I met NAVKIRAN SINGH who told me about PokerBaazi, I still remember only 4 tables used to be there back in the start and I loved playing over there, I made a lot plus there schemes where damn good. That’s how I got into main online cash games, slowly I went crazy over poker and then took a big decision in life to quit law and take my BBA degree as it was a 5 year course, and play poker, my dad was very much against it but I somehow just kept convincing them, thing weren’t easy. The Indian society and stuff, people who used to come and ask about me leaving college was a pretty difficult answer for my parents to give them, but the things went on and I became a full time player, came to Banglore for my first event where kunal patni , aditya Sushant , sahil Aggarwal and all played I chopped it 3 way with Saby (infusion Leo) and JD BHAIYA , that was the time when I found tourneys fun , then after that I never looked back , used to play here and there and got small scores for 2 years in which going broke was my every 3rd month scene , Kanish Upreti was the main guy that time, who is known as a sickoooo Cash player in India helped me a lot yes I have no shame in saying this that he provided me with even a lot of bankroll at sometimes and always told me to grind it hard way, but me finding big monies couldn’t crush that well . Slowly and steadily I learned that this game needs a lot of study and hence I studied about tournament Poker and then in Feb 2017 I made my first main event final table in a 50k ME in Sikkim in the aquarium Poker championship. After which I thought life’s easy but soon after that I lost my whole roll in cash games try to play high stake PLO, but never gave up. These ups and downs are part of the game, and I needed a big score like this one to be able to handle these swings better!
Q) You recently had to deal with some controversies in the poker community. Tell us a little about that and how is makes this win even sweeter.
A) Yes, I went in to game debts for which even I was asked out publically , but the Indian community understood what I had to say that time , I cleared them all and didn’t bother about thinking about any negativity, soon after that I shipped 15L Baazi super Sunday for 5L uptop and Hence got a lot of inspiration to never give up , planned my first WSOPE and finished 66/4015 in the colossus event in roazvadov in Kings casino where Manish Goenka the director had taken me with a lot of faith saying you will do something , then WPT India was a bit weird where I dipped a bit because of Variance , then was a big day to which everybody looked Upto , came the MONEYMAKER 30L upto 1cr Gtd. Each and everyone wanted that big score, so did I- probably more than anyone!
Q) And finally the big one, The MoneyMaker 2.0. Tell us a little about your journey to pole position.
A) The grind started and went on, near the bubble when 82 players were left and 80 paid, I was 75/82 where is was first thinking will I even min cash?? But I doubled up and then just kept the positive vibes around, I am lucky to have people like Nishant Sharma, Vaibhav Sharma and Jaydeep Dawar who were up until the end to RAIL me, then came the final table where I entered as Chip leader and lost a big hand where I had AK v QQ, I was 5/8 people left . But I still didn’t give up, just thought that today is the day and you have to win it. I got a big double up against Pulkit Goyal 88 v AQ , then I kept it going and yes MONEYMAKER was finally mine!
Q) All this dough!!! What’s the plan?
A) So this is for my future tourneys, planning to make a trip to AUSSIE MILLIONS and then invest some, rest would give a share to my mom and Dad as they deserve much more but as a start, and hopefully I can keep it going!
Q) You have played on PokerBaazi for years now. What has your experience been like?
A) Finally coming to Pokerbaazi I would love to say that these guys are Amazing , the team , their support , the way they handle things , plus they always have treated me like a younger brother to all of them , so I think whatever I say for them is less and yeah BAAZIGAR FOREVER . Thanks a lot Baazi for this wonderful platform and title which you gave me.
Thanks a ton Devesh and congratulations once again. Success stories are so inspiring solely because of the amount of hard work and dedication that is involved behind the scenes, and we are certain that your story will motivate many more to work harder towards their goals, whatever they may be!