The India Online Poker Championship on Spartan Poker was a record breaking and historic event. With a guaranteed prize pool of INR 28 Crores, the IOPC attracted the biggest and best poker players from around the country to the felts on Spartan Poker. With the Highroller and the Super Highroller titles going to the same person, Sriharsha Doddapaneni, the series became even more exciting and everyone was ready for more unexpected results and we got just that!
The final table of the IOPC Millionaire Legends INR 1.5 Crores GTD was set. Against all odds, Aniket Waghmare shipped the massive tournament against the likes of Ashish Munot, Lakshpal Singh, Ujjwal Narwal and Kartik Ved, some of the biggest names in the Indian poker scene.
Prior to the final table, Aniket’s previous best score was that of a little less than INR 9 Lakhs. The Millionaire Legends title earned him a payout that was 4x his previous best. He shipped the event for a payout of INR 36.36 Lakhs!
Congratulations to Aniket for outdoing himself and earning such a massive and morale boosting victory.
PokerShots was able to get in touch with the Millionaire Legends champion and asked him about his poker journey and what he has in store for us in the future!
PS: Aniket, tell us a bit about yourself as a person. Your age, family background and what are you upto right now other than shipping massive poker tournaments online!
AW: I am 28 years old, from Mumbai. I live with my parents and younger brother. I completed my Computer Engineering undergrad in 2016. Since then I have worked as a Data Analyst for some time until turning my focus towards poker.
PS: How did you start on your poker journey? When did you first pick up the game?
AW: Before 2014, I didn’t even know what poker was. The first time I played was in my college fest where Adda52 had arranged a live poker tournament. I memorized all the hand rankings and rules in 15 minutes, and of course I busted out quickly. But I got a Rs.250 gift card to deposit on their site, and that’s how I got introduced to online poker. I started playing more seriously only after 2018 though, after my first Destiny win on Spartan Poker.
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PS: Congratulations on your IOPC Millionaire Legends victory, tell us some excerpts from the tournament.
AW: I had entered Day 2 with only one stack, so I knew I had to make it count. But it was a decent stack and I was able to maneuver through the field. I got very short near the end but managed to double near the FT bubble and went into the FT with a decent stack. From there on it was an uphill task with everyone on that table being a complete crusher. But luckily for me I ran hot on the FT and I managed to make the best of it. It was unnerving but also fun to win my biggest score against such great players on live stream.
PS: How does your family feel about you playing poker?
AW: They are getting to terms with it I think. There is generally not much awareness about the game in India. Plus with the gambling aspect, I can understand their apprehensions. So I am trying to show them how much of a skill game this is. I think they’ll come around soon.
PS: Who are your role models in the poker fraternity and otherwise?
AW: I look up to anyone who shows consistency, hard work, discipline and skill. BenCB, Fedor Holz and Stephen Chidwick are my absolute favourites. And there are many who embody these values in today’s Indian poker community. Gaurav Sood, Abhishek Goindi, Nikita Luther, Neel Joshi, Sriharsha, Kartik Ved – these are some of the guys I admire a lot. There are many others as well. But the person I consider a role model for me is Anant ‘Pro’ Purohit. In addition to all the qualities above and being one of the biggest Indian crushers, he has been like a big brother and friend to me in my poker journey. I admire not only his poker prowess but also how great of a person he is.
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PS: Do you remember any crucial hands or moments that cemented your position in the tournament?
AW: Yes, there were two very crucial hands on the FT. One was when I was 4/4, and flopped a set with my 6-6 vs the chip leader’s top pair+flush draw. I won a big pot with that one and moved very close to chip lead. Another was shortly after when I flopped a set with 5-5, again versus the chip leader Ashish Munot’s top 2 pair. That helped me get a commanding chip lead 3 handed. With my 80bb stack vs the others’ 20bb stack, I could just keep playing very aggressively. In keeping with the theme of me running pure vs Munot, in the final hand I hit 2 pairs with my J-4 against his A-J and shipped the tourney!
PS: What are your future aspirations when it comes to playing poker?
AW: Well, my goal is to be one of the absolute best in the game. I am not chasing after big scores, but consistency. So this year I want to focus on becoming more disciplined, consistent, studying harder and understanding the game more deeply. And hopefully the good scores will keep coming! Aniket Waghmare is destined for the top. Hopefully, we continue seeing him getting big scores and maintain the consistency which makes a player the best in their respective fields.
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