“Poker is mentally stimulating and a respectful game”: says Poker player Avinash Koneru

Poker has become one of the popular card games in India; be it diwali party or any get together, a round of poker is an absolute must. Factors like: the increasing number of players, more playtime hours, money spent on poker  have skyrocketed and these are responsible for why stakeholders are organising poker tournaments since the pandemic and continued to do so. Thanks to these tournaments a lot of players are recognised today and the society gets chances to know their Poker story. Recently Adda52 organised Adda52’s Big Millions poker Tournament where an IT professional Avinash Koneru won a prize money of Rs 31 lakh with a buy-in of Rs 1,100.

Koneru shared with Animation Xpress, “I love winning. I can take losing, but more than that there was a lot of thrill, excitement and hope in the long journey of ups and downs of Adda52’s Big Millions Tournament which gave me an enriching experience, which I will cherish as a good memory for the rest of my life. Thanks a ton to Adda52  for providing me such an amazing and thrilling  experience.”

He was introduced to pokere by his friend five years back. Apart from that, being an IT professiona,l he is developing his own startup  and aims to impact millions of lives with a few lines of code. For him Poker is his side hustle which he enjoys a lot.

He has been a part of other tournaments as well. He shared , “I won other major tourneys in Adda52. I came second in the Full House tournament, but I couldn’t replicate the similar results in other platforms as I personally feel that players like me who play for fun of the game as a side hustle, are at a disadvantage elsewhere and more advantageous to pros with bigger bankroll (money).”

He believes Poker is a much better, mentally stimulating  and respectful  game, and it will thrive as the awareness increases. “While growing up, I was a very good chess player. I wanted to be a professional chess player as chess was mentally stimulating and fun game till you challenge yourself by playing with a better/equal opponent. Forget about the school kids of my age, after sometime, I was winning against my father and my elder cousins. I surprised  many by a win against a much older and respected player at my city level Hyderabad chess tourney, but I couldn’t express my experience of the game to my social circle (none of my school friends would understand) as it’s just one continuous event. The other person should have skill to see how the endgame is unfolding itself so I was missing the social aspect of experiencing joy with family and friends unlike poker, which is a series of discrete and independent hands which even my mom was able to understand (and some independent hands) enjoy and experience my win. My whole family and friends experienced joy and celebration with my poker win.”

He disagrees with the statement that society looks down upon Poker. Infact, he thinks poker is at a higher pedestal than his other favourite games like Chess and many think the same way. He thinks there is a lack of awareness among people about poker. He did not pursue poker as a profession as it was introduced to him much later when his IT career was at its peak, which he was already in love with. On the other hand he still believes that his family and friends would have supported him even if he had switched his career choices to poker 15 years back during the inception of his professional life.

He believes Poker is a mental game that requires skills of self awareness and growth mindset. For a rookie/budding poker player, understanding the mathematical aspect of the game like probability, equity and hand ranges is essential alongside understanding oneself and focusing only on the things that one could control can build their game.

 “In my opinion everyone should try playing poker. If you want to play as a pro (professionally), that’s a great career with a good life and freedom. If you want to play in your free time, that’s a great side hustle. You could still make money in your free time along with having a lot of fun. Regardless of the result, if you win or lose in the game of poker, you will have at least some moments of great experience, fun, a mixed set of emotions and subtle life lessons to take away from the table. Just know and stick to your budget if you are for pure entertainment; instead of a movie ticket, play poker within the same budget which is more interactive, fun and more exciting.”