This blog is going to be all about my first experience as a LIVE tournament player at the Deltin Poker Tournament at Goa that happened between 15th and 19th February 2018.
Thanks to 9stacks, I got an opportunity to go to Goa along with 8 other amazing women, for 6 days and participate in various events at the DPT , sponsored completely by 9stacks. Initially I hesitated when told about the opportunity, wondering whether I was ready, or even a good enough player yet considering my very limited experience with live tournaments amongst strangers. The team encouraged me to participate, and told me that the idea was to engage more, encourage more women to try their hand at the sport, and with no pressure to win, just to have fun!
And so I found myself on a flight out from Delhi, with mixed feelings, some part excitement and a whole lot of nervousness. The team took good care of us, from travel arrangements to hotel reservations, and even registering us for all relevant events. The night we arrived, we played poker at the hotel, quickly trying to learn table etiquette from the old hands, all the words that are thrown around in a live tournament, and also advice on how to play better and with confidence.
On the day of the first event, I found myself at the casino with feelings best described, as close to being Alice in wonderland. The atmosphere at the casino is alive (for lack of a better word), with bright lights, lots of people and a hall full of poker tables, and the sharp sound of poker chips! If I was nervous before, I found myself suddenly extremely excited to be present there and just took in the atmosphere.
As the time for the tournament came nearer, I again found myself feeling nervous and yet, with a whole team of fellow women along with 9stacks team cheering each other on, found myself a seat at the tournament table. The game was long and tiring, and while I came nowhere near the finishing line, I loved the grind and those few hours at the table! After sitting for hours on end patiently waiting for good cards, I could only admire and be in awe of players who invest so much time and energy in to the sport! It really is a lot of hard work, practice and skill that makes one a good player and discussing hands in breaks made me surer of what I have come to believe – It isn’t so much the cards you get but how you play them, and poker really is a mind game more than a card game!
By the second day that was the main event, I found myself less nervous, having spent the night before at the table and was more relaxed and had a lot more fun. I tried my hand at bluffing as well, and to my surprise, actually won a couple of hands! Tee hee, if that doesn’t thrill me, I don’t know what will!
Lots of people from our team did well, finishing in the money and some making it to the final table as well!
The best part of the trip for me was meeting all sorts of people in those few days, a full spectrum ranging from students to consultants to fashion designers to businessmen, not to mention the pros who have chosen to devote all their time to this sport and make a living out of it. As I interacted with people from all over the country and outside, it really hit home the point that poker really is for everyone!
After we got back, I got to know that Goa was abuzz with news of an all girls poker team backed by 9stacks at the Deltin Poker Tournament. It was quite exciting and we have all been fielding queries from journalists across the country about the poker scene in India and a lot of my women friends have been thinking about trying their hand at playing online too.
In Goa, we had all been lamenting about how in India, we don’t see any women’s only tournaments and the ones that are held are usually one off affairs, done for charity. Where’s the fun? I definitely want to see more women enter the field and do really well.
It is heartening to see that 9stacks has taken our suggestion to heart , and are introducing a weekly tournament exclusively for women players. Ladies Night will be an amazing platform for all women who are interested in exploring the game and practise in a safe and encouraging environment.
So, why not spread the word? It is after all, India’s first weekly poker tournament exclusively for women. Ladies Night happens every Wednesday at 9:30 PM. It has a guaranteed prize pool of Rs 50,000 and a buy in of only Rs 1650!
The first tournament will take place on 7th March, 2018, just in time for International Women’s Day!