Poker Ke Side Effects : Juggling Life and Poker

Juggling Life and Poker

Hi guys!

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by werewolf, maidumji, happyknight and betazoid over the past one year and was inspired to write one about my own poker journey. Believe me, it’s been a long and arduous one. Quite unlike my username, @easymoney.

I’ve been playing poker since 2010 ie 8 years  now. I developed a tremendous liking for cash games quite early on, but as all cash game lovers can vouch for, the grind is steep and full of surprises. Especially when it comes to balancing our poker selves along with our regular social selves.

I admire the game strategies employed by Tom Durrr Dwan and try to imbibe his aggro style into my game. I’m not going to lie to you, my rise in poker came with tremendous financial setbacks, especially in the beginning. Like all newbies, I lost money initially because I wasn’t ‘reading the table’ right, I was only focused on my game and did not really observe the other players and what they were doing. I got bad beats and unbelievable coolers and like every other newbie I got affected by them. There were times where my bankroll would get exhausted thrice a year and there were times when I would have to borrow from family, which i agree, isnt ideal.

I would avail bonuses and rakebacks offered by most sites, but at the end of the day, I’d  lose everything on the cash table. To gain back some money, I would participate in cash grinds and somehow would never be able to ‘make the cut’ on the leaderboard.  I would be playing day in and day out. My sleep schedule suffered, my personal life also got a little haywire. My wife and I would go out for dinner or for shopping and I would be playing on my phone all the time. Balancing life and poker together was getting very tough.

But it wasn’t all bad though. The more I played, the more I learnt and the better I got.  As I played on various sites and got exposed to different strategies used by more serious players. I observed the game more carefully, read up on the internet, watched videos on YouTube and slowly I began to win. I still had a long way to go before I got really good at the game.

Very soon, 9stacks launched their Skills Dashboard, which promised to pinpoint the problems in my game minutely. I would be able to understand what hands I win on, which type of stakes  I am better playing on.

I had played on 9stacks earlier and did have quite a good time on not only their cash tables would also participate in their tournaments and win!  Some of the best players in the industry played here and won. There were other players doing so well on the platform, I wanted in on all that.

So when the Skills Dashboard happened, I was thrilled.

Through the Skills Dashboard analytics, I realised where the leaks  in my current game really were. This analytical, data driven approach to my game helped me realise which hands and in which position did my raises help me win. I could see how I have performed across the number of hands I have played. I realised that I was a better cash game player and my tournament strategy was also beginning to improve.

Once I got on this wagon, I decided to up the ante in terms of developing myself as a serious poker player. I allotted strict hour limits for my poker playing time. I ate better, I tried to focus on my health. Started yoga and meditation inspired by some players . I have seen the change in my game now. I come  in the money regularly. I am able to get into the top ranks of the cash grind contests on 9stacks. This boosts my confidence and every poker player will agree that winning a poker game definitely is the best high. Ofcourse, personally, my life is much less chaotic and much more relaxed.

During the #LFGVegas challenge on 9stacks, I won an iPhone8, I won the trip to Vegas worth 2.5 Lakhs, a hefty rake back , because these guys do have the best offers, rake back deals and and achievable contests.

In the current Aussie100 contest, I’ve currently locked in about 75K and Im hoping I can make 50k points before 15th December to win my trip to Melbourne and play during the Aussie Millions in January next month.

I’m glad to share that I have done better as a poker player here on 9stacks and have been trying to develop as a serious one. I like how the platform has made it easy for me. I have my bad days but  I don’t feel the tilt as badly now. I am glad to say that I’ve begun playing more responsibly now.

My advice for everyone who’s wanting to do well at poker:

  • Play WITHIN your limits

  • Have a life BEYOND poker

  • NEVER take  loan from friends to play poker

  • MAXIMIZE on Rakebacks and Promos

  • On a bad day CHANGE your Login and password :p (That’s the only thing you can change in the tilted state, right? )

Signing off for now,


How to read hands in poker

 Most new poker players begin their journey into the game by playing on the small stakes.

While that is a good way to begin the game, it is not something you should continue for a long time if you want to make serious inroads into playing good , skill based poker. This is because at smaller stakes, one tends to not be careful of their betting sizes as the initial investment is low.

Hand reading in online poker is one of the most important skills required in poker.

This is hard work. It requires all your attention , your patience and you will need to make quick decisions to master this skill.

In this article, we will attempt at jumping into the complex world of poker hand reading techniques and  figure out how to read an opponent’s hand taking into account all their tells.

 Before we start, we need to address the two common misconceptions:

 Myth 1 : All players on the table are ‘random’ and can have ‘anything’

It is true that there is some randomness to every player’s game strategy , however, it doesn’t stay that way too long.

Your opponents are can be truly arranged with their play, they could have “anything.” There are some hands that they will fold, and there are some hands they will never fold. Your goal is to assess their method or at least deduce enough about it to figure out how to capitalize on it. Remember this: There is always some method to their madness.

 Myth 2. : Hand Reading is the answer to all the problems in poker

 The second misconception is to do with the term “hand reading,” which is really a misnomer. As beginners, we are obsessed with only looking at OUR game and we tend to not look at the table and miss out key details about other players and their game strategies.

All good poker players know that to do well in poker your aim should always be to determine the hand ranges and not just read the hand of the opponent.

 This means that you should not know only care  about what exact possibilities your opponent has, but you must also worry about the possibilities and combinations that he could have and what move should be made by you to  get the best average result against all of the possibilities.

Hand Reading in Poker

 Consider the scenario where your opponents play half of the cards they’re dealt. How can you figure out what cards  they have precisely? But there’s a probability of guessing a couple of important things about what they don’t have. Your opponents who will call with half their hands still fold the other half and that folding range might look like unconnected junk hands.

 Your main objective while trying to read someone else’s poker hand , should not be to just  figure out whether they have something even better and find a fold, but should also be able to compare it with your hand to see if it is weaker than yours. You need to be especially aware of the ‘tells’  when your opponents put money into the pot despite having a hand worse than yours.

Every once in a while, you’ll find that you’ve gotten outwitted, or that you were ahead and then got outdrawn on your turn. As long as you have accurately determined that you would usually be ahead when the money went in, then you did all the hand reading you need to do.

This is only the introduction to hand reading in poker. We’ll be back with a more detailed version very soon.

Stay tuned!

Team 9stacks

Top 10 casinos around the world that every poker player dreams of visiting

Many globetrotters expect the most extraordinary variety and peculiar kind of facilities by their chosen hotel or resort as offerings. They are just as important as their vacation destination. This is predominantly true of international gambling fans who pursue the most breathtaking and deluxe accommodation in the most alluring, attractive and picturesque spots, merged with the world-class land casino. When it comes to land casinos with slots in abundance, the list is exhaustive, but here are the topmost ten biggest land casinos to consider:

1. The Venetian – Macau, China

 Its sister casino is the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, which is based in the Chinese city of Macau and is currently the world’s biggest casino resort. Since its grand opening in August 2008, this casino has attracted many millions of gamblers and tourists alike from all over the world, and the reason is because its spectacular.

Situated on 980,000 of Macau’s exclusive and picturesque Cotai Strip, the 3,000 room Venetian Macau has 51,000 of gaming space which houses more than 800 table games and 3,400 slot machines. This means if a player had to spend one minute playing every slot in the casino, it would take over 56 hours to play them all. Even the world’s premier online casinos don’t have that many slots.

2. City of Dreams Casino – Macau, China

China homes the world’s second-biggest land casino resort, the City of Dreams Casino, which is also in the gambling-friendly city of Macau. This is owned and operated by the Melco Crown Entertainment.

Constructed on an area measuring over 113,000 sq. mt, the City of Dreams Casino has a gaming floor area of almost 40,000, with over 450 table games and 1,500 slots. With over 1,400 most luxurious rooms and suites, this casino resort invites wealthy visitors from China and abroad.

3. Foxwoods Resort Casino – Ledyard, USA

Foxwoods Resort Casino, the third largest casino resort in the world and largest in the United States, is located farther up the East Coast in the small town of Ledyard, Connecticut. Opened in July 1986 and since its launch over 30 years ago, Foxwoods Resort Casino remains America’s biggest resort casino at over 840,000, 32,000 of which is gaming floor. With over 800 table games and 3,400 slot games, it offers competition to The Venetian Macau’s gaming floor. Renowned for its serene forest setting, this casino attracts sophisticated gamblers and tourists alike.

4. Ponte 16 Casino Resort – Macau, China

The Gambling city of China, that is Macau, is also home to Ponte 16, a popular casino resort situated next to the city’s renowned Inner Harbor. Since its opening in February 2008, Ponte 16 has acquired the world attention for its picturesque location, state-of-the-art table games and slots, and for housing Asia’s first ever Michael Jackson Gallery.

The casino owes its amazing and appealing appearance to a combination of Portuguese / Chinese immense architectural styles. Built on over 120,770 sq. mt of real estate with a view described as “one river, two banks,” the casino’s gaming floor measures 25,000 sq. mt and contains 109 table games and 300 slot machines.


5. MGM Grand – Macau, China

The MGM Grand is yet another paradigm of a colossal Chinese casino resort galvanized by its prominent Las Vegas counterpart. Inaugurated in December 2007, the MGM Grand Macau was the consequence of a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho.

Constructed on 288,000 of land, the property’s golden-hued exterior boasts three wave-shaped tiers designed to reflect the ocean swells of the South China Sea. With a gaming floor measuring just over 20,000, gamblers and holidaymakers alike can enjoy over 400 table games and 1200 slot machines to suit the expense of any slot fan.


6. Rio Casino Resort – Klerksdorp, South Africa

The casino residing father south to South Africa and Rio Casino Resort, is a vast gambling and entertainment complex. Situated 160km from Johannesburg, Rio Casino opened in May 2002 under the name Tusk Rio Casino Resort and is owned by local hotel, resort and casino giant, Peermont Global.Rio Casino is a huge casino of South Africa’s 38-licensed land casinos and also the largest casino in Africa and one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere. Despite the size of its gaming floor (24,743, Rio has relatively few games; just 11 table games and 274 slot machines.

7. Crown Melbourne – Melbourne, Australia

The Crown Melbourne is extensively considered as one of the Australia's ‘gaming jewels.’ It was inaugurated in June 1994 in the Northbank of Melbourne but was then relocated to the Southbank in 1997, where it still operates even today. Owned by Crown Resorts, it covers 510,000 sq.mtof real estate.

With a marvelous view of the Yarra River, gaming fans can look forward to games from over 540 table games and 2,628 slot machines. Crown Melbourne has a total gaming area of 20,438

8. Trilenium Casino – Buenos Aires, Argentina

The largest bricks and mortar casino in Argentina, and in South America and lying to the west of South Africa is Trilenium Casino. Since it inaugurated some years ago close to Buenos Aires, it has been a very popular gaming, dining and entertainment destination for locals and tourists too. It houses many of the city’s and the Tigre Province’s finest restaurants.The Trilenium Casino doesn’t offer accommodation. It has about 74 table games and over 1,800 slot machines scattered across its 16,700 gaming floor.


9. MGM Grand – Las Vegas, United States

The United States accommodates the MGM Grand Las Vegas, the largest single building hotel in the country with over 5,100 rooms. It was inaugurated in December 1993. Owned and run by MGM Resorts International, the MGM Grand is situated on the famous Las Vegas strip.

Out of the MGM Grand’s approximate 453,248 property, 15,930 is used for its gaming floor which houses roughly 140 poker and table games and 2,500 slot machines and other gaming machines. Its famous for its lion logo, before a renovation in 2012, the casino resort drew vast crowds with its exclusive glass-sided lion habitat constructed within the casino floor area.

10. Casino Estoril – Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Casino Estoril,is the only entrant from Portugal and Europe, and the most oldest, dating back to 1916.The casino served as the inspiration for the James Bond novel Casino Royale. Today it attracts many local and foreign gamblers and voyagers from all over the globe.

With a vast selection of table and poker games, and 1,100 slot machines, there are more than enough games to accommodate even the most seasoned gambling fans.

Werewolf Speaks- Why We Play Poker


Hello there!

Here I am, with my debut poker blog on 9stacks!

A small disclaimer first - I don't consider myself an expert or a Guru of poker, I am learning it along with a lot of you.

In this blog, I am sharing what I have learnt rather what I feel about poker at this point in time.

What a wonderful time it is for poker in India with so many poker sites springing up offering so much value to not only the pros, but also to the recreational regs! Whether you enjoy the Multi Table tournaments (MTTS) or the cash grind there is enough action and multiple options for you. Not just that, there are enough poker rooms both B&M and online with various tables to offer you the stakes that you prefer. Micro to nosebleed whatever works for you.

Add to that, the variants that online sites offer you and you have a complete fun package available at the comfort of your home. Texas Holdem, Omaha, Open Face Chinese are some various forms that you can easily find online.

A few years back (in 2013 if you must know )I chanced upon this fabulous game on Zynga poker online and immediately fell in love.

It was competitive, it appealed to my mathematical abilities, gave me a high I didnt think i’d have, it was amazing!

I got so fiercely hooked onto it that during festive times around Diwali that I became a pain for my friends, thanks to me insisting on playing poker whereas everyone around was happy and comfortable with the regular teen patti game. :p

Well, the times have changed and Poker is replacing the normal Teen Patti games in most friendly house games, and not just during Diwali but the whole year around!

You can imagine how happy that makes me-I am not a social outcast anymore.

That got me thinking as to why do people play poker.

Now, if you ask a POKER PRO, they will tell you it’s to make the most money out of every hand you play, but that's not true for mere mortals like us. Yes we do want to win, but poker appeals to a lot more in people than the need to make a fortune.

People play poker because it is a game of skill, It gives their ego a boost, it is fun to play, they think they can beat it, it makes them feel cool, it gives them a high- the reasons can be numerous. Give me your reasons in comments below.

Once we have established the reasons that appeal to the poker player in us comes the hard task of learning the game and I say hard because most of us have a job, some hobbies, maybe families to look after and other social obligations.

Now one thing is certain, not all of us are thinking of beating the Giants in World Series of Poker (WSOP) so we don't need to take the pressure of mastering the game, it can remain fun for us. But those who do have bigger poker dreams have an uphill task. You see like most other sports poker also needs learning, practice and a disciplined approach. If you want to pursue poker seriously then you will also need to draw out short term and long term plans towards the success of the same.

In the next editions we will talk about various topics like the fun poker terms, the learning curve for beginners, poker etiquette, what all the poker sites in India are offering to the players in terms of gaming experience and promotions etc. and how to make the most of it. If there is any topic that you would like to read about feel free to comment below and I will try to incorporate it too.

Cheers and keep grinding.


10 reasons why playing poker is the best

Poker is an awesome sport to pursue. It’s so wholesome- it challenges the mind, it is extremely exciting when you get the hang of it, oh, did we mention the moolah you get to make?

Read on to know how cool poker is and why it is a sport you HAVE to play!

 No Barriers

To venture into poker, you only need a desire to actually play the game. We’re serious! Start playing for small amounts and then when you are more comfortable with your style and strategy, experiment with a variety  of bigger amounts to arrive at a sweet spot!

Skills for life

Observing people, reading through facades, emotional control, financial discipline, risk assessment, weakness analysis, drawing lessons from mistakes and bad circumstances, working to achieve long-term goals..  Playing poker equips you with skills that will last you a lifetime. You want to get street smart and extremely savvy, PLAY POKER NOW!

To learn poker, you really don’t really have to have deep pockets

Poker is extremely popular and you just have to google the term to find yourself inundated with the choicest of Youtube videos that teach you poker.

You can begin watching these videos to learn the basic steps. Practice is important, so make sure you play as much as you can.

 Get social

Regardless of whether you play online, or, play at home, periodically gathering with friends and colleagues, poker is a universal language that unites people all over the planet.

There are no limits to the money you earn in Poker

There are literally NO LIMITS to the amount of money you can earn or the amount of time you can spend playing poker.  The more you play, the more you learn, the

You are the owner

You report only to yourself, the mathematical variance and that  green curve on your chart.

Flexible schedule if you play Poker Professionally

What could be better than waking up at 7 am and realizing that today is Saturday, and you do not need to go to work and all you have to do is get on your mobile or your laptop and play poker all day?


If you have a laptop and connection to the Internet any place on the planet can become your office.

Play and learn from the best

Unlike most competitive areas where you will never meet and communicate with the best players / athletes, in poker you can check your skills and knowledge against the best of the best on any day. How do you do that? You just observe their game and watch them reveal their tells!


Yes, discipline is a  key skill that has to be learnt and followed all your life. Why not equip yourself with it by playing poker? Playing poker teaches you to wait for the right cards AND the right time to play them to reap rewards. In life, the lesson you can carry over from this is to curb your impulses and wait for the right time to make your move and achieve the goals you have set for yourself.


Team 9stacks

9stacks launches the Aussie100 contest for all Aussie Millions hopefuls


Hey folks,

Playing poker during the Aussie Millions- one of the biggest poker tournaments in the world has always been a dream for most poker players in India. Like the World Series of Poker that happens in Europe and North America, Aussie Millions, is the southern hemisphere’s biggest and the richest poker tournament series. Some of the biggest names in the field participate and showcase their skills on the tables in Melbourne every year, during this tournament series.

Did you think it was impossible for a player like you to play there?

9stacks is going to change that for you.

*drumrolls *

9stacks presents the Aussie100 challenge where 100 qualifiers (Yes! It could be you too!) get to fly to Melbourne Australia with us during the Aussie Millions this January 2019! Stand a chance to play poker and rub shoulders with some of the biggest names on the tables

All you have to do is participate in this milestones based cash grind spread across 3 months, from 13th October to 16th December, 2018, earn 50K points to win the Australia package worth 2 Lakhs!

But hey, all you tournament players have a chance to participate in the various tournaments we are going to host during this contest. The tournaments for the Aussie100 will act as boosters for your cash grind. This means that winning a special Aussie100 tournament can also get you to Australia!

In July we became the first Indian online poker company to take 25 Indian poker players- the largest contingent of players ever to be taken by an Indian poker company to play poker during the World Series of Poker. The 9stacks Team India, which consisted of 25 qualifiers of the merit based #LFGVegas contest gave a stellar performance at the WSOP, with two of the members, Nishant Sharma and Vivek Rughani made history by leading India into the top 100 ranks in the Main Event at the WSOP 2018. The team consisted of mostly amateur regular players for whom this was their maiden foray at the WSOP.

We have always believed that poker is for every one who dreams big and has the zeal to excel at the game. As facilitators of those dreams, we are on our toes everyday, trying to come up with the most do-able, yet the most exciting and innovative online poker contests and tournament formats so that YOU know that your poker dreams are going to come true!

Participate in the Aussie100 contest, qualify for 9stacks Team India and fly to Melbourne Australia with us!

Read more about the contest here

See you at the tables,

Team 9stackst

Channeling my inner poker diva at the Deltin Poker Tournament


The only time I felt remotely like Miss Hawa Hawai,  a role the recently departed Goddess of Indian Cinema played in Mr India, was at the Deltin Poker Tournament a couple of  weeks back. Like an imposter but so totally right for the part!

9stacks was promoting women poker players.  9 of us were invited to be the 9 Missketeers to represent them at event in Goa. I was suddenly ticking off a thing on my bucket list except it had never featured there. My love affair with poker was new and passionate. From online poker to a live poker tournament, was too much to imagine. Did I deserve it? I just let all the doubts go and let the good times roll!

It was to be an all expense paid trip to play at the main event of the DPT. The ticket cost to the event was 35k. The last gift I got for that amount was my wedding set from my mother in law which wasn't even pretty.

Soon after landing in Goa, I met the team and we headed for the DPT. I was on my table by 7pm. It was my first trip to an Indian casino. The place was impressive. The tournament room itself had around 35 to 40 tables poker tables set up. The chandeliers shone bright.  About 50% of the players on those tables were wearing dark glasses. (literally guarding their expressions) I could hear the sound of the poker chips. It was music to the ears.

After signing up, I was assigned table 16 seat 5. As luck would have It, I was seated on a table of 4 sharks, 3 of whom were legendary. (names withheld to protect their ego.) It took a few hands to get comfortable. There was a newfound respect for the gaming software. It did so many things automatically- it put the small blind, big blind, put in the ante, calculated a minimum raise, warned me if I am folding when I can check -basically prevented me from looking stupid. And I did look pretty stupid that night. I made silly mistakes and that testosterone filled table was most likely thinking- what the hell is SHE doing here? She should be making bhindi at home.

Soon enough, all the poker training of so many 9stacks tourneys came marching out.

Won many hands, folded many more, piled up a nice stack, had the immense pleasure of watching 3 of those sharks busted out before me.

There were times when one of these sharks would take as much time to play his move as Erin Brockovich took to win her class action suit, but apparently that was allowed. It was unnerving the way these men studied your expression all the time.

I think women here have a distinct advantage especially the ones who have spent time in a joint family. We have mastered the art of schooling our expressions. The mother in law ranting about the burnt dal, the father in law screaming about his missing underwear, the brother in law going crazy looking for the gift from his girlfriend - and we learn to look concerned. We learn to look shattered. We learn to treat it like a global crisis. We learn to have an impassive face. Infact, a shark even complimented me with great annoyance “I can’t make out anything from your expression”.

And at that I finally gave my most expressive smile. Yeah boy! I have THE poker face. 

Players are shoved from one table to another, as players get busted out, and with the view of keeping the quorum of a table between 7 to 9 players. I was shuffled thrice that night.

I lasted till 2am.

7 hours amidst poker's best.

I was finally busted out when I went all in post flop on a hand of pocket 3’s. The flop was 663. Full House. I almost smiled there. A wee curve at the corner of my mouth. The sharks at Table 7 went all in too. Both had trips with 6K and 6A. Heavy hand All our hands were on the table. The turn is a 7. They both are already mourning the death of their hand. And the river is a 7.

The other two now have it better and I have a bad beat.

I go bust.

And I wince.

But then one thing poker has taught me, is to be present. To not let this affect my game later. Bad beats are a part of the game and there's no point rueing the loss when i can cherish the experience and the feat that i lasted 7 hours in the tournament among poker's top rung! (I cannot reiterate that fact enough)

I have had the time of my life. Every minute of the grind was sheer joy. Im back to the online game on 9stacks with a vengeance, hungry to play more and learn more.

A big thank you to 9stacks for the diva like experience. The thought of that night still thrills the cockles of my heart.

Rittweiler signs off.

Maidumji's Poker Chronicles Part 4- Maidumji debuts at the Deltin Poker Tournament 2018

Maidumji at DPT.jpg

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!

See you!


Poker Diaries – The saga of Live Tournament


Can you imagine a Koi fish swimming with sharks in a deep mesmerising ocean? That too competing with hammer head sharks, white sharks, tiger sharks and other not very little sharks to get to the emerald shoreline! Sounds very intimidating, adventurous and downright exciting indeed!
The Deltin Poker Tournament in Goa from Feb 15-19 is beckoning this Koi to take a leaping jump into exciting world of live poker tourneys. Wow! Whew! Am I really taking the plunge? Yes, yes and yes ☺
9Stacks has very graciously decided to go ahead with a 9-woman team (“the 9 Missketeers”- I like that name!) to the DPT event, including India's first professional woman player and also yours truly, Betazoid the Koi fish. Is it to promote women’s participation or to promote online poker as a game? Maybe both, but I for one am looking forward to meeting professional players.
I feel like a school child getting ready for exams, learning strategies on how to play poker. Guess I should learn a few things before facing the big sharks.

But let me tell you something, poker terms are driving me Nuts and at every Turn, a fresh River of Info comes from the Backdoor to Gutshot my Pockets or my Suits giving me no Outs for a Set. Yikes, scrabble is a simpler game!
Never mind the terms, we Kois are the Underdogs and are entitled to our right to ignorance. So, leaving aside the crazy terms, I have been going through some gems from professional players. Though much of it has flown off the top of my head, I have managed to garner some useful tips ☺
PPs (Professional Pokerists) watch out for the Kois. We are coming to have fun and maybe, just maybe make the emerald shore. I have bundled the nervousness and inexperience and buried it in my backyard and jumped up and down on it for good measure.
Complicated and mind boggling as it is, poker has me in its grip as a challenging game. I am now convinced that it is a Sport more than the G word, though more suited to the sedentary types and possibly night owls ☺
-    Betazoid

Poker diaries: The Art of Bluffing- A Noob’s guide to the Poker Land

The Koi is back!

Now that I have learned to compartmentalise poker players, I must say that I am really enjoying myself. No huffs, no whining, no getting irritated.... just play the hands you are dealt! How you call, judge, raise or fold is what makes one a good poker player.
People often crib about cards like 9-2, 8-3, Q-4 in hand. They are vague combinations, to say the least, unless the Flop reveals a double. How to deal with cards like that – just fold them or pray for the River to Turn your luck or simply bluff your way by going all-in? 

Before I begin waxing eloquent on the subtle art of bluffing, a word of caution - bluffers, bullies and agros BEWARE. The Kois (I mean newbies) are fast acquiring skills to penetrate the fine art of deception.

I have often wondered, cribbed, sulked and gotten frustrated with all the posturing, bullying and bluffing that goes on endlessly in poker games. Grrr. Why, oh why all these dramatics? Why can’t people be straight forward and play hands trusting Ms.Luck faithfully?

Wait a minute!

That thought process triggered something so intrinsic and minimalistic that I simply couldn’t believe the answer – it would be boring! How could I even ignore the fact that bluffing, duping, hoodwinking, misleading and whatever else you call the art of deception, is the innate human trait upon which civilisations were built. Stupid me 

Once that piece of jigsaw fit into the larger picture, I began analysing the intriguing art of bluffing and bluffers. Over the past few weeks I set myself out to categorise the different types of bluff. Here is a small list (the search continues)

1.    Royal Bluff: Usually happens when the shark has a Broadway hand (AKQJ). Most sharks go for a handsome pre-flop raise. Now, if the Flop turns up sad cards like say 925 the sharks usually go for bloating the pot.  Whether to call or not rests solely upon your hand.
2.    Straight Bluff: This is a tricky one. No matter what hand they have, some sharks just raise and raise and raise, even if the hand is 72 in different colours. Fold works best possibly, but risk can double or triple your stack! Not recommended for the faint hearted.
3.    Flush bluff: This is a straight forward bluff when there is a flush draw. Unless you have a pair in the draw or a strong flush card, this is dangerous to continue. Learnt this the hard way, having lost to bigger cards. 
4.    Double Whammy Bluff: The most misleading of all the bluffs. The shark has met your call up to the Turn, giving no indication of a winning hand. Suddenly on the River, no matter what card, the shark raises ridiculously. He will be holding a full house or a flush and he has given you no clue. You confidently raise on your two pairs and plop you go.
5.    Lag bluff:  When no one is keen on calling, just checking their way to see the next card, this joker suddenly disgorges a crazy amount or goes allin! 

6.    One-upmanship bluff: This is probably the most common among bluffs. Ahem, the younger lot is prone to this, especially in a short duration tournament. At least, it works for one of the racing lot  
7.    All-in Bluff: This is most common in low buy-in 15 minute tourneys, done either to up the stack or go in for rebuy. Go for it if you are in the ‘take a chance’ mood.
8.    Serial bluff: This is a habitual compulsive disorder. Defies all logic and usually the pretenders are out and someone’s stack gets fattened. They are easy to spot 

The search continues, and all said and done, though I have bluffing jitters, I have come to accept bluffing as a natural part of poker. Whether I have learnt to bluff or not, call and see 

Betazoid signing off...