Poker Bootcamp India (PBC) is a first-of-its-kind structured program, designed by professional poker players-cum-poker coaches Abhishek Goindi and Tanay Hargunaney, that focuses on not only the technical and tactical facets of the game but also the mental aspect. Poker Bootcamp India (PBC) is the first structured poker program in the country designed by two of the most relevant poker players and names in the industry, Abhishek Goindi and Tanay Hargunaney. The program is designed to teach and improve the players’ technical and tactical facets of the game but also the mental aspect.
PBC recently completed its first year and so we decided to have a short conversation with the man himself, Coach Abhishek Goindi about the way they do things over at the Bootcamp, the success of the program so far and how coaching new talent has improved his own game.
Q1. PBC recently completed one year. How do you feel about the progress in the first year and how excited are you for the coming year?
AG: I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made in the first year because you know, our ultimate goal is that the players are actually growing in terms of their understanding about the game and gaining value with what is being taught. We’ve been putting in the effort and that’s why we’ve been receiving referrals which is always a good sign. Our core objective has always been to give value to the players. We’re excited about next year because we’re getting a lot of enquiries which is great but right now, we just need to focus on advancing our content and keep growing. It’s always challenging because you know, poker is dynamic and the game is ever-changing. We just need to make sure that we’re providing the players with the right information and trends which is key and that makes it even more challenging.
Q2. The whole concept of PBC is to be a bootcamp and have live sessions with the students. How did the lockdown and the pandemic affect your whole process and preparations?
AG: I think that it was great! Our entire goal was to move online because that’s where you can scale. As soon as the lockdown was announced, within 2 days we were able to launch an online course. We restructured it accordingly because obviously it’s going to be different than the live course and we’ve been building on it for the last 6-7 months. The course itself has evolved so much over the period. The structure, the content and the trends. It’s an ongoing process.
Q3. According to the PBC website, there are currently just the three of you, Tanay Hargunaney, Shardul Parthasarthi and yourself. Do you plan on increasing the number of coaches?
AG: Definitely. But it is also going to be correlated with the demand and the bandwidth. I am caught up with running the whole business, studying, coaching, dealing with my own game. I also do a lot of one-on-ones with the campers. So I’m pretty much stacked the whole day for a good 15-16 hours a day! The number of coaches is something that we definitely plan on increasing. In fact, we’ve had guest sessions with the likes of Gaurav Sood, Raghav Bansal and Paawan Bansal as well. I plan to do more of these guest sessions with other pros. They’ve been very supportive so far for which I’m grateful. Shardul’s inclusion has been great because he’s been in-form and completely in-sync with what’s happening with the game currently. He is more than capable of guiding players on what’s the current field like and the new trends and strategies players are using. But yes, the number of coaches will increase depending on how we plan to grow and how the demand increases.
Q4. The Bootcamp is open for anyone to register and try to join. Do you have a recruitment process in place? The campers are paying a fee for the course. Do you have conversations with the campers beforehand to know why they’re actually interested in taking part in the course?
AG: We actually talk to every camper that wants to join. There’s obviously a price they have to pay for it and we want to make sure that the intent that they come with is the same as the value we’re going to be providing. So we actually do a test with the campers. Also, I personally do a lot of calls with them before onboarding them to understand where they are in their poker journey, why they want to take part and how we’re going to be nurturing them in this entire ecosystem. There have been times when I’ve actually told players not to join because I felt that we wouldn’t have been able to add value to them based on simply where they come from or mismatch in expectations.
Q5. You’ve been coaching and working on your own game at the same time. How has that balance helped you in your own game? Have you seen improvements in yourself? Recently, you’ve shipped tournaments on back-to-back Sundays!
AG: Tremendous improvement! I think that it’s propelled my game up by 5-6 notches! Now I have to lead by example. I practice what I preach. I need to consistently keep on improving and showing them the path. You can see it in the results. Three Sundays in a row I won a title. It’s helped me a lot because I study more now. I have to figure out what exactly I need to prepare for the campers because there’s so much content available. The whole team goes through a lot of content and putting it in a concise form, showing the campers the proper applications helps your own game a lot! It’s added a lot more responsibility on my game and it helps me focus a little more.
Q6. Can you give us some information about the course structure? You must have seen improvement in the numbers your students are doing. Would you like to name some of the accomplishments by some of the campers at PBC as well?
AG: Basically, the way we work is that we have an introductory course which is called the ‘Hello Poker’ course. This course is very important for players who’ve never had any formal training about poker or have never studied the game. It’s mainly a course that teaches you the key components of poker and talks about some of the universal truths about the game. We also bust some myths because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the game. We basically go into in depth analysis of how the game works and how different variables affect the decision making process. We also started something called the ‘MTT Camp’ for people who really want to move on to the next level, move on to become a semi-pro or a professional. This is where we get into a lot more technical analysis. The MTT Camp is 3 months long and although we have seen improvements in the first month itself, I still tell the campers that it’ll take 3-6 months. In terms of results, we’ve had way too many! Sonu Rathore won the Full House on Adda52 for INR 22 Lakhs, Sam Reddy finished 12th in WSOP #54 for INR 8.6 Lakhs and a lot more. We’ve had great results!
Q7. Finally, would you like to say a few words for our readers and aspiring poker players?
AG: It’s a beautiful game and it’s going to take its own course to get better at it. You need to be patient and fall in love with the game. You cannot expect to make money out of poker without falling in love with it! Just fall in love with the game and the money will follow!
The PokerShots team wishes PBC for the best in the future and hope that it continues to help guide our incredibly talented group of players because we truly do have a lot of them! The future of Poker is bright in our country!