In Conversation with one of India’s top poker pro, Abhishek Goindi

Beach is his paradise and poker is his life, in talks with India’s professional poker player Abhishek Goindi on his poker journey, pokerbootcampindia, structuring mindset of the poker students and much more.

One of the earliest Indian professionals making news on the global poker circuit, Abhishek Goindi is one such player who has played a key role in promoting poker in the country. Ranked among the top pros in India, this talented pro has been consistently performing amazingly well in the industry and his consistency can be judged by the fact that he finished ITM more than 10 times in the IPC. This was by far the highest number of ITM finished ever for any player in the IPC, not only IPC he has the maximum titles of live poker tournaments in India. 

Well, IPC is just one of the parts of his career success, Goindi has won a huge number of tournaments be it live or online, national or international. He is the first Indian to claim the IPOY back in 2011, have coached so many kids from India and International to play poker and mentored them with his great experience from Indian and International circuit. He is the captain of Poker Sports League and being in a mind-sport industry Goindi is working closely with the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar for a year and a half in sports management. 

Featuring in a web series ‘Around the Table’, you can watch the fun element playing poker also playing with all your skills to win. We can write about him day and night, Goindi co-founded India Poker Boot Camp, coaching especially Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) for online and live tournaments/ring games, this boot camp takes place a week in a month on a desired location with students being coached about the game, strategy along with the proper mindset to have during the game.

Last week, in a press conference in Delhi, Goindi launched the first-ever Big Stack University dedicated to poker education. He is one of the core members of the university and if you are lucky enough you can be coached by the poker pro himself. It’s a historic moment for all Indians and poker enthusiasts to have a poker university in the country.

Here we get up close with the one and only, Abhishek Goindi, talking about Poker Boot Camp, his journey as a poker player and an industry expert, along with being a mentor for newbies!

Hi Abhishek, thank you for taking out your precious time for us; we’d like to know how do you manage so many things simultaneously, be it playing live/online and now PokerBootCamp?

I actually invest my time in a lot of things- coaching, playing poker online/LIVE events and traveling as well. To be honest, I really don’t know how I do it. I’m the type of guy who likes to experience new things and try out different things. I don’t like to think twice. If I like something, then I just go with the flow and do it. In fact, I try to learn the same and get better at it and If I don’t like something it’s you can see it on my face.

The things I do are generally the things I like doing. So I manage LIVE and online gaming depending on my mood and I schedule events accordingly. Basically, I plan my events on expected value (EV) and as per the poker schedule of Barcelona and Vegas I mainly travel to these places to play poker and calculate EV accordingly. 

Being a beach person, I spend a lot of time on the beach and online poker lets me have my beach time that’s how I balance my time accordingly so that’s why I have gone more towards online now.

Please share your early journey in the poker industry, how did you manage to raise up the stakes one by one?

During my early years of poker, I started playing stakes of ₹10 buy-ins in 2006-07 and I’ve literally climbed up every level on own. I am aware what it takes every level be it low, medium and some amount of high stakes so I’ve grown up my bankroll from ₹10 buy-in and a lot of people usually skip a lot of stakes because they come from a background where they already have huge bankroll because of other profession they do in life besides poker so they start playing ₹50/₹100, ₹100/₹200 stakes. However, for me, it is being in the game and beating every stake accordingly. So I have experience across every stakes.

What are your views on the players joining poker boot camp? Is it only for newbies in the circuit or is it for regular players too?

The poker boot camp is hosted for a few days in a month. I devote all my time and attention to the camp to ensure that everyone attending gets the most benefit out of it. You can even ask the people who have joined previously and they’ll tell you. The kind of information and content we provide them might take you about 5-6 years or longer to figure out by yourself but we present it through a quick, tried and tested method.

The poker boot camp is not just for newbies, in fact, anyone can join it. We teach a lot of life skills at the camp and we try to make you a better person not just on the table but off the table as well. It’s tough to unlearn and relearn. We believe, if you’re taught the game properly at the very beginning, you can play poker for the rest of your life. If you’re not taught the game correctly, you are not likely to develop good habits and might end up losing a lot, you might not even fall in love with this beautiful game!

Our current focus is on all players of all kinds- beginners, intermediates and players with little advanced gameplay. We focus on a bunch of stuff aside from poker, overall strategies, different types of approach to the game, LIVE games, playing in India and globally as well. Since I possess experience of playing almost everywhere, I try to share all my learning with people from across the globe and teaching the tactics of surviving in this industry. I’ve seen players come and go, very few players actually survive in the industry for a long time, let’s say 10-12 years. So my main focus is to teach people how to go about it, how to sustain for long. We even do a lot of mental conditioning and change a lot of perceptions when it comes to poker. We teach you the right outlook towards the game, how to be profitable in the long run, etc. Anybody who wants to learn, get better and understand perceptions is more than welcome to join the boot camp.

One of the most popular words in the poker industry is ‘TILT’. Please share your views and how do you handle this TILT?

TILT is basically when you let your emotions take the better of you. It can happen to you at any point in time, whether you’re playing cricket or you’re at work. It doesn’t necessarily have to happen on the poker table. I think TILT exists in every industry but it’s probably known by some other term.

If you TILT on the poker table, it can wipe you out and you are likely to lose your bankroll. That’s why tilt is so dangerous. It has taken me a long time to train myself but I tilt occasionally and so does everybody in the poker fraternity.

I don’t think a poker player is immune to this emotion, but for me, I’ve gotten surprisingly good at not tilting. I follow a lot of routines, processes, physical training to control myself on the table and I don’t let the game trouble me. I try to find the triggers that lead me to TILT when I make a very obvious error. You just have to stay in the moment and focus. It’s like any other sport. You can’t let one bad ball affect you. You have to constantly keep thinking about what you will do next and just play the game level-headedly.

Any Bollywood/Hollywood celebrity you would love to lose against on the table?

It depends on what form of poker we are playing if it’s strip poker or normal poker. But I don’t think I’ve any particular favourite. I don’t think I would like to lose against any player. There are a lot of women I want to play against. More than playing, I want to teach a lot of women. More number of women to enter this industry, the more it will grow. My objective will be to train them, make them comfortable at the tables.

It’s a proud moment for all the poker enthusiasts to have a poker university in Big Stack University in India, we would like to know how are things planned for the same?

Yeah, it’s great. it’s a first time in India to release a course on poker, it’s a historic moment and this is another feather on the cap, first for me, I’ve done a lot of first in the country and this course is aimed towards educating about poker and creating awareness from a poker perspective so that the people can learn the basics about the game and be comfortable on the table and my idea is to grow the game and this course will hopefully help people.

Your thoughts/ advice to the newbies in the poker industry.

First of all, I’d tell everyone to join the poker boot camp! Don’t be result oriented, don’t let a few wins influence your gameplay. It’s a game of extreme highs and lows, you have to focus on the process and not the results. If you are not careful, the graph can alter and you will probably be broke in no time. So study the game, don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s a slow climb, put in the volume and stay humble.

With this interview, Poker Boot Camp announces their third season from 27th November to 1st December in Goa with Coach Abhishek Goindi and Coach Tanay Hargunaney. Stay tuned on their social media channel @PokerBootCampIndia and Pokershots for more updates.

In Conversation with one of India’s top poker pro, Abhishek Goindi

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