Two days ago, PokerBaazi’s 1 Crore GTD flagship event, the MoneyMaker was played out. The prestigious event received a total of 1,027 entries which included some of the top players in the country. With a total of 126 places paid and a min. cash of ₹15,410, the players grinded to earn the priceless MoneyMaker bracelet!
It took an insane 9 hour grind for us to crown the new Mr.MoneyMaker.
Banamalang Warr ‘bml2012’ Lyndem, 28, CS undergrad from IIT Delhi, shipped the massive event and earned himself a huge ₹17,46,927 payout!
Banmalang has been playing poker professionally for the last 2 years. The 28 year old was a software developer prior to switching over to a full-time poker player. This massive shipment also marked his biggest payout ever!
We had a conversation with the new Mr.MoneyMaker himself!
Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and about your career so far
I’m 28 years old and I grew up in Shillong. I spent my entire childhood here until I left for college. I graduated from IIT Delhi with a degree in Computer Science. I worked as a Software Engineer for 2 years before I switched to playing poker professionally.
Q2. How did you start on your poker journey? When did you first pick up the game?
I learnt to play poker when I was in high school when I used to compete with friends to see who could obtain the most chips in Zynga Poker. I had always been really interested and competitive in games of skill that involved a pack of cards and with poker it was no different. Of course we didn’t play with money back then but it was still thrilling to learn how to outplay your friends who have different poker strategies compared to yours.
Q3. When did you start playing poker for real money?
It was after I was in college when I met people who were actually interested in putting in real money to play this game. I didn’t really get hooked on the game but there were certainly nights when it was just fun to keep battling away with your friends over who eventually gets a free meal the next day.
Q4. Congratulations on your Money Maker win, tell us some excerpts from the tournament.
It’s a bit blurry with the early stages since I was playing other tournaments as well and I usually take most standard spots in the beginning. It was only when there were less than a 100 people left and I had a pretty big stack, probably top 5 at that point, that I began to be more focused on the tables. I certainly had a really good run in this tournament. The final 3 was probably the most difficult part of it all but with the chip advantage I had, I was able to keep it going in my favour until the end.
Q5. What kind of routine do you maintain while playing your favourite tournaments online?
I have been more strict with my workout regiment since I noticed that I often perform much better on the days that I get a workout in. Now, I mostly avoid playing on the days that I skip them. Apart from that, I usually have some music on as it keeps me from drifting into autopilot mode while I’m playing.
Q6. How does your family feel about you playing poker?
My parents have been incredibly supportive with this passion I have with poker. Although they would like me to have a more stable situation and they find it hard to comprehend how this works, they know that I am happy doing what I do.
Q7. Who are your role models in the poker fraternity and otherwise?
I have many peers from my college who really inspire me. I feel lucky to have friends like Sajal, Devang and Nasa that have always helped me whenever I needed it. Besides these guys, I really look up to Sriharsha and Shravan since we played together in the same team in PSL and got a chance to learn a lot from them during that time.
Q8. Coming back to MoneyMaker, who were your tough competitors in the tournament and also on the final table?
When there were about 40-50 players left, I still had a top 5 stack and I was in the same table as Raghav Bansal and Shravan Chhabria. It was at this point when it started to get difficult for me to keep building my stack. It was tough whenever I had to get involved with them because it was never straight forward and there were always additional factors to consider when facing opponents who can read a situation as well as these two. I was really happy when I finally got moved away from that table. Post that, it felt like a pure run till the FT with most of the big pots going my way and then kept going on till the final 3. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a massive advantage since I had the big chip lead. Given that I was able to put more pressure on both of them, I think this really helped me take the tournament down.
Q9. Any crucial hand or decision you made in the tournament or on the final table that you would like to tell us?
Even though I was already the chip lead on the final table, I got bottom two pair vs Buzzgaurav’s top pair top kicker and that just cemented the lead I had on every else. I also managed to knock out ‘Ifoldfullhouses’ when he rivered a set and I already had a flush which gave me a lot of room to play HU with a 2.5 to 1 lead.
Q.10 Lastly, what are your future plans in the poker industry?
As of now, I am going to keep doing what I have been doing. Even before last night’s win, poker has helped me learn a lot about how life is and can be. I feel very grateful that I have the opportunity to do this everyday and I plan to enjoy the journey for as long as I am on it.
Congratulations to Banmalang ‘bml2012’ Lyndem on his incredible run in the 12th edition of the MoneyMaker!