Mumbai: 23-year-old wins his first million in online poker tournament

Updated: Dec 17, 2017, 14:00 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

The Andheri resident won Rs 24.5 lakh in an online poker tournament where he managed to outlast 2,000 other players

Samay Modi, an Andheri resident will have a lot more zeroes in his bank account now. The 23-year-old won his first million in a game of online poker last week. The Millionaire tournament hosted by The Spartan Poker saw nearly 2,000 people compete for the first prize of Rs 24.5 lakh, but only Modi walked home as millionaire.

Samay Modi at his Andheri home. Pic/Falguni Agrawal
Samay Modi at his Andheri home. Pic/Falguni Agrawal

Dividends pay off
While the thrill of winning a million is yet to sink in, Modi says he knew it was achievable. "I could not predict such a huge win overnight, but, I definitely knew it was possible at some stage. Everything worked out for me," he said. And, now that he has all the moolah, he knows exactly what to do with it. "I am going to be contributing a fair chunk towards my elder brother's university fees, who is currently studying in Melbourne. The rest will be invested in high-risk cryptocurrencies, and to expand my poker bankroll for future tournaments." Explaining his reasons, he added, "Good bankroll management is essential in poker as downswings are bound to happen."

Modi aboard the Deltin casino in Goa earlier this year
Modi aboard the Deltin casino in Goa earlier this year

Poker is no game of luck
Modi said his parents were initially wary of him investing so much time in the game. "Like most Indian parents, they were under the impression that it's something on the lines of gambling, which it is not," he says. They eventually came around seeing their son's passion for it, and the fact that there's nothing illegal about it. "They have seen me play for the last nine years. Being understanding and supportive, they are proud that I was able to achieve something in the game," he says.

For him, poker is more about skill than chance. "Poker is no game of luck. The short-run outcome of poker can be very unpredictable, allowing luck to play a big role. That is why the general notion is that it is similar to gambling," he said. However, in the long run, consistent skill involving a good understanding of mathematics, psychology, and the game dynamics, makes it a skill-based game, thereby overruling the luck factor, he explains. "That is the reason why professionals are consistent performers in the long run, allowing them to pick up big wins," he adds.

The winning hand
This time around, A2 Diamonds (ace and two of diamonds) became the winning hand for Modi. "Eleven hours and seven cups of black coffee into the tournament, I could feel the win coming. I did not want to settle for any other place, after putting up a tough game. I had always visualised winning a big tournament and waking up my parents in the middle of the night to break the news. It feels good to have finally done that."

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