Former private banker and now a full time poker whiz, Rajat ‘ Oshoswami’ Sharma smashed the Eden HR tournament (10 Lakhs GTD) last week on 9stacks, winning a cool sum of Rs 2.55 lakhs. He beat Sandeep Varma (effuno) and Shravan Chabbaria (KissmyAce) to nab the top spot.
Ashik Vadakkan & Prashaste Sinha from Team 9stacks caught up with the super inspiring Mr Rajat Sharma for a short conversation after the tournament and came back raring to make a go at playing poker seriously.
Team 9stacks : Congratulations on the big win! How was the experience playing the Eden HR Tournament this time?
Oshoswami: Any tournament you end up shipping, the experience is always good. ;-). But i generally prefer playing a higher buy-in tournament as the field size is smaller & its easier to navigate through it. So Eden HR is one of the must play tourneys in my weekly schedule
Team 9stacks : Thankyou, Rajat! This is always good to hear. :). Did you have a moment of doubt during bubble time?
Oshoswami: In game i am never in doubt about any decision that I make. It is only when I review my hand history is when I do abuse myself for making a horrible play. LOL!
Team 9stacks : Was there a player that you watched out for during the game?
Oshoswami: I am generally never wary about a particular opponent, cos i treat all my opponents with respect & assume that they are playing to the best of their ability and making optimal decisions.
Team 9stacks : How do you deal with the on table aggression applied by many players during the game?
Oshoswami: *laughs* If I am on the table it is me who is applying pressure on my opponents & not vice versa.
On a more serious note how you deal or apply aggression is a function of the stage you are on, in the tournament, your relative stack & how aware your opponents about ICM. I remember a hand from a Final Table a couple of weeks back. We were the final 5 and I had 75 bigs (big blinds), the 2nd CL has 72 bigs & rest of the table is pretty short- like there is a guy with 7 bigs also. I open 2nd CL 3b & we 4b jammed A9o ... this gentleman called off with 77 & it held! :(
So yeah, sometimes when you apply aggression you can end up with an egg on your face. But in MTT poker it is always better to err on the side of aggression rather than playing scared.
Team 9stacks : How is the experience when you're playing with friends on the Final Table. A lot of our readers don't know how to handle their friendships on the poker table. Give us a few tips?
Oshoswami: See, on the felt I am just playing a userid- it could be my best friend & all I am doing is trying to take his chips & I expect him to do the same. I work with some of the best minds in the game but we are always at it on the felts. Off the felts, when we catch up, we drink beer & have a blast.
Team 9stacks : That’s actually a good way to laugh off the tension on the table too. I’m sure our readers are furiously taking down notes. Let's go back a bit. Tell us a little about how you started playing poker.
Oshoswami: I started playing Poker with some office colleagues in 2012, where we would meet up once a month, have a few beers & play a cash game. It was more like a social thing. It was in December of 2014 when I visited Bangalore for a tournament. Luckily without having any knowledge of Poker except that you get 2 cards, I ended up winning the ME for a whopping 6 Lacs ( yes it was a big sum those days for the 1st place finish :) .. & I was like this is an easy way to make money... I think from that moment I shifted to being an MTT player & till date i don’t enjoy playing cash games as much.
Team 9stacks : And at what moment did you finally say, Yes, I’m going to get really serious about the game? What made you say yes?
Oshoswami: I have been a private banker for over a decade but it was 2 years back when I would wake up in the morning & not look forward to the day.
So I was basically not enjoying what I was doing. Hence, I decided to give playing full time poker a shot with basically no plan B (I know!).
Team 9stacks : And how long have you been playing seriously?
I have now been playing MTT poker full time for a year & half.
One line of caution for people who want to play MTTs for a living ~ you have to be crazy to play MTTs for a living. This was tweeted by Ryan Riess a couple of years ago & he is a WSOP 2014 ME champion. :-P
Team 9stacks: But you love the game..
Oshoswami : Ofcourse. All said & done, I am loving every moment of it!
Team 9stacks : Which countries do you like playing poker in?
Oshoswami: I don’t travel much for playing live poker any more for a very simple reason that it means time away from my family. I am happy button clicking from the comfort of my room. Maybe going forward I will start making some trips to close by destinations like Goa, Vietnam, Korea etc in the coming months to play a few live series.
Team 9stacks : India's beginning to really warm up to poker. Where do you see professional poker in India going in the next 5 years?
Oshoswami: First & foremost the taboo associated with Poker has to go away for people to openly accept this game.
I have been very lucky as my parents & my wife have supported me fully when I wanted to quit my job & start playing full time.
But you can’t blame people since its a game of cards so chance will always be involved.
It is for sites like 9stacks to promote the fact that chance is only a function in the short run & in the long run it evens out, so more skill full people will always be profitable.
From a player perspective I think, the average player is becoming smarter & working on his game and they will only get better over a period of time.
So in the next 5 years the player pool is going to be HUGE & the games are going to be tougher. So if you are serious about your career in poker, you better start working on your game. Also what I see right now is that a player is playing everything like he is playing MTTs, Texas Cash, PLO, OFC ... over a period of time we will see successful players picking one variant & sticking to it because if you have to beat the game you need to deep dive into all aspects of it. It is not possible to play everything and still beat the game.
Thankyou , Rajat for taking out time for us and giving us a very comprehensive insight into your poker journey. We've all taken back quite a few things from this conversation. We're sure our readers are going to love your anecdotes and your recommendations.. Good luck for all the upcoming tournaments and we hope to see you on the tables again!
Every week, 9stacks goes all in for an interview with the best players on the platform. Is there a question you’d like us to ask the players - tips, hacks, etc? Write in to us and we’ll incorporate them in the next interview for you!