Table Talk


Maidumji's Poker Chronicles - Part 1


I am Maidumji and this is an account of my love affair with the enigma that is Poker.

As if I wasn’t keeping busy enough with a variety of interests like reading, movies and binge watching television series on the likes of Netflix and Amazon, somewhere along the way I also discovered poker.

Having grown up in an Agarwal household on a steady diet of card games every Diwali, I am no novice when it comes to playing cards. From innocent childish games like 3-2-5 to rummy, we played it all. And yet, it wasn’t until my mid-thirties, that poker came into my life, and how!

Introduced to me by a group of friends, I was a skeptic at first. What were all these terms being thrown around….flop, turn, river, draw, raise, call, tilt and a whole lot of terms that I still haven’t gotten a hang of. And wait a minute; what is this “FOLD” business really? What happened to good old desi “Pack” as you dump your cards (Oh sorry, we “Muck” them now!)

Jokes apart, once introduced to the game, I was hooked. The first couple of days, it took a while to soak it all in, understanding how to “call” and when to “raise”, but sooner than later, play poker is all I wanted to do in my free time. Like with every new experience, you discover a little bit more about yourself and the world around you, I do think my experience with poker has shone a light to the mirror a little more, some insight in to the person I am, based on how I approach the game too! Here are a few things I realized more deeply about myself -


-   I am a true Agarwal when it comes to money, so that is a polite way of saying huge pre flop bets makes me see red. Just let me see the flop for a little money peeps, so I know if I have a good hand and no one will be harmed! Regular players laugh at this attitude, but what to do, this community tends to be careful with it’s bets and more so with the money!

-   I am a risk averse person– So while the rewards are lower, so are the losses. Pro players always tell me “You should have raised more”. I am happy with my little wins that neatly add to my stack, and I am a happy camper. If this doesn’t make any sense you, kindly refer to point no. 1.

-   I couldn’t do a poker face if my life depended on it. I am one of those people who cannot hide emotions from coming up to my face, and it has landed me in a soup in many social and work situations. If I am ecstatic, you will see it, if I am disgusted, that will show up with equal fervor. Of course, it is a disadvantage in poker because as I am ready to bounce off the chair with delight when I get a good hand, people muck their cards faster than you can say, “Go”. And hence I love playing online. At least you can’t see that silly grin on my face! Take that, poker face!

-   I am always championing the underdog. So I actually feel bad when I give someone a bad beat and apologize profusely. It is amusing for most people, but what to do, I work in the field of development. Go figure!

-   I hate bullies. In poker terms, make that aggressive players. Imagine a table of 2/4 and 5/10, and a raise comes for 350 bucks! Yeah, I hate that too. It makes me feel like I am at a traffic signal with a pajero blaring Punjabi music in my face. I am judging you already! I’ll call the hand (like a gujju giving away the last piece of dhokla) , but it’s true, I have judged you already. It’s the game; I know, I know, but me no likes! In real life, you can imagine!

-   Position, Position, Position – One thing, I keep hearing, and of course, never learn. In poker or in real life, and that is just how it is! Baby steps my friends, I will get there.

-   I am not a competitive person in general, and like to play poker also like a friendly game, even when serious money exchanges hands. Works for some, and makes some people mad, but hey, my game, I play my way!

 I will share more insights in to my journey as I trudge along, but it sure is a great thrill and a hell of a ride! Next, time, I will tell you about the different kind of players I have encountered in battle, err I mean at the poker table!

See you at the next game.






Chandni Malik

Chandni s an advocacy and communications specialist who lives and breathes poker. She is a guest writer and an avid poker player at 9stacks.