A fashion designer, a poker player and a freelance writer based out of Delhi, Simrit Tiwana started playing poker a decade ago when a friend introduced her to it. . Simrit has been inclined towards poker since the age of 10. As a kid, she used to watch poker tournaments that were telecasted on ESPN back when cable television was first launched in India.
Like any other game, in the initial years of poker, Simrit found the game to be fun but she was not very good to start with. As it is said in poker, those initial losses were the beginner’s price in poker, almost like a fee you pay to learn the game.
Simrit knew she had an aptitude for the game and hence decided to learn by watching poker videos on YouTube, reading books and most importantly by discussing her hands with better players and listening to them while they analyzed their play.
Her poker journey has been a smooth sail. Once she started getting a hang of the game and understood it was not just about luck but completely dependent on one's skills, she started excelling in the game. Nonetheless, there were ups and downs along the way but she took every bad run as a learning experience, learned to be patient with short-term outcomes, developed her own set of rules when it came to managing her gameplay and bankroll and stuck by them.
One of her most memorable hands happened in Goa. As Simrit puts it, "I had triple straddled in a hand and the person on my left was on the quadruple straddle when I looked down on pocket aces. It was a nine-handed cash game and somewhere right after UTG a player raised, and four players called him. I could sense the player on quadruple straddle getting restless, and I realized there was a high chance he was going to raise. As we were playing a super deep stack game, I decided to flat call with just one more player left to go, and sure enough, he raised just as I had expected. By the time the hand got back to me the pot was HUGE! Someone had already four-bet him with tens, and all I had to do was five-bet shove my stack with aces and pick up a pretty solid pot. What I liked about this hand was not the fact that I got aces (anyone in the world can get those dealt with them) but that I went against conventional play, read the situation and acted by following my instincts in the particular hand and it paid off, something that is an extremely important part of the game."
Simrit like to have balance in all aspects of her life. “ My yoga routine and practice of buddhist chanting also help me keep my mind balanced when i play . I try and watch some videos and read books on poker also from time to time to hone my poker skills.” Infact balance is so important to her that if there was a book/movie to be made on her poker journey, Simrit would like it to be called “ Balance Your Ranges, Balance Your Life”.
However, before a big game, Simrit is usually found chilling with her phone and a large, steaming cup of coffee.
According to her, a rule that applies not only to poker but also to anything in life is 'One should never think he/she knows it all, always be ready to learn and be prepared to work as hard as it takes to get there.'
When asked what she thinks the poker industry must do is to increase the min buy ins and make all tables deep stack. “That's when I believe, the real game comes into play.” She also adds that to make the online poker playing experience better, the poker websites must fix the bugs and glitches in the software. “Most times the software hangs during the middle of a hand, especially one you are about to win . Can put you on serious tilt , so less glitches would be the best way to make our experience better.”
On what she wants everyone out there to know about poker : “There is a saying that goes , playing poker is an extremely tough way to make an easy living ( I paraphrase) It may seem like a lot of fun from the outside , but becoming a winning poker player requires nerves of steel , a sharp brain , talent and a very logical and balanced mind set.
Some of the best friends I have made , I have met through poker . Poker players are usually pretty intelligent , larger than life and tons of fun. In the past few years I have seen many of my friends who play poker transform their hobby into successful businesses and career options , and it makes me really happy and proud of them”