Poker, a game of strategic thinking and patience, has been rapidly gaining popularity in the past decade. With rising awareness and digitization, people have become interested in the game. The credit is due to some of the online forums. What used to be a Diwali night celebration, has become a competitive sport. 

 
This burgeoning game has a new face - Pratibha Arya. PokerBaazi, India's most trusted poker platform has welcomed Pratibha as their Gaming Pro. She left her 9 to 5 coding job to pursue her passion for poker and holds a strong position in the field. We got a chance to talk to her about beating the stereotypes around the game to her favourite movies. 

Q) At what point did you decide to go all in for poker?

"It was in my final year of college, sometime around my final semester. I had been playing fairly regularly during that year and was doing quite well, so therefore I decided to play professionally when I was fully focused and immersed in the game. It was a natural transition; I didn’t have to choose between anything."

Q) How would you explain what you do to a 7-year-old?

"There’s a lot of generalisations in children’s minds. So if I explain poker as a skill-based card game to them, they might end up making the mistake of considering all card games as good. So I’ll keep it simple and tell them that it's 'work'. That’s what I tell my 9-year-old niece. But to a layman, if I have to explain I’ll say I play a strategy-based-card game called poker in which I compete with others by exploiting the edges based on our skills, and by finding the most optimal solutions and taking theoretically correct decisions"

Q) What is the one stereotype that you're absolutely tired of hearing about poker?

"It's a mindless game of chance and that winning or losing totally depends on luck. That it is gambling, simply because it's played with cards."

Q) Are there any movies that you like that represent the sport in its truest form?

"'Lucky you' and 'Rounders' definitely. Stu Ungar's documentary (One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stu Ungar)."

Q) How do you motivate yourself after a bad day at the table?

"Variance is a part of this game. Just like if you get frightened at the sight of blood, you can’t be a surgeon. So bad days in poker are as natural as they are in life. And a professional understands this and he endeavors to approach each session as a new game. A good player will continue to apply his process despite the bad day. This understanding gradually becomes intrinsic to a professional player."

Q) Are there any personalities in the poker industry or otherwise that you look up to?

"Phil Galfond, Niklas Astedt and Jagdeep Singh(national)."

Q) Tell us something about your association with PokerBaazi.

"I’ll be serving as Baazi Team Pro. My job will be to promote the game in multiple ways, stream, make learning content for upcoming players that are serious about the game. And I’m very excited and looking forward to get started already."

Q) What sets PokerBaazi apart from other online poker forums in India?

"What makes them stand apart is the fact that they think more from the player's perspective. So they make player-friendly changes & have a very player friendly approach. They also have instant cash outs."

Q) What advice would you like to give someone who is keen on taking up the sport professionally but is skeptical about the support they might recieve?

“If you are passionate about the game and winning, you don’t need support. Only thing one should focus on is getting better with the game. When that happens, you’ll eventually win, and when you’re winning, all the support of family and friends comes back around. No parents or friends will discourage you when you’re winning and accomplishing great feats.”

Pratibha's optimism towards the game sets her apart. We cannot wait to see this new Baazi Gaming Pro at the table. From coding websites to being a regular at the tables, it has been a heck of a journey for Pratibha Arya.