In the last couple of years, online poker websites and live poker brands have outdone themselves in trying to push out this mind sport of poker to the Indian masses. If you asked us who the best poker players in India were a few years ago, we could count them on our fingertips.
However, the community has grown multi-fold in the last few years and today, we have thousands of players grinding it out at the virtual felts each night. We also have hundreds of players planning trips to live poker festivals like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas and to other destinations too.
Gutshot recently ran a survey to know who the community thinks the best poker player in the country is at the moment. While there were tonnes of names being taken, one that received the greatest number of votes was Sriharsha Doddapaneni, someone who has been crushing in live as well as online poker super consistently over the last year and more…
For those who don’t yet know, Sriharsha is an absolute legend in online play, with plenty of titles on most platforms especially on Spartan Poker where he’s won their flagship tournament Destiny a few times, while also winning a few IOPC titles and most recently shipping a Millionaire X5 title on Spartan.
At the physical felts too, he’s had a couple of deep runs and some of his major victories include the DPT Colossus 200k Super High Roller in 2018 while also taking down the 25k Bounty tournament at WPT India in 2019, with his total tally of live winnings from across the world going past $130k.
Among the many players who received several votes were bracelet winners Aditya Sushant, Nikita Luther, and Abhinav Iyer, while President Award winner Muskan Sethi, former PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal, Jan 2020 IPC Main Event winner Rubin Labroo, Abhishek Goindi, Ashish Munot, Kanishka Samant, Danish Shaikh and others were also voted for a few times each. Luther and Sethi in particular received a few votes especially because the two have inspired hundreds of women to join this supposedly ‘male-dominated’ sport.
However, none got as many votes as Sriharsha did, with reasons like ‘Pure consistency’ being mentioned, while ‘Minimal mistakes and an excellent approach to the game’ was another comment. His game theory optimal (GTO) knowledge has always been spoken about and ‘Simply because he’s GTO king’ was one of the reasons he was voted for. Being the ‘best at exploiting opponents’ was yet another reason mentioned, so it’s safe to say Sriharsha is one of the highest rated poker players in India at the moment.
When Gutshot reached out to him to tell him he’s the people’s choice best poker player in India, he said, “I’m extremely happy since I always believed or gauged my skill level to a large extent based on the feedback received from players I respect. Since there’s a considerable bit of variance in poker, results can be misleading at times hence it’s important for every serious player to take feedback from players whom they think are good and work on their game accordingly. It’s a huge honour that people I looked up to when I started my career rated me highly, though I will take this with grain of salt. With ever evolving strategies, it is important to keep working on the game and be in the top tier poker players for long and that will always be my focus going forward.”
We asked the winner himself who he thinks is the most talented poker pro in the country right now and it wasn’t a big surprise that he chose Aditya ‘Intervention’ Agarwal. “I follow a lot of competitive sports and always liked players who are on top of the game for long rather than those who shine bright for just a short period. My first inspiration to play poker came from his PocketFives profile; seeing an Indian among the top poker players in the world inspired me to take up the game seriously. And he is still on top to date which is just mind blowing if you think about the number of players who come and go. This is the true hallmark of a great poker player and it also shows how poker is a game of skill. Hence, I rate him highly above the rest.”
We’re sure Sriharsha has inspired quite a few people to join the game of poker, while it still being very early in his poker journey. For similar stories and results from more fun surveys like this, stay tuned to GutshotMagazine.com.
– With inputs from Dwayne Fernandes, Gutshot Editorial.
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