“Poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master” – Mike Sexton, professional poker player.
Wiser words have perhaps never been spoken in poker and any player worth his or her salt, can testify to this. The most accomplished players are often the first to admit that they are far from the finished article; and humility aside, there’s value in understanding why they believe so.
Poker can often be heartbreaking. When a good run ends or luck runs out, and inevitably it always does, the path back to success is often clouded. Throw in bad beats, and you’ve got one massive mountain to climb in difficult times. For every obstacle is different and if you’ve played the game long enough, you can be sure to relate to this. You may play with the same 52 cards, but the problems you face are unique every time.
Projecting this dilemma on a human level, you can find many parallels in real life. One of these parallels is the founding principle of one of the newest entrants in the budding Indian online poker marketplace. Poker Ninja has at it’s core, a belief that every poker player is a warrior trying to prove his or her mettle at the poker table and can in due time unleash the Ninja within. For, it is only after an entire lifetime of perseverance, training and hard work that an individual ascends into a Ninja.
Poker Ninja has been started by 2 long term business associates and close friends, both of whom are well known in the IT entrepreneurial space for their work – Praveen Dwarkanath (of Rockets fame) and Shobhit Kapoor.
Praveen has been a part of the Indian poker scene for over 3 years now and is well recognised for his efforts in establishing Rockets Poker Room in Bangalore as a respected space with a genuine and safe playing experience. Having worked tirelessly for almost 1.5 years with Rockets he felt the time was right to shift focus to the online space. He was joined in his endeavor by Shobhit who with his strong background in the IT industry, and keen business acumen, was looking to leverage the potential of the growing online poker industry in India. Hence, the seed of Poker Ninja was sown as they felt the time was ripe with the recent court rulings going in the desired direction and with the Nagaland government’s decision to give out licenses for operating online poker rooms.
What makes this duo an unbeatable combination is their contrasting backgrounds. Praveen is extremely well versed with Indian poker and his time as head of Rockets Poker Room gave him insights and knowledge about the industry that most of us can only dream of. In addition,his bond with his team was so strong that a big slice of the team that worked with him at Rockets moved with him to Poker Ninja to make his dream into a reality. Shobhit on the other hand brings years of IT entrepreneurial experience and operational best-practices to the table . These practices include ensuring that his team have all the tools at their disposal to succeed, a zero-credit policy, and working towards building a customer centric platform. His mantra is that irrespective of the industry, customers should always be the central focus, and their happiness the key goal. “If you give respect to people, you will get it right back”, he says.
The team that they’ve built also speaks volumes about the ambitions of Poker Ninja. With an impeccable marketing team in place, one which was very evident during the successful pre-launch campaign of the website, there are also some established industry experts handling major verticals. Saby Chakraborthy manages strategy while Praveen himself handles overall business growth and organisational performance. The team also provides a very efficient 24*7 customer helpline for its users for any query.
Praveen Dwarkanath & Shobhit Kapoor
The vision of the founders at Poker Ninja is to establish a solid foundation to grow on. With focus purely on providing value to players, Poker Ninja has created an atmosphere of immense goodwill amongst its users. Besides recently migrating to a superior software, the company insists that they will invest whatever they earn back into the website. And players have been only too happy with the services and promotions on offer. A prime example of this is the Ninja Wars series which has been established to this effect. This tournament offers a guaranteed prize of Rs. 20 Lakhs with the added benefits of a low buy-in and the 100% buy-in back policy in the form of play chips. Initiatives such as these have been extremely successful and can only keep benefiting the players in the short as well as long term. With more announcements like the Indian Series of Poker in the pipeline, things can only be expected to keep getting better!
With the initial success safely in the bag, the focus now shifts to where many others have failed before. As Praveen himself believes, “It’s alright to make a mistake, but not to repeat one”. And this is a mindset which is all that more applicable to an organisation like Poker Ninja. Having entered the market at a time when there already exist established players, it is paramount that Poker Ninja learn from and avoid the errors made by those before them. This, along with a model which ensures scalability, and an effective plan which helps recruit a fresh pool of players to the online poker community will ensure that the success is not short-lived. The world eagerly awaits to see how the future unfolds for this very promising startup.