23-year-old Abhinav Iyer from Chennai has been back in India for only 6 months but he is already making a name for himself in the Indian poker circuit with his bold tournament play. A student of the game for over 4 years, Abhinav is one of the rare players to have had the benefit of playing internationally in his college days in Melbourne, Australia and he is bringing his A-game to the fore as he navigates his way into Indian poker.

Abhinav Iyer
Abhinav Iyer at the recently concluded DPT

Abhinav was introduced to poker in his 2nd year of under graduation but he took it up seriously while pursuing his Masters in Sports Management in Melbourne. It was there that he spent many hours playing cash games and honing his skills. He also took to the online platform PokerStars early in his career and after a period of grinding on the micro stakes, discovered a proclivity for online tournaments.

Online Tournaments

Online tournaments, or for that matter even live tournaments, are Abhinav’s preferred games. He is a tactful master of MTTs and for his age, his record is very commendable. Abhinav got a taste of live-tournament poker at the Aussie Millions in 2016 where he also happened to meet some of his idols, like Fedor Holz. And while he’s been doing a fair bit of traveling to play as many poker tournaments as possible, it’s the online format where he feels most comfortable.

Abhinav’s consistency in online tournaments stands out among his many qualities. He’s consistently final tabled on PokerStars and intermittently managed to ship a few as well. The crown in his online record is the deep run in the TCOOP (Turbo Championship of Online Poker) on PokerStars where he final tabled the $700 buy-in $400K GTD ultra deep stack tournament for a $10,000+ score.

Not having played much on Indian poker sites, Abhinav plans to start on the domestic circuit soon and his experience with international players will certainly give him an edge.

Live Tournaments Too

Whereas Abhinav’s talents are undoubtedly on display in online tournaments, he’s quickly making a mark in live tournaments as well.

His first tryst with live poker since coming back to India saw a very reasonable 7th place finish in the Deltin Poker Tournament Main Event back in February. Besides the DPT, Abhinav is also part of the PSL (Poker Sports League) pro draft, ranking him among the best 36 pros in the country. Not a simple feat by any measure.

Abhinav Iyer in the PSL Pro Draft
Abhinav Iyer in the PSL Pro Draft

In the near future, Abhinav is looking to further explore the domestic poker circuit with extensive plans to travel for all the major tournaments. “I want to focus on tournaments in the near future and cash games are for later”, he adds.

A Cocktail for Success

A short conversation with Abhinav and his calmness is one of the first traits that stand out. For his calm demeanor is an exemplary attribute to have at the poker table, helping him navigate bad beats and tight spots.

Having been easily susceptible to tilt early on in his career, Abhinav worked very hard to improve this aspect of his game. Now, having accepted variance as a part and parcel of the game, he’s quietened down when he plays and there seems to be a certain steeliness to his game.

In addition to dealing with tilt, there are also many aspects of the game that Abhinav is concurrently working to improve. He’s aware of the importance to learn and excel at PLO at a time when high-stakes poker players are all migrating from NL Hold-em to PLO and is also working to improve his deep-stack cash game skills.

Abhinav’s calmness combined with his eagerness to improve, make him a certainty for success in the long term. As he puts it, “My target is to simply improve every day and I don’t have any monetary targets. If I can keep improving then the results will come in the future.”

Abhinav’s advice to other young players: Play within your limits. Results will come over time. Just keep developing, watch videos and review hands – be patient and you’ll get there.

And Finally…

This is what poker stalwart & PokerBaazi Team Pro Vikram Kumar had to say about Abhinav Iyer:

Vikram Kumar on Abhinav Iyer
Vikram Kumar on Abhinav Iyer

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