Kartik Ved has seen and been through a lot. Hailing from Pune, he’s been a college student (and still is), a card dealer turned player, a high roller, a pro for an online brand and is now working on a poker coaching set-up as well. There have been some mighty highs and also some disheartening lows. And all this, at a mere age of 22.

Pursuing BBA in Pune, he’s still very much finding his feet in life. And while he’s unsure of what he eventually wants to end up doing, at the moment he’s very clear on his passion – Poker.

Surprisingly though, Kartik was once a very “anti-card” person. Coming from a family which never had a deck of cards at home, his introduction to poker, like many of us, was by pure luck. While out with a few friends, he happened to come across some folks playing poker on a makeshift table-tennis table covered with a bed sheet. He found the game rather interesting since it involved mind-games and lying (aka “bluffing”). As an independent teenager on the lookout for ways to make a few quick bucks, he got himself a gig dealing cards at a high stakes home game in Pune. This really got him hooked onto poker and got him on his way to building a bankroll as well. After spending some time with live cash games, Kartik eventually found his way to online poker. Thereafter, he got selected into Pocarr, an international stable in late 2014, and it was what he learnt from them that really propelled his game to the next level!

We got round to speaking with him about his journey so far with poker and his thoughts and vision for the game. Here’s what he had to say.

Question: Where and What kind of games do you play online?

Kartik Ved: I play pretty much all kinds of games out there. I only try to avoid the high stakes PLO games because the variance is too high; but otherwise anything else that comes my way, I’m game. I prefer to play on Spartan, PokerBaazi and Noble Aces because their softwares are satisfactory and they have the best support teams possible.

Q: Do you play live games?

Kartik: I don’t play live games too much. Only when there are tournaments in Casino Royale. There are 2 major reasons for this – first is the high amount of rake that is taken by all rooms – and irrespective of how fishy the game is, you always lose out in the long run. And secondly, most rooms have cash-out issues.

Q: Whats your take on live tournaments in India?

Kartik: Tournament series’ in India are very negative EV for poker players. One thing is the rake, which is extremely high. Another is travel cost and the last one is the TDS. When you factor them all in, there is no way you can make money in India; no matter how good a player you are. Taking into account the high variance in tournaments, it’s just not possible to make a profit. That’s why I prefer to play outside of India, where there’s no TDS and the payouts are bigger, meaning there’s more value for money.

Q: How was you recent experience as a pro for Star Poker?

Kartik: I’m thankful for the chance that I got. I had a successful Baazi Poker Tour trip in Goa which was nice. Overall the experience was not great but I’m thankful to get the chance to represent a brand even if it was for a brief period, because it exposed me to how a company functions.

Q:What’s been your best moment in poker?

Kartik: My best moment till now was in a deep stack cash game where we were 500k deep. I folded Kings pre-flop and my opponent obviously had Aces. And of course the BPT run in the High Roller event too. I think I played my best poker till date in that tournament. I had a very difficult table throughout, with Jasven Saigal on my table 70% of the time and with position over me. I had to play very disciplined in order to proceed further since he wasn’t giving me room for anything, whereas on day 2 there were Clawin, Kanishka and Shashank on my table as well which didn’t make it any easier. I eventually finished third though.

Q: Do you have any role models in poker?

Kartik: I don’t think so, but there have been a few individuals who’ve helped me succeed. I consider myself very lucky in poker. Not in terms of the cards, but to have always met and been guided by the right people. Rajiv Kanjani, Pranay Kapoor, Rohit Bhalla and Abhigya Cairna are 4 who’ve always supported me through everything and to whom I’m very thankful.

Q: What are you targets as a poker player?

Kartik: My personal goal in poker is to improve in NLHE tournaments since I haven’t fared too well in those till now.

Q: You’ve started a new stable – Euphoria. How is that progressing?

Kartik: We just started operations and we’re trying to work a system out for ourselves. I think we have the best team in place to succeed with Amit Jain, Daanish Shaikh, Kanishka Samanth, Pranay Kapoor and myself. Our intention is to not only run a stable, but also to explore the poker industry in India and spread awareness about the game. We want to get more and more people into the game – as a passion. We consider it more as a “project” and we’re working really hard towards it.

Q: What’s your message to other young players out there?

Kartik: Be disciplined. We lose most of our edge when we’re on tilt. Bad beats are part of the game. So just keep your head down and continue grinding!

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