TCOOP: The unlikely champion

tcoop.pngThere is a village in southern India with no electricity, medical care, or proper infrastructure. You'd be lucky to find one person there who has even heard of poker, let alone poker played on something called the internet. This is where Andy Ganapathy grew up.

There is a kind of family dynamic in which playing cards is considered an irresponsible pastime. This is the kind of family in which fathers do not teach their children the rules to five-card draw, Texas Hold'em, or anything else that has to do with the game. This is the kind of family in which Andy Ganapathy grew up.

So, you might wonder how Ganapathy (known as Andy123460) ended up this week as the champion of the Turbo Championship of Online Poker's Event #23 defeating nearly 3,000 opponents for a $58,753 payday.

Frankly, Ganapathy sort of wonders than himself. He's a 31-year-old corporate sales manager for Electrolux Canada who came from the middle of nowhere to win an online poker championship event.

"If you look at my background I have nothing to do with poker," he said, "but yet somehow ended up with the wonderful world of poker."


A couple of years ago, Ganapathy was at his buddy's cottage for a night of card-playing. He'd never played before, so his friend gave him a card that showed the ranking of hands. He ended up wining that night.

"They call it beginners luck," Ganapathy said.

To understand how he became a champion, it's instructive to look at how Ganapathy has lived the rest of his life. He started school in a building that had no roof. He ended up graduating from a top engineering college and moving to Canada to pursue his MBA.

"It was a roller coaster ride with ups, downs, twists, and turns," he said.

It spoke to hard work, determination, and will. Most people who grow up in such villages never leave. Ganapathy is not one of those people, and he ended up treating his poker game like his professional life.

"I'm mastering it every day," he said.

The new TCOOP champion plays cards on the weekend, follows heroes like Daniel Negreanu, and dreams of one day hitting the big time.

Someday, Ganapathy would like to be a member of Team PokerStars Pro. For now, however, he's happy to continue his success in the business world. Meanwhile, he'll work on his game and pay off his debts with some of his winnings.

And the rest of the cash?

He's going to give it all to his family.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in TCOOP