WSOP 2015: Aditya Agarwal debuts Team Pro India patch in Main Event
For a great many westerners, the country of India might as well be on Mars. It's a faraway place of faraway people. When an outsider sets foot in the country, it can be shocking.
"The first thing you notice when you get out of the airport is that there tons of people. It's overwhelming."
That's Aditya Agarwal talking, a man who knows how his country can appear to people. He's hosted a great many folks there, and he knows how to show people a good time.
"It's pretty nice if you know the right places to go," he said. "There's some really good tourist places like Goa. It's very tourist-friendly. It's not that crowded."
For as much as he digs India, Agarwal doesn't miss an opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. He started when he was old enough to legally play, and he hasn't missed a year since. This is his tenth WSOP in a row, and he's making it worth his time. He's built his stack to north of 150,000 on Day 2C and looks good to make Day 3.
Agarwal has cashed several times in the Main, but he's looking for a particularly deep run this year. After all, this year is different. It's the very first time he's played the WSOP as a member of Team PokerStars Pro.
He'd been studying in the US when the poker boom as at its peak.
"I'd been playing for ten years at the EPTs and World Series and playing online a lot," he said.
Eventually, he moved back to India where he had continued success and began to mentor people. A lot of people looked up to him. It made him a natural choice to be the first Team PokerStars Pro from India.
With that said, Agarwal's live efforts are limited in his home country.
"There were poker tournaments in Goa for quite a few years, so that definitely helped build up the scene," he said. "Now there is a tax issue in India for the live tournaments."
So, Indian players like Agarwal seek other avenues. They go to Macau for the APPT. Some, like Agarwal, travel all the way here to last Vegas to compete in poker's biggest event.
For now, Agarwal is the second-highest ranked Indian player in the world (behind, as you might expect, Vivek Rajkumar). He could take the top spot with a final table run this week.
Wouldn't that be a fine way to kick off a Team Pro career?
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Photography by PokerPhotoArchive.com