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India’s first Shootout Champion MARIA DR$GON KIRLOSKAR tells us her story!

gopoker_survivorseries_03_reloadbonus6001Winner: Maria Kirloskar

What do you get when an aspiring writer turned marketing guru gives GoPoker.in a shot? A big, happy winner. “I love the fact that there is always something new to learn while playing Poker. Each game is a clean slate and you can either write a good story or a bad one depending on so many factors.”

Meet Maria Kirloskar, aka, Dr$gon, our most globally travelled winner who has grown up all over the world. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, India and the US – Maria is our first female user to have won so big. So, how did it all start? “While traveling for work to the US, I would catch late night TV coverage of various Poker tournaments and it fascinated me.” says Maria. “About 8 years ago, when Zynga Poker captured everyone’s interest, I was excited to have access to the game and a chance to learn how to play!”

In order to share her excitement for the game, Maria and her husband Rajiv began inviting their friends and family over for a weekly poker night. She topped the game leaderboards for 2 consecutive years. This increased her confidence, and she decided to take it to the next level. In January 2015, Maria played her first set of live tournaments in Goa, and realised she had to unlearn everything she thought she knew about poker to play real stake professional poker. She’s covered some amazing ground since then, and aspires to play in the Asian Circuit in 2017.

“I play online Poker daily for at least 5 hours, just trying to put into practise all that I am learning from articles, videos, books, and several of my friends on the circuit.” says Maria, who also attributes the change in her game to her coach Madan Kumar. “I am mostly a Texas Holdem tournament player and prefer the deep stack games but I’ve recently fallen in love with Pot Limit Omaha tournaments, too!”

Armed with a solid background in marketing, communications and business research, Maria draws the parallels between the randomness of luck and the power of practise to hone your skills in any field. “I am not a naturally gifted Poker player, I work very hard to understand the game and spend hours trying to improve my skill.”

Last week, Maria found herself at the final tables of the Headhunter and Shootout tournaments, and ended up winning the Shoot out. “It was a bit tough for a little while as I don’t multi table very much.” said Maria “I loved the Shootout format where one had to win the table in order to progress to the next round.” When asked how she felt about winning the tournament, she summed it up in one word – “thrilled” – aided with a big grin across her face.

So, how did Maria stumble onto GoPoker.in? Turns out, she and our founder and professional poker player Abhishek Goindi played on the same table last year. She learnt of GoPoker and was instantly excited about his new platform. “I could tell that people liked and respected him very much. When I heard he was starting gopoker, I knew he would focus on giving Players an exciting platform to hone their Poker skills” says Maria.

Happy with her experience on the GoPoker.in platform, Maria says she would highly recommend the platform to her social circles without a doubt. She highlighted some of the aspects that drew her in: Lots of low buy in tournaments and freerolls, an interesting outlook on presenting new tournament formats, and above all – a trustworthy team behind the whole thing. “I like playing on the GoPoker site because it has a pleasant interface and smooth gameplay” Maria added. “I have played a few tournaments on the platform and am enjoying the experience.”

Any words of wisdom for our new players and fellow poker players out there, Dr$gon? “I would suggest that the first time gamers play the freerolls and put whatever money they win from the freerolls into the low buy in games while the more experienced players should try out the different format tournaments”, says Maria. “I would like to thank the GoPoker team for putting together a great first tournament series and look forward to playing many more! All the very best to each of you and wish you every success!”

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