Poker, as the saying goes, takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master. Indians love to gamble! But today, poker is just an exclusive option for the elite- in business parties, movie sets, and to the class which appreciates such games involving mind and money. Simrit Tiwana has been turning heads since a long time now breaking stereotypes and introducing the world of poker to women.
What started as a casual bout for fun, ended up becoming a full-time career for her. From Chandigarh, she moved to Delhi to complete her college education and fulfil her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She even started an export house in Delhi, that unfortunately shut down due to lack of funds, so she became a fashion assistant. Which goes on to prove that she had no intentions of mastering the art of poker, none at all.
Her first encounter with her love for poker was at a Diwali party and just like that playing cards became a frequent activity for her. She was 21 when she started it, her friends studying abroad introduced her to poker. At that time, Facebook had a game called Zynga poker to which she got addicted to and made it a habit.
For her, Poker used to be just a game, that too a stimulating one, and the trips to Goa and Sikkim where it is legal, unlike Delhi played a major role in developing her interest even further. She played it at casino tournaments and online. Then it struck her- she could actually make a profession out of it.
She says, “As a poker player, everybody is equally lucky or unlucky”. It’s basic old school maths and bursts the myth that Poker is sheer luck and no skill. She insists that it requires you to be on your toes and is quite the fusion of mind and money. It is certainly not the glamorous gambling, as it appears to some.”
Till not very long ago, she was possibly the only female professional in the game from India. And the lady is 30 now and has been playing as a professional player for about a decade, the same is even rumoured to make as much as Rs. 5 lakhs in one night of playing poker. Thankfully, a lot of good professional women players have emerged now and are believed to be giving a very hard time to men. She agrees that there is still male dominance over the game- in her words “Until they learn to fear you”.
“In the Indian mindset, cards are associated with gambling,” says Simrit. “Everyone thinks of fat, drunk, uncles throwing gold rings or cars keys on the table.” This is the reason she felt it wasn’t a good idea to tell her parents about her career in poker. We know how protective Indian parents can be, but looking at the current scenario, she doesn’t feel ashamed about telling people what she does.
Simrit ensures to follow some ground rules such as – She never touches her life money for her poker games and keeps the two things separate. The poker queen makes sure she doesn’t play for high stakes as she used to at the very beginning. She makes sure she doesn’t make any rash decisions at the table.
She has always maintained that real professionalism and doesn’t care about gender at the table.According to her, it’s a serious game which involves money and everybody is there to win. She continues to play poker, about two to three times a week. She prefers live games at home rather than online tournaments as the comfort level is way better at your very home.
She never felt intimidated at the table surrounding all men and in fact has always considered it a matter of pride that she has the brain and skills to make it through. To name a few, Vedant Thadani, Sachit Kapoor, Niharika Bindra, Akash Malik, Shashank Jain are the people she admires immensely.
So folks , here is a woman who has made it big in a male-dominated profession, in fact, a game which isn’t even legal in most of the country. We are proud to see her following her passion and do what she wants to do and not what she’s supposed to do. Kudos to the queen of cards!
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