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Vikram Singh

The Indian P̶o̶k̶e̶r̶ Ponzi Scene

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I don't know why Indian poker players come to me to ask for help - whether it be poker related or help with money that's owed to them or asking me if the math of the returns they got in an invested pack is correct or not.

Usually, it is. Most people selling action on Groups like IPPA are good people. Yes, the marketplace is too results oriented and therefore a lot of players (including me) get away with high MU, investors, on their part - making bad investments.

MU is a product of a player's ROI and the Market. Since my ROI is pretty good (thank you 180 mans) and the Market is not set by me..I have no problem selling at a higher rate because to be honest, the average investor does not care if they are sending you 25$ or 27$, which kind of makes sense.....

I mean all of it makes sense because the money invested vs potential returns has such a huge disparity that even if poker players or investors buying their action want to chase the magic bullet, they totally should.

Richard Dawkins once did an experiment where he asked an audience of a about a thousand or so to stand up. Half the side chooses Tails, the other half Heads and he flips the coin. Since there is always a result in the toss, half the side always wins. Continue this for a while, you are left with 100 people, divide them up into the same 'right side of the room chooses heads, left chooses tails' and toss it up - left with 50, then 25 and obv. there won't be equal number of people sitting on each side (so don't worry about fractions here) but you will be left with 2 people. One again chooses tails and the other heads.

Up goes the coin and lands Heads. Here you have a person who probably guessed the right answer of a coin toss 25-30 times in a row (depending on the number of audience). That is absurd. Try doing it yourself and aim for 10 right answers and you will struggle to get all 10 right.

Now hypothesise a hall with a million people and the same experiment is conducted. Again, there will be someone who chose the answer right about 500 or so times. That is mega insane.

Actually, it isn't.
When there are millions of agents participating in events with high improbability of a 'good' outcome', someone will still get that outcome out of the sheer no. of those improbable events that will occur.

This explains away all those 'coincidences to miracles', depending on your ideology, that you think you experience when you run into someone you hadn't seen for a while the day after having a dream about them.

Imagine the number of people in Delhi having a dream about someone....the answer is a s*it ton. Now all those people will wake up so it is only natural and probability wise quite a reasonable occurrence that somewhere someone will run into someone they had a dream about or receive a call from someone they were thinking about only a few hours ago.

These are black swan events but so many of these events are occurring, it would actually be supernatural that these highly unlikely events don't occur.

Yes, the very fact that these seemingly supernatural events occur, is evidence we live in a natural world.

I would be far more concerned living in a world where these events did not occur. That world would defy logic, which is just another label for math. Let me digress here - On a poker table - you think logically, but you are still applying mathematics to a problem, when you use software to analyse your game, you are doing the same thing but at a macro level.

Ok back to topic.

I was on PokerRajas Podcast recently and we touched on the subject of the average player in India 'gaining knowledge' to play within their means, to improve via coaching, to study after a session is over and we even touched on MU and how people will learn a bad investment from a good one.

Just like the best poker players make mistakes, so will investors. That is not the issue though as long as the decision making process is sound.

All of this brings me to the actual reason for this blog. From my own experience and from those who have come to me and also from reading public posts with screen grabs of communication, it seems that till the time people become more educated in tracking their investments, making sure they are not being spun a thread, and of course, learning important as heck topics like Bankroll management, there will be those who exploit the market.

Use a sort of Ponzi scheme where they move money received from one player to pay off another and trust me this is strife in the indian scene.

I will admit to anything. I have publically declared that around July- August last year I had Zero dollars on Pokerstars in spite of shipping b2b Big 82's.

Those were the recreational days though and a big score meant - pull out the funds - hop on a plane and meet up with friends to travel.

This is exactly what I did when I binked the 55$ re-entry turbo for the biggest score of my life back then in 2012. 20 Days later there was Zero dollars in my Pokerstars Account but I had spent a week enjoying Prague.

winner winning

I have admitted to doing things the wrong way with regards to BRM myself. However, even if I am fronted money from someone - be it 50$ I tell them they will get it back the next day with juice. And they do.

I finish a pack - Returns go back 1st thing. I pulled a 16hr session yesterday and last thing I wanted was to do math and could have easily said the classic line "will do the math tomorrow guys." I made sure to send the money back. I should not be applauded for this - It is nothing but standard.

SuicideSpree knows about this, 1darkmatter1 does, heck even attempts by Keenyle to clean up this mess were great but they did not address one issue - Newcomers to the scene being exploited by players who have no money in their accounts, still want to play the game and not grind .10c games, instead they resort to clever tactics and excuses to delay payments, or right out scam people and behave unethically out of 'reputation.'

The classic line I receive on PMs is - "he said he has reputation in IPPA and this is standard practice to do blah blah." Second most line used is "Bro I will pay you by xyz date, then abc date"

Reminds me of Sunny paaji's "Tareek pe Tareek" line. What a ledge. Absolute Hero.

I don't have the solution but time and again I have asked people to be more transparent and tried to...I wouldn't use 'teach' but that is what it is, newcomers to ask for more transparency, and to not be results oriented about packs, but look for consistency. I posted something to that ilk and the Group Admin of Keenyle attempts to clean up the mess said "You are speaking Mandarin."

I will again implore people to be smart about their investments, I will implore players to play within their means, or if they don't want to, that's cool too but don't be unethical in paying back someone who trusted their money with you. Just like you have a Banroll, so does an investor. In fact investors should also invest based on what their 'can be used for speculative income' funds are.

Hope everyone is doing well and one day we will be in a situation with far more decent and ethical environment.

It is rather simple, don't let your ego or pride take control, all you have to say is I have 50$ in my account. This is where I genuinely think Vikash Khaitan is a boss. Heart on the sleeve. Don't want to judge his game, but I know he speaks that HONESTY.
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  1. Nv119's Avatar
    Wonderful article mate.
    Have been scammed a couple of time on player to player transfer too where they never pay up the remaining funds after dollars have been transferred.
    There should be a regulated poker marketplace in india for both the investors and the sellers.

  2. saging's Avatar
    Nice blog, except that you have 30k downswing since the time you mentioned when you have 0 $ in account. Better stfu and not preach others when you are a terrible loosing player. Smart decision would have been to stop playing in June last year and minimize losses.