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2009 WSOP Best Bets: Vivek Rajkumar
It'd be a bit of a stretch to call Vivek Rajkumar a "darkhorse" at this stage in his poker career. Yet somehow, despite all of his recent success, he still manages to fly under some people's radar.
At 19, Rajkumar had already finished college with a degree in computer engineering and was all set to begin his life behind a computer screen with Microsoft.
It took only a year for him to realize that it wasn't on Microsoft's computers where he was making his money, it was at home, online, where he was quickly establishing himself as one of the most feared multi-table tournament grinders under the pseudonym Psyduck.
So Rajkumar did what any 20-year-old would do in his situation.
He quit his job and never looked back.
Luckily, his parents were very atypical Indian parents and were in fact very supportive of his decision to ditch the guaranteed wage of the nine-to-five for the infinitely more turbulent life of a professional poker player.
And why wouldn't they be? At 20, Vivek had already conquered everything else he'd set his mind to.
After about a year, Vivek shifted his focus from the online grind to the tournament circuit.
In his first World Series of Poker he cashed for over $100,000 - far more than one would expect to make grinding out 40 hours a week in a cubical.
"Having a couple of wins under my belt definitely increases my overall confidence," he said.
With the large fields WSOP events draw, Rajkuamr knows you have to be more than good to win a bracelet.
"You have to get really lucky to beat out so many people," he said.
Like every one of the thousands and thousands of players descending on Las Vegas for the month and half long super-grind that is the WSOP, his main goal is to capture that elusive bracelet.
"I'm going to be playing every single No Limit event I can get my hands on, as well as a couple of the PLO tournaments," he said.
"I'm mostly looking forward to the 40k, the 10k Heads-up and the 5k PLO tournament.
"I get more excited about small field big buy-in tournaments than large field small to mid-size buy-in ones."
With such a huge number of tournaments to play in a short period of time, Rajkumar decided this year he would do the exact opposite of what he had done in previous years to prepare.
"In the past I used to play a bigger schedule online so that I could get more practice and hands in right before a big series," he said.
"This month I decided that I would just take it easy and enjoy life with as little poker as possible before six weeks of pretty much nothing but poker."
Although he won't be logging countless hands in preparation, he is preparing himself for the grind in a more traditional sense.
"I started a workout and training schedule so I could have more concentration and stamina for the 12-hour days that you often have to endure when playing the WSOP," Rajkumar said. "Something I should have started a long time ago."
A well rested and confident Rajkumar should be a force to reckon with and with his recent success you can bet your bottom dollar Psyduck will be looking to add to his already robust $2 million in live tournament winnings this summer.