In a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event at the 2014 World Series of Poker, they’re one in a handful.
Aditya “Intervention” Agarwal serves as a de facto leader and mentor to the small clan of professional Indian poker players who find their way to the WSOP each year.
Agarwal -- better known as Intervention or Adi due to the abundance of Aditya’s -- is India’s top-earning live and online player.
Agarwal has been playing the WSOP since 2007 and has been uniting Indian players to play poker long before that.
“I Was a Bit Blown Away by Just the Scale of Things”
When Adi was in college, he learned poker and rallied up his Indian friends so they could work together to improve their games.
Now, seven years later, he’s doing the same thing ... but for stakes a bit higher than the $5 buy-in tournaments he played in college.
Every year Adi mentors and teaches Indian players the ways of live and online poker. Some of them find their way down to Las Vegas for the WSOP.
This year, one of Adi’s apprentices is another Aditya -- Aditya Sushant.
“It’s now or never right?” Sushant said about choosing this year to come to the WSOP.
Sushant’s there-are-too-many-Aditya’s nickname is “Sushi.” This isn’t only Sushi’s first WSOP, it’s his first time visiting the United States.
“Las Vegas is nice,” Sushi said on a break from Event #26 at the 2014 WSOP last night. “Better than I thought it would be.”
A night out on the town let Sushi see the city up close and personal. It was much more fun than any movie or article made it out to be -- however unprofitable that night was.
Sushi, who hails from Chennai, is also used to the heat. Chennai reaches triple-digit heat (Fahrenheit) in the summer and has humidity levels that often exceed 80 per cent.
One thing Chennai doesn’t have, though? The massive poker fields the WSOP does.
“I was a bit blown away by just the scale of things,” Sushi said. “The number of people, like when there were 8,000 people playing the Millionaire Maker.
"That was a pretty amazing sight. Just the spectacle of the whole event.”
A Long Road From Chennai
Sushi didn’t cash in the Millionaire Maker but he did go deep in another large field. The $1,000 Turbo drew 1,473 players and Sushi finished 94th to earn $2,293.
Sushi plans on playing several of the $1,000 and $1,500 events and -- if the bankroll allows it -- the Main Event.
It’s the biggest spectacle in poker and quite a distance from when Sushi started playing online in Chennai back in 2008.
Sushi then ended up in Goa -- a tropical casino-ridden poker paradise on the west coast of India that all Indian poker players eventually find their way to -- in December 2010.
There, he met Adi and won the 25,000 rupee Indian Poker Championship event for 626,000 INR (USD $13,680).
Then he went pro. Sushi kept playing and started learning under Adi, who also staked him.
“Adi, he can be a pain sometimes,” Sushi said. “But he’s pretty good in general.”
Sushi’s game and bankroll continued to improve and he spread his poker wings. Sushi soon found himself in Macau and the PCA playing in the largest events of his life.
Now he’s taking his biggest shots here at the WSOP.
Adi and Sushi aren’t the only Indian players in contention this summer though. Also featured in the photo are Akash Malik and Amit Ajwani.
All four players are in Event #26, $1,500 NLHE, and all four are vying to be India’s first WSOP bracelet winner.
Follow along with their progress on our 2014 WSOP page.