With a white Wynn baseball cap and a large ring of keys attached to his belt loop, Carlos Chadha looks more like an online steps qualifier than a contender at the 2015 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller.
While Chadha’s road to the PCA did involve several steps they were taken methodically and consistently over the years.
It comprises a three-part poker odyssey that was slightly less monumental than the Lord of the Rings -- but also involved multiple rings.
There’s even some Magic involved.
When Chadha was an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University he was an avid Magic: The Gathering player, but the game soon wore thin.
“Lots of my friends were playing [Magic: The Gathering] and I was getting bored with it,” Chadha said. “I had a boring summer job doing research in computer logic and started playing online.”
That’s when the Chadha Poker Trilogy™ began.
The Magical Ascent
Magic: The Poker Training Ground
“So basically my poker career has had three parts,” Chadha said.
“I spent the first year playing Limit Holdem online and then spent the next three years playing Seven-Card Stud High.”
This profitable beginning to poker lasted into 2007 when the second chapter opened with downswings across the board.
“I did my first Masters in 2007 but I didn’t actually get the degree,” Chadha said.
Instead of computer science, Chadha decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in international relations.
“I did everything, I wrote the thesis and the thesis got rejected so I had to do it over,” Chadha said. “At that point I knew I wasn’t going to get that degree.”
Chadha also faced his first losing poker year and unprecedented expenses.
A dramatic and inaccurate graph of Chadha's bankroll.
“[Before 2007] I’d never had a losing year and I never used any of my money but then I got married in 2007 for the first time,” Chadha said. “I got married to the same woman three times.
“I started spending too much money, and playing too high and had no bankroll management.
“Then I switched to heads-up NL online, lost and went back to .25c/.50c.
“I went back down to micro limits and pretty much quit poker, I was doing it just for fun.”
Chadha was down, but only thought he was out.
As the saying goes, all you need is a chip and a chair. A big blind and an internet connection outside of the United States helps, too.
Chadha re-enrolled in college but this time decided to pursue a Masters in finance.
“I love finance actually,” Chadha said. “I got into it through poker actually because a lot of the guy I play with are finance guys. So I was really into it, really hooked.
While pursuing his degree Chadha kept playing online recreationally but was soon building his bankroll back up.
“So in 2009 I just started making a ton of money playing HU No-Limit,” Chadha said.
“That year I made six figures and made more than six figures the next year. Then I graduated and was making much more in poker than I could’ve made in finance.”
The Dark DOJ Day
Things went well for a few years, until April 15th, 2011.
“When Black Friday hit, I had 45% of my bankroll on Full Tilt and about 15% on Ultimate Bet,” Chadha said. “That was really hard for me and that’s when I moved to Canada.”
That’s where the third chapter began. Chadha was a young refugee in a large, cold land trying to escape the clutches of location-based poker restrictions.
That’s also when Chadha started playing tournaments.
“I just started playing multi-table tournaments after Black Friday to reduce my variance, which is kinda weird,” Chadha said.
“I was playing high-stakes Heads-Up No-Limit but I had two buy-ins at the limits I was playing on like six different sites.
This didn’t give Chadha a lot of leeway.
“I’d like have two buy-ins at my highest limits which at heads-up, you lose like five or ten buy-ins in one sitting,” Chadha said.
“So it was just really stressful playing that high with most of my bankroll locked up.”
Return of the MTT
Carlos Chadha, a super high rolling family man.
That’s when Chadha started playing tournaments in the $500 and $200 range.
Chadha started doing well in tournaments and by the time he recovered his Full Tilt money he had gotten used to the format.
“It took a year-and-a-half to get my money back from Full Tilt and by that time I got rusty at heads up and was doing really well in tournaments,” Chadha said.
Chadha now plays in some of the largest super high rollers across the planet. They’re the only live tournaments really worth going to, Chadha says.
“It’s worth it to come out and play a live tournament to travel if you can play a super high roller but if you’re here to play a $10K with a thousand people, you’re never going to cash and you’ll just be depressed.”
“This, [the super high roller], I have a reasonable chance at winning this, and you know, It’s a lot of money.”
But the tournament phase might be coming to an end as well and Chadha’s saga could turn into a quadrilogy.
“Now at this point it’s been three years so I’m gonna change again I’m gonna try to get back into cash games because tournaments is a very bad lifestyle if you have a family,” Chadha said.
“I have two kids and I’m pretty unhappy with the lifestyle so I’m trying to play cash games and super high rollers.”