That was what the Poker Sports League management promised us this year, and that is exactly what was delivered. This edition of PSL was grand in many ways, and I’d first like to thank everyone who made this event possible.
Nitesh Salvi – founder and CEO of Pocket52, title sponsors of PSL, Pranav Bagai, Siddharth Mishra, and Prajit Gambhir, the three musketeers who started this wonderful concept of PSL and have worked endlessly over the last five years to grow this mind sport!
Prajit, you legend. God only knows how many roles you have at PSL! From being COO to the auctioneer to commentary to ensuring that the show goes on every single time, big shoutout to you, brother, and to Vidur also for making sure every pre-show and every stream was super smooth. Sid and his production team, wow, man, I don’t even know what to say. You guys are so good at what you do! This year the production team of PSL has really outdone themselves. From every reel to every Instagram story to every update, I have to say the content was fabulous.
Obviously couldn’t have done it without your ever-so-talented team! Dashank, Madhur, and Pandey Ji, big shoutout to the three of you for doing such a great job and just being awesome people in general. I’m really fond of the entire PSL team and of course the man himself, the mastermind Pranav Bagai for making this happen on Jio Cinema- working day in and day out to achieve his vision for poker in India.
I want to thank all the owners for supporting this league every single year and spreading their love and passion for poker. This league would not be possible without you!
Pocket52 PSL Season 5 was something else only. Everyone together on land in the same resort under the same roof, with no hassle of going onto the ship, everyone bonding and interacting.
Personally, for me, the highlight was interacting with the qualifiers from all teams, it’s really nice to talk with someone when you know they look up to you and whatever you’re saying has an impact on them.
It was really heartwarming to meet the Massani brothers, these boys were the heroes of PSL, and that’s another story to tell. Taking a domestic flight for the first time, these two brothers have come from Bhopal and won all our hearts. What gems of human beings, so much confidence, so much energy, I just loved it, to be honest. I had a great time with all my friends and all the other captains who I’m so close to off the felts!
The competition was heavy, and everyone was so passionate and into it. So yeah, GG to my boys – Dirty (Dhaval Mudgal) and Shardul (Parthasarathi) for also taking podium finishes, I had already told Shardul I was going see him heads up and win this time.
Big shoutout to Gaurav Sood, one of the best poker players in India, for playing the finale like an absolute boss man and ensuring I’m shitting myself on the rails while he’s reducing the chip deficit. Love you, Mozzie unlucky one, and you’ll be back stronger we all know it.
Shoutout to Romit (Advani) and Vaibhav (Sharma) for being fantastic team leaders- you win some, you lose some, and I am sure we will see you guys in the top 3 next season!
Now coming to my team, oh man, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a sense of comradery and team spirit in my life. PSL adrenaline just hits differently. I’ve played a lot of tournaments in my life and hit a lot of one-outers for big money, but I’ve never jumped the way PSL made me jump and shout and scream, and it’s a different kind of excitement altogether.
Bringing a team format and making an individual sport a team game is honestly a genius concept! I would like to thank my team owners, Mr Puneet Mehra, Mehul Shah, and Rishi, for trusting me to lead this team again despite a not-so-great performance the previous year. Special shoutout to their families as well, Toral ma’am Divyansh and Prerna, for cheering on the Mumbai team and making sure our rail was the loudest and full of energy. Really happy that Mehul and Rishi also came down and really felt it with the team and were involved and there from start to finish.
Speaking about my team, I want to say I’m so proud of you guys – every point earned by each of you was crucial to us winning and reaching the finale. I remember the day we reached Goa and had our first team meeting, I was really impressed with Puneet sir because he gave a really inspirational team talk on Day 1 itself, which had a big impact on our team. I have to say one thing about my team, though, everyone was really into it, The togetherness and team spirit was really evident, and I think from Day 1, we manifested the win when we took that picture near the trophy.
Humaara wildcard kaisa ho, Alok Birewar jaisa ho! I think the best decision I made this PSL, other than my obvious retentions of Akshay Nasa and Honey Bijlani, was to sign Alok as my wildcard. I knew Alok wouldn’t do it for the money; he wanted to play PSL, he loves strategizing, he was railing every table every tournament, his team spirit was unparalleled, and the best in the league, so kudos bro I’m proud of you, and you did a great job.
Akshay Nasa, my player, said I am born ready when I asked him if he was going to play the finale. Our strategy was simple, get 250 BB in the finale, send Nasa, and ship it!! Shoutout to Ankit, our 2nd pro, for a great performance joining Nasa in the finale, and also getting the ever so-crucial points in the live MTT, but also for declaring that we’ve won before the league even started.
Honey Bijjlani, for doing more work than the captain, bhai this team would not have won without you, I openly state that you are going to be retained every year for Mumbai Anchors. Nitin Gulati for his passion for this team, getting merchandise and hoodies made for the entire team, thank you, bhai! Simran Malhotra, my fellow Pocket52 team pro, for never disappointing me, for being the number 1 woman player of the league, and for her spirit and love for the team.
Dhirendra Kumar and Avinash Tauro for being on top of things, speaking to the new boys, railing watching the stream making notes, top top performance guys. And of course the new boys Shravan and Nikaas, who I couldn’t believe, played live poker for the first time. They both killed it and got super important points for the team. Every single point contributed by each of you was crucial to this team’s success.
It was a rollercoaster of three days, with ups and downs and highs and lows; the excitement and energy were high, and it was the best three days of my life. Humne bahut chipkaaya, 3 straight days chipkaaya, but you gotta spike to ship, and there was no way Mumbai was not winning this season. Also, a big shoutout to my first mentor and dear friend Sahil Mahboobani for top-notch performance and taking down the Player of the Series, so happy for you, bro!
Lifting that trophy was a great feeling and something that’ll stay with me for life, I hope to recreate many more memories with PSL and Mumbai Anchors!