It’s a little over 9,000 miles – or 14,000 kilometers – from Mumbai, India to the Atlantis Resort and Casino where the PokerStars Championship Bahamas is happening this week, but it’s a trip that Sacheen Ramchandani was more than happy to make.
Ramchandani is one of the 250 players to have qualified for the Championship Main Event on PokerStars.com and is the only one from India. It’s a trip that didn’t almost happen, though.
“One day I was just sitting in the house, doing nothing and I see a $27 tournament for the Bahamas. I think, it sounds good – I’m not going to win it but why not give it a shot? I gave it a shot and okay, made round 2,” said Ramchandani.
The next step in the qualification process wasn’t for a few weeks. Ramchandani had a business trip planned in the mean time and came back thinking about almost anything but poker.
“I came back from Singapore, it was a Sunday and I said to my maid I want to start a healthy life now, make me a soup and salad, I want to sleep and hit the gym in the morning. I totally forgot about the tournament. I had no idea that I had to play a tournament,” said Ramchandani.
Just as he was dozing off, he remembered something about the date, but couldn’t recall if he had to play early morning the next day or late at night. So he dragged himself out of bed and launched the PokerStars client.
“So I switched on the light, and it said I had to play in 3.5 hours and there goes my healthy lifestyle. So I ordered food because now I’ll be hungry – 3.5 hours plus the tourney,” said Ramchandani.
A little over four hours later, Ramchandani was the last player standing, staring at a screen congratulating him on winning a trip the
“I won the tourney. I was all excited and dying to tell somebody. But who could I tell? I couldn’t tell anybody because nobody is awake at that hour,” said Ramchandani. “So I took a picture of the “Congratulations you’ve won” screen and sent it to the poker group of mine and my family group and went to sleep. And next morning was totally different life.”
Congratulatory text messages from friends and family are one thing, but Ramchandani is just thrilled to be living out a dream. The 35 year old has only been playing for six years and now finds himself rubbing elbows with some of his poker idols.
“For me it’s like a fairy tale. That’s how history is made, I guess,” said Ramchandani. “I’m excited. I am nervous but I’m less nervous than I was thinking it would be. I guess it’s because I’ve watched so many videos – even when I’m on the treadmill in the gym, I’m only watching PokerStars videos. I’m on YouTube all the time because I want to improve my game.”
Even though he’s got a successful career going selling luxury watches to high-end clientele, Ramchandani is hoping to turn his $27 shot into something much, much bigger – and we’re not just talking about the potential million dollar first place prize money.
“Most importantly I want to be the reason why PokerStars (Live) comes to India,” said Ramchandani. “I want to be the thing that says if this guy can do it, you have millions of guys better than him, why don’t you go for it. Even if I cash, then I can make the final table, I feel like I’ve won the trophy already.”