Meet The Upswing Poker Pros
Pratyush Buddiga -"Shane Gamble"
Hey guys, my name’s Pratyush Buddiga and I play under the screenname of Shane Gamble online.
I’ve always loved competition from the time I was a little kid. I watched the National Spelling Bee on ESPN when I was eight years old and decided I wanted to win. Four years and a lot of hard work later, I did. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and something I’m still very proud of to this day. I realized that if I set my mind to anything I could accomplish it.
Next on my list was the AAA Travel Challenge---a “geography/travel” competition for high schoolers. In my sophomore year of high school, I won the nationals for that too. Competition was in my blood and I hungered for more.
Unfortunately, the rest of high school and early years of college failed to provide me with that spark. Competing over grades or in classrooms wasn’t nearly as exciting as contests where there was an outright winner. Luckily, during my junior year at Duke University, I made a fateful decision that would lead me down a completely new path.
I decided to do the Duke-in-New-York program which sent 20 or so students up to New York City. We would take a few finance classes and then interview/network with Wall Street bankers.The program was a disaster for me in many respects because I didn’t like the atmosphere, missed my Duke friends, and generally wanted to leave as soon as I got there.
The semester was extremely easy academically though as we were supposed to focus on securing our future careers. I had no interest in this and began playing poker instead. I had watched Chris Moneymaker win the Main Event on ESPN (sound familiar?) a few years before that and had dabbled in home games and a bit of online but never took it too seriously. That semester was different. I became obsessed with the game and played nonstop.
I was lucky enough to become friends with a group of poker players that included Pius Heinz, Michael Gagliano, Daniel Strelitz, Brian Yoon, Niall Farrell, Sean Ruane, and a few others all before they became mainstream poker names. They helped take me from a breakeven low stakes player to a good mid/highstakes MTTer.
That was my status through graduation and the following years as I embarked on my first few years as a pro.I was coached by Mike “Timex” McDonald and lived in Waterloo with him in between traveling the world for poker. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The best moment was winning the 2014 Fallsview Poker Classic $2500 event just down the road in Niagara.
I still had big ambitions and while I had played some very high stakes tournaments, I knew I wasn’t quite good enough to play high rollers regularly. Then something quite fortuitous happened. I was tabled with Doug Polk in the 10k 6max. Doug was being chatty (big surprise right?) and I took the opportunity to grill him about hands at the table like a straight-up fish. It was embarrassing for everyone else at the table I’m sure but hell, there was no Upswing at the time. How often do you get to pick the mind of someone like Doug?!
After the WSOP ended, I messaged him asking for coaching. He was hesitant because he hadn’t done that for tournaments before but eventually agreed. The next two years were a complete whirlwind as Doug basically taught me an entirely new way to think about poker and apply it to tournaments. It blew my mind---I mean, I didn’t even know what a double delay was! Doug is an amazing coach and his ability to explain things clearly completely revamped my game and helped turn me from a run-of-the-mill MTTer into a high roller regular and climb as high as #2 on the Global Poker Index. It was also extremely lucrative financially with many deep runs and scores capping off with a win in the $25k highroller at EPT Barcelona for $700k.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to learn from some of the best guys out there: from Pius and that entire crew to Timex and finally to Doug, the best NLHE HU cash player of all-time. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.