WPT Rolling Thunder Champ Ravee Mathi Sundar Sees Game’s Dark Side


Ravee Mathi Sundar made two WPT final tables in March yet still see pokre as a dark, predatory game. (WPT/Joe Giron photo)

One month ago Ravee Mathi Sundar capped off an extraordinary week of tournament poker when he took down the WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event for $266,857 just five days after final tabling the WPT Bay 101 where he finished sixth.

The Bay 101 regular works a 9-5 job as a software architect in San Francisco and has only been playing poker for a few years. This narrative is one the poker world has been hearing ever since that restaurant accountant from Tennessee turned an online satellite into a WSOP Main Event title 12 years ago.

But Sundar doesn’t really adopt the Chris Moneymaker mantra and instead echoes the sentiments of Big One for One Drop winner Dan Colman.

“It’s a dark game, you’re taking advantage of somebody’s weakness and to get into where you are you have to lose a lot, you have to sacrifice a lot,” said Sundar. “80% of the people are big failures; you’re talking about (paying) the top 10%, now 90% are failures. The impact is they lose mortgage money, cars, stuff.”

Sundar hasn’t been playing poker long. He first learned the game by playing in home games and eventually found his way to the cash games at Bay 101. While he was working his way up, he saw things that bothered him.

“I’ve seen people come into Bay 101 ‘this is my mortgage money man, I have to double it’. I pick those people to bust them first because you can’t bring your mortgage money to the table and gamble, and he’d lose the money and he cries,” said Sundar. “I hated that game so bad. That’s the reason I quit cash games. I didn’t quit actually, I’m still playing them but sooner or later I’ll quit cash games.”

Sundar’s tournament results profile only shows the two WPT cashes. Nothing else. After playing in those cash games for a while, Sundar turned to tournaments late last year. Making a deep run in the WPT event at his home casino was special and exceeded everything the married father of two thought was possible.

“I was so happy to get into the top 16 in Bay 101. I thought I achieved the maximum I want for this year. So then I went to the final table and I thought ‘this is huge, that’s it’,” said Sundar. “I thought I was going to make top three actually when I went to the final table. The energy was like ‘I can make it a little bit more’, but sixth is awesome.”

Rather than take his final table earnings and drive up to Thunder Valley, Sundar took a day off to decide what he was going to do. After talking it over with his wife he decided to play in a satellite the night before the Main Event. He won that and carried his hot streak through to the win and another six-figure payday.

“A lot of my friends said ‘You should quit your day job and try this’. I said no, this is a lucky run,” said Sundar.“If I make any cashes in the WPT in the next six months then I’ll consider (quitting). I still consider this as a lucky run. Let’s see what the future holds. Right now I’m not sure.”

This week Sundar is in Florida for the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and will travel to Atlantic City next week for the WPT Championship. Already having used up his holidays for 2015, he’s taken an unpaid leave to continue to play.

“I actually didn’t mean to play this. Next week I have The Borgata, so I thought why don’t I take a week off and play this one too,” said Sundar. “I convinced my boss, because they know that I’m running hot so why don’t you take a chance?”.

Recognizing that just a month after winning over $400,000, his opinion that poker isn’t something to be celebrated might come across as controversial and hypocritical, Sundar admits that while Moneymaker helped introduce the game to millions of Americans, he’s a very different person.

“I’m not a great ambassador for poker.”

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at BLUFF.com
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, ThePokerBiz.com in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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