Amit 'amak316' Makhija

Amit Makhija calls his rise through the ranks in poker 'a standard poker boom story'.

Amit Makhija calls his rise through the ranks in poker 'a standard poker boom story'. Finding the game in high school but only deciding to take it seriously in his sophomore year at college, this was in 2005 when the Moneymaker effect was in full swing. Building up a bankroll from nothing by playing freerolls on a variety of online poker sites, Makhija fondly remembers the moment when he won one of these which gave him $100 to work with. Without ever losing it all or having to make a deposit, he had snowballed this bankroll into a six-figure sum before he'd even graduated.

Although Makhija had played cash games and sit and go's during this growth period, he shifted his focus towards MTTs and became one of the most successful players on PokerStars in 2007. Earning more than $400,000 in this year alone, his tournament scores placed him in the top 0.01% of players according to Official Poker Rankings – an achievement he made again more recently in 2015. His total online tournament earnings now exceed $3,400,000, with his biggest cash coming in an FTOPS $5,200 6-Max event for $550,000 in 2008. He continues to play regularly online today under the screenname 'amak316' on PokerStars.

Though online poker is certainly Amit's bread and butter, he invested more time into the live tournament circuit from 2008. In an impressive year, he made a deep run in the EPT Monte Carlo €10,000 along with three cashes at the World Series of Poker. One of these included a final-table at the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event, where he was sat with and outlasted Patrik Antonius and Phil Laak. Finishing in 5th for $198,528, this huge score wasn't even the largest that 2008 had to offer him. Less than three months later, Makhija came runner-up in the WPT Los Angeles $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship Event for $563,320 – his biggest tournament score to date. Since then, Makhija has scored five other six-figure paydays – including a fifth-place finish at the WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event for $179,866, along with a deep run in the 2012 WSOP Main Event for $156,293.

In an interview with Julio Rodriguez, Amit has spoken candidly about poker as of late. He admits, 'There are some negative aspects to life as a poker pro. It's a very isolating experience. There are people who you are good friends with that you need to beat day in and day out'. Despite these downsides, he says that he is still living out his dream by playing poker professionally and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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