Amit Kanodia: How I Refused to Fold?
By Amit Kanodia, Founder & CEO of Host.Games, The Only Gaming Protocol For Emerging Markets
When I was a little boy growing up in Hyderabad, my father once told me that anything is possible as long as you don’t give up. Since that day, those words of wisdom have kept me on my feet with whenever life’s challenges came my way.
I have looked to these words more times than I would like to count. When my family faced a severe financial crisis, I didn’t think we would ever get our heads above water again. Later, I lost my life partner to a tragic accident. At the time it was impossible to believe that I would ever find happiness again. However, refusing to be dissuaded, I clung to my father’s words. I found comfort in the notion that despite everything I had been through, I could overcome these things if I just stayed strong.
My father was a successful businessman and, as a child, I always wanted to emulate him. I have looked up to him for inspiration at every stage of my life. His compassion, strict adherence to fairness, and perseverance are just some of his many qualities that I try to incorporate in my own life. Often I would accompany him on his business trips or to meetings. He would let me use his computer while he handled his business affairs. I used to enthusiastically try to calculate profit margins on his computer and would suggest silly ideas for him to increase his profits. He never rebuffed me and always encouraged me to come up with new ideas. My affinity for mathematics and science was always something my parents, teachers and friends encouraged in me. My constant impulse to explain things in detail even earned me the nickname ‘’Professor.’’
Once I reached university, my fondness for mathematics and science grew into an inextricable passion. It was then and there that I honed my analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. I believe my deep, conceptual understanding of numbers helped me excel in subjects like economics and finance. These experiences helped me develop my analytical skills, which have become one of my greatest strengths.
When my family’s businesses experienced huge financial losses, we fell into massive debt. It was extremely painful to watch my father undergo such difficult times In the thick of our financial woes, I happened to watch ‘Rounders’ — one of my all-time favourite movies. It inspired me to take up professional poker and changed my life forever. My knack for mathematics and my penchant for analytics led to early winnings. I started participating in high stakes private poker games and used my winnings to help pay off my family’s debts. Eventually, with the money I made in poker and the restructuring of businesses I helped sell, we were able to clear all our debt..
The time I spent paying off my family’s debts completely immersed me in the world of poker. My love of problem solving was something that kept my head in the game; even complex problems can have simple solutions. My life experiences, particularly the struggles, fueled my desire to always win the game at hand.
Beyond hardship, I faced tragedy during my early successes with poker, when I lost my beloved wife to an accident. It was and remains devastating to move through the world without her, and I grieve for her still. With the passage of time, I felt like I had become a stronger person, and her loss led me to value relationships more — you never know how much time you have with the people you love. She had always encouraged me to become an entrepreneur, believing in my skills as a problem solver. I knew that one day, in her memory, I would do this.
I continued playing poker, but after some time, I would find myself yearning for something more than poker winnings at the end of each game. An interest in entrepreneurship kept nagging in my thoughts, which prompted me to look to the flaws and potential opportunities in the poker industry. After spending time carefully observing and evaluating the industry, I started Host.Games two years ago, which caters to all levels of players.
Our first go to market product was MadOverPoker to tap into online poker market in India. India is one of the fasted growing market for online skill-based games. I planned to venture into Indian poker market to capitalise on the opportunities on offer. Within a year of inception, our Indian subsidiary became the fastest-growing online poker platform in India and now ranks among the top 5 online poker companies in the country.
As my startup entered its second year of operations, I began to compile the insights into the online gaming industry we had gleaned from running our business. One of the most prominent issues I wanted to solve was the lack of high stakes poker games being played online. Through a thorough analysis, I identified a set of problems pertinent to the centralized online gaming space. I started exploring various options to address the problem areas that have major market implications.
At that time, I got some valuable advice from my friend and CEO of Nucleus Vision (India’s largest ICO), Abhishek Pitti, who suggested blockchain technology as a change agent in the world of online casino gaming. I quickly realized that implementing blockchain in my startup could lead to a next-generation gaming solution, which could provide comprehensive functionality for players, operators, and developers alike.
That’s how the present form of Host Games was born. From the beginning, Host Games has looked to provide a complete gaming infrastructure, powered by the only casino gaming protocol that will allow anyone to play, host, and build games on the blockchain. This ambitious project will deliver a seamless, secure, and transparent gaming experience to anyone, anywhere in the world.
My life’s story has been full of challenges and successes but, through it all, I’ve come to the point where I have the knowledge and experience to bring such a project to life. I would not be here if not for the encouragement and love from my late wife and the wise words I’ve carried all these years from my father. Without them, I might never have decided to embark on this entrepreneurial journey to disrupt the world of gaming.
The stubborn persistence to never give up is the practical mantra I religiously follow
To learn more about Host.Games, visit our website here.
Amit Kanodia is Founder & CEO of Host.Games and you can reach him on LinkedIn here.