Poker Still has a Long Way to Go In India

Although there are many gambling enthusiasts in India who regularly play poker, the country-wide casino poker is only a distant possibility. In order to conduct live gambling games in India, a casino has to be offshore because of the various restrictions imposed by the government. Some land based casinos that are permitted to have electronic gambling machines are not enough to satisfy gambling enthusiasts as there is hardly any action on these machines. The casinos that are in India are offshore casinos with Casino Pride and Casino Royal, both based on Goa, being the leading players.

Gradual improvement

Madhav Gupta, owner of Piranha Creek, the company that operates the poker room in Casino Pride said that although poker forms only a small percentage of income generated by casinos in India, it is attracting more people now. It is not just the youngsters who are moving towards the game; even people over 40 are beginning to play poker. He remarked that this is an indication that poker will soon gain much popularity in the country.

Most of the poker rooms in India are small, containing no more than 8 tables. The stakes of the game range up to INR 20,000 blinds.

New initiatives to attract more players

Gupta said that there are many efforts being undertaken to attract players to poker. One such step taken to enhance the popularity of the game is encouraging players to become tournament organizers. Tournament organizers are assured of many rewards. He said that the casino makes money when players who are eliminated from tournaments go for playing cash games. He said that most of the players come from cities like Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi and hence there is an opportunity to expand poker into these cities.

Gupta said that it is hard to get people to Goa to play the games. But various steps are being taken to ensure that people who do come to Goa to play get many benefits. He also said that Facebook was acting as a great tool for popularizing the game. He stated that slowly, but surely, there will be many more people who would opt for poker as a means for making a livelihood.

Tournaments that are hosted in Goa are organized by various companies, groups or individuals. Pranav Bagai from the New-Delhi based The Shark, a company that organizes casino tournaments, said that there has been a significant increase in the number of players who participate in the tournaments.

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