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India Poker Boom still waiting

by Jeremy Olson on August 24, 2011

Much has been made about a potential poker boom happening in India sometime soon. In fact, we at Aintluck have covered the subject in the past as well. Interestingly enough though, the India poker boom seems to be limited to home games and social networking poker right now, while real money poker games haven’t really taken off yet.

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This subject was recently covered by CNNGO in an article called “Poker in India: Action-packed, not ready to go pro.” The article discussed how one of the biggest problems facing real money poker play is that casinos must be offshore to run table games. CNNGO wrote the following about the matter:

While home games (poker played by a group of friends at someone’s home) have been a regular feature of the social scene in India for the past five years, country-wide casino poker is still years away.

To truly say that India is a booming poker nation, casino poker must become bigger. And of course there are restrictions.

Currently, to run live gambling tables (games with live dealers and players) in India, a casino still needs to be offshore. On land, casinos can only run electronic machines, which to the avid gambler are as interesting as watching Harbhajan Singh bowl; there just isn’t enough action.

Most casinos in India are therefore offshore, primarily in Goa, with Casino Royale and Casino Pride being the big players at the moment.

Despite the fact that most Indians can’t play much casino poker, people are still gearing up for when a poker boom does happen in this country. After all, India has a population of 1.2 billion, so this is a massive potential online poker market. Perhaps it will be a while before the boom happens, but at least the casino scene is getting bigger. The CNNGO article commented on this by writing:

Poker still only accounts for a small percentage of these casinos’ earnings but things are slowly changing.

“We are seeing a rise in the number of players turning to poker,” says Madhav Gupta, whose company Piranha Creek, runs the poker room for Casino Pride.

“Beyond just the 18-25 year olds we are also seeing players over the age of 40 who are moving from flush (teen patti) to poker.”


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