Poker Boom in India?

by Jeremy Olson on July 25, 2011

One of the most sought-after poker markets has always been China since they have over 1.3 billion residents who, for the most part, haven’t been formerly introduced to the game. Interestingly enough, India often gets left out of this discussion despite the fact that A) they have over 1.2 billion residents, and B) many of these people aren’t familiar with poker.

This being said, it seems like more people are starting to tap the Indian poker market, and the country is experiencing somewhat of a poker boom. Open Magazine, which covers a lot of hot topics in India, recently ran an article on the Indian poker boom, and here’s an excerpt on their take:

Tournaments and cash tables have sent the popularity of the game soaring. “Until a few years ago,” says Abraham, “the two major markets for poker yet to be tapped were China and India. With Macau establishing itself as the hotspot for the Chinese and East Asian market, India is now poker’s final frontier—a rapidly growing market still in its infancy.”

Infancy, it is. Not a single Indian player appears on the list of the world’s top 100 poker players put out by, an online poker guide. But this will change soon. What Indian poker players in Goa bring to the table, unlike in the American casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, is a unique form of no-alcohol-by-choice Texas Hold’em (especially in tournaments). Combine this with the ‘quant’ inclinations of most Indians at poker tables, and it is not naïve to expect that some of them will feature on that list within the decade.

One thing that will be interesting to see in all of this is how an Indian poker surge would affect the game’s global outlook. People on the TwoPlusTwo forum have been debating this topic heavily, and here’s a look at what some people had to say:

JamesCrozier - If there’s a poker boom in India it will be the single best thing to ever happen to poker.

JonReremy - average yearly wage in india = $3.5k
% of india with internet - 7%

daxile - [x] doesn’t realize that 7% of India = 78,000,000
plus that % are probably the upper class of india who make a decent living, either way it won’t hurt the poker scene. Single best thing? perhaps not.
This may create some sort of a boom in Asia, hopefully China and other asian countries follow suit with India, if that’s the case, THAT would be the best thing.

RNauta - Not so sure if that’s a good thing. I’ve worked with Indians and they always struck me as intelligent and hard-working honest guys. If poker takes off there it would create many thousands of solid grinders patiently grinding their way up from micro stakes to the top. I don’t think Indians are gamblers at all.