Poker in its avatar of No Limit Texas Hold’em has picked up tremendously in India over the past few years. There are only three places in India where physical casinos offering poker can be played, Goa, Sikkim and Daman. While the former has the maximum poker traffic, the latter is still an upcoming poker destination.
Panjim in Goa has many floating casinos which have poker rooms, slot machines, and roulette tables on cruise liners anchored in the Mandovi River. The biggest casinos include Casino Royale, Casino Carnival, Casino Pride and Casino Caravela. Cash games here range from 50/50 to stakes to 2000/4000 and various poker leagues have tournament series almost every fortnight, with buy-ins ranging from 5,000 INR Freeze-outs to 50,000 INR 6-max High Roller tournaments. Casino Royale is the largest amongst these and also has the maximum poker visitors. Casino Mahjong is the first and currently only land based live gaming casino in India. It is located as a part of the Mayfair Spa, Resorts & Casino and has a poker room with 7 tables available.
Since 2010, a few online poker websites have also come up in India with www.adda52.com, www.betsharks.in and www.pokerkingzonline.com attracting the maximum traffic. Adda52 is by far the busiest Indian online poker site with a huge database of poker players and a great offering of poker promotions.
There are many Indian Poker leagues which conduct Poker tournaments in Goa and satellites through Adda52. Notable amongst them are India Poker Legend (IPL), India Poker Series (IPS), Poker Guru Tour(PGT), India Poker Championship(IPC), Golden Aces Poker League, Casino Royale Cup and Aces Unlimited.
About Casino Royale
The Casino Royale Goa is a casino ship anchored in the Mandovi River, Panjim and it first started operations in 2005. This ship is permanently anchored casino ship in Goa and offers around 12000 square feet area of gaming. Game rooms featured include poker, blackjack, roulette, slot machines etc. in poker, No Limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular one while Omaha Pot Limit is also played. Some of the most prestigious poker tournaments across India including the APT choose Casino Royale as the venue. Casino Royale is open 7 days a week, 24hours a day.
About Casino Carnival
Casino Carnival is also a floating casino in the Mandovi River, Panjim and is extremely popular as a complete entertainemtn zone. Games offered include No Limit Texas Hold’em, Stud Poker, 3 card poker, blackjack, roulette, slots and baccarat. Many poker tournaments are held in Casino carnival and numerous cash games tables are held daily.
About Casino Pride
Casino Pride offers a huge 30,000 square feet of playing space on board the MV Pride of Goa Ship anchored in the Mandovi River, Panjim. Live gaming options include poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and flush. In poker, it offers No Limit Texas Hold’em, 3 card poker and 5 card poker.
About Casino Caravela
Casino Caravela is also like others anchored in Mandovi River and can host up to 300 players at a time. In poker it features, NL Texas Hold’em, 3 card poker and 5 card poker. Casino Caravela is operation 24 hours from Thursday to Sunday and from 6 pm to 6 am from Monday to Wednesday.
Casino Mahjong, Sikkim
Casino Mahjong is located in the Mayfair Resorts and spa, Sikkim and is spread across 7000 squsre feet area. Apart from a separate gaming room for NL Texas Hold’em, there are also VIP rooms.
Adda52 is the first Indian online poker site specialising in No Limit Texas Hold’em. The site is particularly tailored for Indian poker enthusiasts where players can play on Freeroll as well as Real Cash Tables. The site offers both Ring & SitNGo poker games. Adda52 also hosts various daily, weekly and monthly poker tournaments where players get a chance to win exciting prizes like iPhones, iPads, Blackberry mobile phones, LED televisions and Real Cash to the tune of Lakhs. The site is also the pioneer in launching a Loyalty program which rewards patrons for playing.
Betsharks is the Indian arm of the casino group by the same name. It is the second website in India to feature cash games for Poker and started real gaming options in August 2012. It offers Texas Hold’em –NL, Limit and Fixed Limit as well as various versions of Omaha. It offers both real as well as play money games.
About India Poker Legend
India Poker Legend started off as the India Poker Open. It obtained its new makeover in 2011 and has since been endorsed by the Poker magazine ‘The Shark” and is a regular on India’s poker calendar. This League organizes 2-3 physical tournaments in Casino Royale, Goa each year and visionary behind is a poker aficionado of Delhi, Pranav Bagai.
The India Poker Legend awards, not just one but three players, the ‘Players of the Year’ Awards. They are judged on their quality of skills and awarded INR 300,000, INR200,000 and INR100,000 respectively. Registered players receive complimentary entry to the tournaments and an early bird offer of free accommodation for two nights was also up on offer for those that registered themselves for a 100K No Limit Hold’em Freezeout event.
About India Poker Series
The India Poker Series (IPS) was first established in 2009 when an event was organised in April and achieved a turnout of 37 participants. It officially took its name when it was held in 2010 at Casino Royale in Goa. Bharat Agarwal, a poker visionary was responsible for instituting the IPS which has since, gone on to become a regular tourney with events on alternate months at licensed casinos around India.
A strongpoint of the event is its low Buy-in with a minimal amount of INR5,000 onwards depending on the event. There are multiple events that aim to identify top talent who could then go on to represent India in the world formats. The 2012 main event attracted over thirty entries. Like its international counterparts, the player with the highest number of points accumulated through the year becomes the Player of the Year.
About Poker Guru Tour
The Poker Guru Tour which is a Rake free Tourney has successfully run in to its second season in 2012. Aditya Agarwal, a Poker Professional was the visionary behind the creation of this tournament and credits the tournament as being made for poker players, by poker players. The Tournament had six scheduled events in its 2012 calendar and is set to add four more special events under the same branding of the ‘Poker Guru Tour’ but will however not count towards the Player of the Year leader board.
The Champion of the PGT gets an opportunity to be part of the Poker Guru Pro Team. The PGT is organised onboard the Casino Royale in Goa.
About India Poker Championship
In March 2010, the India Poker Championship made a grand entry to the world of Poker in India. It attracted hundreds of entries and instantly become a popular tournament in poker circles. The founders of this event, Sameer Rattonsey and Peter Abraham from Mumbai, intended to create an event that was enjoyed by poker enthusiasts who could exhibit their skill sets and have fun reaping huge rewards. The event was initially held on a quarterly basis which due to its increasing popularity was converted to a bi-monthly event in 2011.
The event offers players Buy ins in the range of INR 5,000 to INR20,000, all on the luxurious Casino Royale in Goa. IPC has a Player of the Year award which was started in 2011 and has an annual sponsorship up for grabs as well. In 2010, the buy in for the main event was at INR 25,000. However the next year, the event changed format to become a two day event and had an increased buy in of INR30,000. The 2012 event was in fact held as a three day event, standing testimony to the fact that this is a very popular tournament. The 25k big game in 2012 had a winning prize of INR 430,000.
About Golden Aces
The Golden Aces Poker League (GAPL) was created by Golden Aces based out of Bangalore. The Tournament that had its inaugural event in May 2012 has gone strong and steady to revamp the poker scene in India. It holds its events at Casino Pride in Goa.
A highlight of the GAPL is the fact that it has added overlays that help in building the cash pot. The October 2012 event had an additional pot of INR300,000 on top of which satellite tournaments held on online poker sites such as 888Poker and other promotional events contributed to the cash total as well. In addition to the cash prize, there are numerous other prizes such as branded watches and other collectibles available for winners.
Another trick up Golden Aces’ sleeve is the sit and go round to be held during the Golden Aces Poker League Finale in 2013 that gives one very lucky winner an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for an entry to the WSOP main event in 2013. The top 18 league players and three entrants from a wild card round vie for the Player of the Year title that will send them to Vegas.
About India Poker Pros
Vikram Verma designed and developed the India Poker Pros tournament due to his passion for the game. It was intended to provide poker aficionados a gambling experience like no other. ‘Discover the Pro in you’ being its catch phrase, the tournament intends to spread awareness of the game and give enthusiasts an opportunity to test their skills on a common platform. The event has a regulated set of rules that require players to be familiar with the conditions regarding Floor People, Side Pots, Old Chips, Chips Race and a Dead Button.
The 2012 event of the series was a major hit having received more than eighty entries and lasted over thirteen hours, making it the longest poker tournament in Indian poker history. Some of the tournament highlights include its Player of the Year Leader board ranking system that awards points to the top nine positions in each event.