2015 was a wondrous year for poker in India with an uphill graph at all fronts of this game and industry. Be it the growing Indian poker community, the performance of Indian poker players or the number of poker operators and organizers, the year saw progress in every vertical of Indian poker market. Thousands of new players were added to the growing poker fields through the online poker sites as well as poker rooms across a few cities. Indian grinders made the country proud with several titles and notable cashes in national and overseas tournaments. The most important development in 2015 was a large number of poker operators (online & live) emerging out which helped the ecosystem grow.
As we are entering 2016 in a day, we at OPN analyzed the poker trends and compiled predictions for the coming year. These predictions are based on the industry trends, user behaviour and player’s records.
- Indian player winning a Main Event in Asia
Indian poker players had a fantastic year at the Asian poker felt with a few side event trophies and numerous final table & cash finishes. Kunal Patni made 11 final table appearances, Dhaval Mudgal fetched 9 cashes including FT and a Team Event trophy at Macau Poker Cup 23. Amit Jain won the APT title event #8 in April this year while Paawan Bansal and Raghav Bansal too scored notable figures in the Asian tournaments. Moving ahead in 2016, over 15 major poker tournaments will be played in Asia starting with WPT, Philippines. If Indian players keep performing at the same pace, 2016 may see a Main Event title of APT, APPT, MPC, WPT coming home.
- A women winning a major tournament in India
With the increasing participation of women poker players in tournaments, the days seems very near when a female grinder will clinch the victory in a major tournament. In 2015, several female players joined this battle of cards and performed in parallel to their male counterparts. Radhika wont the 2 Lac GTD Event at Adda52 LIVE in Bangalore in October 2015 while Nikita Luther triumphed the 20+ field to win the IPC Ladies Event in December this year. It won’t be a surprise if any female player overcomes a field of 150+ players to win a tournament in 2016.
- Over 50% players going mobile
Talk of technology and the mobile comes first. In today’s world mobile drives the industry which holds true for the poker industry too. All Indian poker sites are improving their offering on mobile apps. A big section of casual players love playing poker on mobile and while the regulars too spend ample time playing cash games and tournament on mobile and tablet devices. As per the trends, we predict that 50% of poker playing population will be playing it on mobile in 2016.
- More states and cities opening its gates for legal poker operation
In 2015 a few Indian states like Sikkim and Nagaland imitated talks over legalizing poker in their territory. Moreover, the government of other states as in Andhra Pradesh, Daman and Karnataka discussed about bringing in casinos. With a positive atmosphere building up, we hope voices of poker lovers will be heard in 2016 and more states will legalize poker establishments.
- Poker being talked about more as a sport than gambling
In 2015, several media outlets e.g. Times of India, DNA, Scroll and Economic Times published featured stories about how poker has picked up among the young generation. The international poker media channels e.g. Calvin Ayre and Pokerfuse exclusively covered rise of poker in India. Adda52.com organized a public seminar in Hyderabad to spread awareness about poker as a game of skill. These activities and stories are going to increase in 2016 which will take this game to the masses.