For the first time, India will be hosting the National Poker Series from 29th April 2020 to 5th May 2020. With the aim of bringing international players under one roof and help the Indians gain experience, the event is expected to play a huge role in promoting the game in the country.
Is playing poker in India legal?
Involving skill with thrill, poker is the world's most popular card game, though it is yet to create the same waves in India. With betting and gambling being a strict no-no in the country, many have often been puzzled about the legal status of poker in India. Calcutta High Court in October 2019 reiterated its previous stance that poker is game of 'skill' and not 'chance'. The High Court's order dated August 28, 2019, in the matter of Indian Poker Association & Anr. Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors came as a great relief for the Indian poker fans.
“Without there being a specific complaint with regard to petitioners resorting to gambling or other illegal activities in the name of poker, there cannot be any occasion for the police to interfere with such game," the Honourable Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya had stated.
The National Poker Series, thus, is expected to see a number of participants, with some massive prize money on offer as well. The top two names will also get an all-inclusive trip to Las Vegas, with the winner getting a cash prize of USD 10,000 to compete with the best at the hub of poker in the world.
India gears up for first National Poker Series
However, despite the rather hushed state of affairs around the game in the recent past, players from India have managed to do well at international events, with Abhinav Iyer winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in July 2019 to become the first solo Indian winner in the event. Aditya Sushant, who hails from Chennai, is the first player from the country to bag a WSOP bracelet. Both players are looking ahead to the National Poker Series in India, with Iyer stating, "NPS is a great platform for everyone to make it to the biggest stage and showcase their skills at the world stage. Going to be an exciting series with a great leaderboard reward."
Players can also take part in satellite tournaments during the event, with the winners getting rewarded with tickets to various tournaments of the National Poker Series this year.
The tournament, thus, promises to attract a large number of players, who will be vying for the top honours. Events like this only help promote the game in the country, and it should not be surprising to see poker becoming a much-sought after game in the next few years.