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The sports season in India is just around the corner with one of the most highly anticipated aspect being season 3 of Match Indian Poker League, a poker-based league that was founded and is run by actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra and industrialist Raj Kundra under the umbrella of gaming, entertainment and licensing company, Viaan Industries Ltd.

The third season is expected to be an epic one especially because this time Match Indian Poker League, or MatchIPL as it is commonly known, has partnered with MTV to demonstrate that the games is a game of skill and to find the next generation of Indian poker stars. MTV has already begun with the launch of “Pro Hunt” which is designed to create some buzz around the team-based event that is expected to unearth some of India’s best poker players via a series of online qualifiers.

Since “Pro Hunt” kicked off on September 28, three players have already qualified for one of the eight spots that are available of the MatchIPL event that is set to go down between October 23 and October 24.

The first season of MatchIPL was won by the Mumbai All-Stars who walked away with the winning prize amount of Rs. 1.25 Crores – this was so enticing that the in the second season, the number of teams that participated increased to 10. This time, the Haryana Hawks, the debutant team, took home the winning prize. In season three, the stakes are even higher with the promise of an even bigger winning prize that the 9 participating teams facing off against each other for not just the money but also the chance to represent Team India at the forthcoming IFMP Nations Cup.

Moreover, season 3 will involve a grand Bollywood style opening as well as an afterparty that will host Bollywood celebrities and stars of the poker community, something that gives poker players even more reason to be keen on securing spots at Season 3 of MatchIPL.

Changing the Poker Narrative in India

Rather than just being an entertainment-themed event, MatchIPL and MTV are hoping that the event and any other events that will follow will help them to champion for poker as a sport in India. As it stands, poker remains a rather contentious subject in the country – despite its undeniable growth in popularity, there are a number of people who still consider it to be nothing but a game of chance.

Only a select number of regions in India have legalized poker with remaining areas, Gujarat included, still viewing it as an illegal practice. However, the inevitable growth of the game is beginning to become more noticeable, and therefore according to the Indian Law Commission, regulation is the best bet.