The police have raided an Indian poker room during its inaugural poker tournament, the motives are still unknown. Due to the incident the poker series was cancelled with 60 of the 75 players remaining. The tournament never resumed.
After the Bengaluru High Court ruled that poker was not a standard form of gambling, but a game of skills, Stars Poker Room (Indiranagar, India) was granted permission to host poker games.
Not the First Time
It was not the first time the poker room’s operator, Rajeev Raut, suffered police raids. Last year Raut got into trouble for co-promoting the Rockets Poker Room, a poker room that allegedly offered illegal casino games.
Now Raut finds himself in a similar situation, at the nearby Stars Poker Room. Even though he poker room’s operator did not offer any explanation why the police have raided the poker room, he assured players can continue to play at the poker room without any trouble.
In a Facebook post Rajeev Raut said the following:
“With great regret have to announce the cancellation of Stars Poker Series. Really thankful to all the supporters who stood by. We are still continuing cash games & Sit’n’Go Games at IPA Star.”
Since October of last year, the Indian Poker Association (IPA) and Stars Poker Room teamed together to operate Stars poker room. They decided to work together to help bolster the poker industry in India.
About the cooperation with IPA, Raut said the following to Gutshot Magazine in October:
“Bangalore is quite spread out and so if we could do one poker room per geographical zone, that would be the ideal scenario. I would be quite happy if we go on to partner with IPA in more rooms as we share the same vision.”
Even though the poker room’s name and its logo make it appear that Stars Poker Room is affiliated PokerStars, there is no link between the two companies as far as we can tell.
Indian Poker Association
The Indian Poker Association has been fighting for a long time for the legalization of live poker games in India, differently from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in the U.S., which fights for the legalization of online poker. IPA has booked quite some success over the years.
Mostly thanks to IPA, Bangalore’s highest court has ruled in favour of poker games legalization there. In 2013 mostly due to the efforts made by the founder of IPA, KN Suresh, Bangalore’s Highest Court recognized poker as a game of skill.
The partnership of Stars Poker Room and IPA has been mutually beneficial; however the IPA hasn’t given any public comment yet about the poker tournament raid. The raid occurred during the poker rooms first-ever poker series.
The police escorted out of Stars Poker Room a couple of players, but none of them were arrested. After the incident, the future of Stars Poker Room remains unclear, and so does the specific reason for the raid.
The local authorities of Bangalore still monitor poker rooms closely, although poker was ruled a legal game by Bangalore’s highest court.
At this point it is not clear if the police will charge with any crime anyone connected to Stars Poker Room.