India has been one of the countries that have been facing strong regulatory headwinds where (online) poker has been concerned. Despite the somewhat unwelcoming local climate, the game has seen a surge in popularity, leading to some notable events, which are well-poised to bolster its popularity.
The Poker Sports League (PSL), which is held in Goa, has long served as a hallmark of poker’s increasing significance in Indian lifestyle. Moreover, the PSL usually attracts the sort of young crowd, youths usually in their 20s, which is indicatory of a future where poker is part of the landscape.
The Law is the Law
Of course, in recent years we have seen a number of bans hit poker worldwide. Saying that the opposite is likely to happen may have sounded like a wishful thinking a few years ago, but today it is very much one of the plausible options.
If the USA can overturn PASPA in a campaign spearheaded by Nevada, then things are definitely looking up for legislation that is not as determined to ban gambling come what may. Au contraire, Indian courts have been the critics of poker, pointing out to one alleged flaw of the game – precisely that it tends to be a game of chance more so than anything else.
However, to those who play poker, they are acutely aware of the simple truth that as much as chance may play a role in poker, it’s entirely up to the player to best his opponents, drawing from his own prescience, skill, and experience.
Very aptly, PSL Co-founder Amit Burman has been one of the proponents of the game, arguing that the game is intensively skill-based. He conceded that poker requires “a lot of talent, hard work, and dedication to master.”
Is India a Promised Land?
It would be difficult to overlook the potential of India. As one of the world’s youngest countries, poker is bound to play a role among youths. However, tournaments are a rarity compared to the country’s population.
Most importantly, online poker has found its way into the country and it dominates around 93% of all gaming action that transpires. The other 7% go to live tournaments, a fairly small number by all estimates, no doubt.
PSL have bene utmost hopeful that they can stir up the massses and fight off legislation that makes it difficult for operators and online organizations to push ahead with offline tournaments.
According to PSL team member Sam Reddy, the leeway that the game offers you to develop as a player is appealing to youths. With some 500 professional poker players in the whole country by Reddy’s account, India is well-poised to enter into a phase where poker gets more attention and live tournaments command hefty prize money.
PSL Marches On
As PSL continues to push for more coverage of the game, so will investors, operators, and players make the game’s case for it in courts. Perhaps the time is not far when everyone will witness an entirely changed regulatory landscape that welcomes poker openly.