How Poker Started to Be Played in India 

One of the most popular and coolest card games in the world is poker. More than 1.3 billion people are living in India, and it is one of the biggest countries that have experienced a significant surge in poker players. India is highly receptive to many strategic games. Gambling in general was a popular amusement activity for kings and emperors of India. 

The common population also used to participate in numerous forms of gambling. In India, poker was played like a game of cards about 200 years ago. It was used as amusement bringing amazing rewards. First it evolved into PC games as single player and arcade modes. 

Mobile phone technology and the internet have transformed India, and the whole world, as they gave access to all kinds of products that were not available before. One of them is online gambling. Nowadays it is a popular pastime activity more than ever because of the arrival of online poker sites. Online poker helped this game go global rather quickly.

Gambling laws in India 

Gambling laws in India can vary greatly between states. It is mostly subject to individual state laws, for each state is allowed to set its own regulations. Every state has its respected laws, and there is no law that can be applied to the entire country. 

Since 1867 the Public Gambling Act has prohibited gambling games across the country. However, there is space within these regulation limits for games of skill. Those are games where the outcome is based on skill rather than luck, and they are exempt from this Act. Thus, there are areas where gambling is not against the law. 

There is great interest happening all over the world in recognizing poker as a game of skill, but as players do not know what cards will be dealt, authorities maintain that element, considering it the game of luck. During the religious festival of Diwali it is considered as a sign of good luck to gamble with family and friends at home, and even learn how to play poker, but it is illegal to gamble in public. 

The evolution of poker in India 

The key role in boosting the gambling industry in India has played the proliferation of the internet, and especially smartphone penetration. Around 40% of the 430 million smartphone users in India are using it for gambling. Although poker is not allowed in public in real life, it is allowed to be played online in most of the states. 

India has become one of the prime emerging markets for online gaming in the last couple of years. It is a very populated country. People of varying skills and talents make the Indian gambling market flourish at a great speed. Indian gamblers are using plenty of different strategies to play online games and earn money. Additionally due to the COVID pandemic, the number of online poker players in India is also on a continuous rise – making it more than 3 million active players at present. 

Almost five million accounts for online poker sites were opened by players in India in 2019. Considering poker, a game of skill, thus believing it is being allowed by law, there are many online poker sites offering real money games to players. 

Indian online poker websites 

Lots of Indian poker websites are offering special bonuses to their members. They also have tutorials to help players to easily understand the rules of the game and learn how to play it. They also include a basic version of poker, as well as different variants. 

The Indian poker industry maintains a steady climb. There is the “Teen Patti”, the Indian simplified version of poker. It is played by millions of Indians every week. It is increasing in popularity constantly, and the app versions of the game have been downloaded by millions. It is getting more and more popular. It has great success, and it is very similar to poker, so it gains more and more traction. The online poker series was made to bring some of the most skilled players on a virtual platform from all across India, to compete for great prizes and to provide entertainment to millions of people. 

Indian poker players can also have the chance of entering the End Boss tournament which is hosted on an independent online poker website, and win big. Considering the possible number of poker players from India, the gambling market will flourish. The country is witnessing some of the best Indian online casinos, although it has only been barely twenty years of online poker in India. The leading online casino that lets punters participate in both national and international poker tournaments is Parimatch.  

The future for poker in India 

The former chess number 1 Viswanathan Anand said: “I find poker no different from chess”. He has positive expectations about the future of poker in India. Actress Anita Hassanandani says that poker breaks the monotony of her job and relaxes her according to “Times of India ”. The assistant professor of strategic management at Indian Institute of Management, Deepak Dhayanithy uses poker to teach his students about assessing environments and making swift decisions under uncertain conditions.  

Most Notable Indian Poker Players 

In the end, here are just some of the most notable poker players in India, who’ve managed to achieve great success playing their favorite game.

  • Vivek Rajkumar is top-earning Indian poker player with total winnings $8 million. 
  • Nipun Java is the most successful Indian poker player in terms of titles and tournament wins alone. 
  • Aditya Agarwal made his biggest cash win of $245,000 in Europe in Macau. 


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