“Poker is an interesting and gripping game, perhaps just like boxing,” says India’s first-ever boxer to win an Olympic medal, Vijender Singh. Highlighting the skill in poker, he further adds “in fact, nobody is a born boxer and it is only after years of rigorous training and self-discipline, does one become excellent at it. Furthermore, when someone is in the ring, your individual skills alone will not guarantee success.
The ability to read the moves of your opponent ahead of time or to gauge their strategy etc. governs the fate of the game. Same holds true for poker. As a mind game, poker players have to invest a lot of their time in deepening their understanding of the game.
Furthermore, the outcome of the game is also determined by the ability of poker players to pre-empt the moves of their opponents and come up with the right strategy while the game is on.”
Vijender is not alone in giving poker its due validation and acceptance. Chess maestro Vishwanathan Anand had also gone to record, drawing parallels between poker and chess.
Additionally, the Supreme Court of India in 1996 already distinguished gambling from games that involve skill. Skill-based games like poker, as per the Apex Court, don’t fall under the ambits of gambling and hence, are completely legal. With the legal sanction and a passionate community, poker as an industry has been growing in India. In fact, the present day start-up wave has only up the ante for poker. Poker start-ups in India are worth well over USD 120 million, only slated to grow in years to come.
With the emergence of online poker platforms, such as PokerBaazi, Indian poker enthusiasts have found a convenient way to connect amongst the akin and indulge in an action-packed game. The platform not only helps amateurs learn from the poker pros but also manages the entire experience, helping players easily monetize their poker skills. Besides, residents of states that prohibit monetary stakes in games (Assam, Orissa, Gujarat and Telangana) are not eligible to game earnings at PokerBaazi, verified through Aadhaar authentication.
These have been some of the key aspects that drew Vijender Singh to the platform, as its brand ambassador. He further adds, “At PokerBaazi, players not only get to indulge in their passion remotely but are also served with a number of online resources, tutorials and webinars from poker pros, which help them in further strengthening their game. I am hopeful that with such initiatives, Indians will begin to not perceive poker as gambling but actually appreciate the tremendous skill and talent that goes behind successfully acing a game.”