Poker Proving A Hit Amongst Indian WomenDecember 9, 2015 1:51 pm
At a time when the poker industry is doing its best to attract more women to its live and online poker tables, the Indian subcontinent, a region of roughly 1.252 billion people, has reported a rise in the game’s popularity amongst the fairer sex. In prominent Indian cities, such as Bengaluru in Karnataka, poker has become an increasingly popular social pastime at home games, with some observers believing it’s just a matter of time before that trend filters down to the live tournament scene, including the ever expanding India Poker Championship.
Bengaluru restaurateur Shweta Gupta, for instance, is a member of a womens group who meet up every ten days for dinner and wine, although their meetings nowadays tend to revolve around their love of poker. Commenting on the new fad, Bengaluru female restaurateur Shweta Gupta said:
“Poker gives a high. Your observation skills improve as you study people who could be bluffing.”
The story is being repeated all around some of India’s major cities, and as fashion choreographer Sheetal Sharma recently explained to The Economic Times:
“I have seen women wearing nail paint to kaftans depicting poker chips. That is the level of poker rage now. It is an engaging mind game which involves much math and technique.”
While the trend is positive news for the poker industry, India is still considered a grey market in which the country’s Public Gambling Act (1867) makes it illegal to operate a “public gaming house.” Certain exceptions are made for games of skill, however, with a recent Madras High Court ruling upholding the skill element of poker, although The India Supreme Court has yet to give final endorsement to the judgement. Such a development would have a seismic effect on poker playing in the country, although, like the U.S., each individual region will still decide whether to allow the game in their state.
In the meantime, international poker sites continue to operate within India’s grey market, with PokerStars already sponsoring Aditya Agarwal as an Indian team pro, a player with $595,290 in live earnings, and a further $1,839,002 won online under the screen name ‘Intervention’.