Poker in India entering a “golden era” – how to get involved


These are tough economic times. Benjamin Franklin, the source of so many great soundbites, said the only guarantees in life were death and taxes. Recent years have suggested that we can add games to the list. Maybe in good times, people play games as a pastime, and in bad times as an escape, that’s one for the psychologists to work on. But regardless of whatever else is happening in the world, the gaming sector continues to grow at breakneck speed, maintaining a CAGR of around 30 percent

Poker – the classic game for sophisticated adults

One of the core changes to the gaming landscape over the past decade is the target market. Games are no longer just for kids and gaming geeks. Young professionals, stay at home mums, retirees, it seems that everyone is into playing games these days. And while there are plenty of adults who like nothing more than Candy Crush or Fortnite, there has also been a surge in adult-specific games. 

Poker is a prime example. Indian families have been playing card games for generations, and the events of 2020 and 2021 prompted a resurgence in traditional stay-at-home family activities. This, in combination with the growing popularity of online casino platforms and just for fun mobile poker apps has created a perfect storm and India is going poker crazy. 

In 2021, the inaugural National Poker Series attracted more than 83,000 entrants and this year, that figure rose by more than 15 percent to 96,000. The prize pot was 22 crore rupees (around $2.7 million). 

A game for everyone

You don’t have to be a budding Daniel Negreanu and turn up to take on the world for millions to enjoy poker. Today, we live in an age when there are dozens of online poker sites that cater to every ability. The Gamble Online poker page at provides some useful reviews and recommendations, so is a good place to start. 

Even if you have never played poker before in your life, it is never too late to start. The first step is sometimes the hardest because people worry about playing as a novice against more experienced competition. However, there are versions of poker you can play that are just you against the machine or the dealer, so are ideal for beginners. 

Video poker is a good example and is the first type of poker game that most people learn. The gameplay is simple but there is still plenty of strategy involved and if you make the optimum call every time, you practically eliminate the house edge. 

Other single player games where it’s just you against the dealer include three card poker, casino holdem and Caribbean stud. But perhaps the most intriguing is pai gow poker. Here, you are dealt a seven-card hand and the objective is to make the two best possible poker hands from them, a “high hand” from five cards and a “low hand” from two.

Whether you’re an expert tournament player or you’ve never played before, India’s golden era of poker is accessible to all, so why not give it a try? 

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