The Stars Poker Room in India was dealt a blow by local authorities in Indiranagar earlier this month after its inaugural poker series was shut down by police officers.
The poker room, which is located in the East Bangalore region of India, was opened in November after the Bengaluru High Court ruled that poker is a game of skill.
With the region seemingly pro poker, the Indian Poker Association (IPA) and Stars Poker Room formed a strategic alliance that led to the opening of two poker rooms in as many months.
The first, which was already operating as an IPA branded room in Ulsoor, was officially branded as Stars Poker Room in October, 2015, before a new venue in Indiranagar was opened the following month.
After three months without any issues, Stars Poker Room in Indiranagar launched its inaugural poker series earlier this month and began welcoming players last Wednesday afternoon.
However, with the field down to 60 and the tournament approaching the bubble, the clock was unexpectedly stopped by local police officers.
Storming the poker room, the officers escorted players out of the premises and told the organizers to shut down the event.
As yet the fate of the poker room is unclear; however, it’s not the first time a police raid has forced a venue to close.
Rajeev Raut, a poker player and one of the men behind Stars Poker Room, was previously co-promoter for Rockets Poker Room in Bangalore and found himself on the wrong end of a police raid after local authorities suspected it was offering games other than poker.
The poker room was expected to breathe some new life into the local poker community and, while its owners have pledged to continue offering certain games, it’s unclear whether or not it will be able to continue operating permanently.
“With great regret we have to announce the cancellation of Stars Poker Series. Really thankful to all the supporters who stood by. We are still continuing cash games & sit ‘n’ games at IPA Stars,” Raut wrote on the poker room’s Facebook page.
While the latest incident will no doubt be the poker room’s main concern, there could be a more pressing matter for it on the horizon.
Despite bearing a striking resemblance to PokerStars in both name and branding, Stars Poker Room isn’t affiliated with the poker site.
After reaching out to PokerStars for an exclusive comment on the situation, we were told the PokerStars not affiliated with Stars Poker Room in “any way.”
Moreover, when asked about the potential intellectual property infringement with regards to Stars Poker Room’s logo, a PokerStars’ representative told us that it actively takes action against third-party violations.
“We actively monitor our IP portfolio and third party use of such rights, taking formal action as and when needed to protect our rights and reputation in the marketplace,” explained the PokerStars’ representative.