Delhi Panthers Slash Rivals to Win Inaugural Poker Sports League

May 31st, 2017 | by Kaycee James

India’s Poker Sports League (PSL) wrapped up its inaugural season on May 28 after the Delhi Panthers triumphed in the final showdown at the Deltin Casino Royale, Goa.

Delhi Panthers win Poker Sports League.

The Delhi Panthers win the first ever Indian Poker Sports League as well as $225,000. (Image: Poker Sports League/Facebook)

Following months of anticipation, live and online qualifiers as well as a draft process, the first ever Poker Sports League got underway on May 24.

When the action started, 12 teams consisting of nine players descended on the Deltin Casino for five days of poker.

Through a combination of freezeouts, heads-up events and turbo tournaments, players earned points for their teams. By the close of play on March 28, the team representing Delhi had amassed the most points and topped the overall leaderboard.

Panthers Make a Triumphant Comeback

After finishing Day 2 in second place, the Panthers dropped out of the top three over the next few days before rallying at the death.

Eventually, following some strong performances on the final day, the Panthers ended with enough points to oust their rivals and finish top ahead of the Mumbai Anchors, the Kolkata Royals and the Punjab Bluffers.

As well as becoming the first ever Indian Poker Sports League champions, the Panthers picked up Rs 1.15 crores (approx. USD$225,000), while the Anchors took home Rs. 1 crore (approx. USD$150,000).

Beyond the interest in the event as a whole, a heads-up match on Day 4 between Alec Torelli and Sam Razavi attracted the attention of the masses.

The US and English pros were drafted in as wild cards to help raise the profile of the event and, when they locked horns, it resulted in 2.8 million viewers tuning into the PSL’s Facebook stream.

Another Step Forward for Poker in India

Although the inaugural PSL might not have attracted the same international attention as the Global Poker League on which it’s based, the event could be a major turning point for poker in India.

With the Gujarat High Court classing poker as a game of skill back in 2016, online poker has started to flourish across the country.

Indeed, this ruling led to the Nagaland State Lotteries Office handing out its first set of online poker licenses at the end of last year. Although the game isn’t freely available across the whole of India, there is now some regulation in place and, with initiatives such as the PSL leading the way, the industry is growing.

Over the last decade, both China and India have been looked at as the untapped markets with the greatest potential for growth.

While there is still a long way to go until India’s poker scene is as buoyant as those in the US or Europe, the recent success of the PSL suggests it’s only a matter of time before this happens.

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