Final Owners Confirmed for India’s Breakthrough Poker Sports League

February 20th, 2017 | by Brian Corlisse

India’s Poker Sports League (PSL) completed its initial draft process after the final five teams were announced on February 20th.

More teams added to India's Poker Sports League.

India’s Poker Sports League confirms its final five team owners ahead of its push to make poker a spectator event. (Image: Google+/Poker Sports League)

Since the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill came into force back in April 2016, poker has been recognized as a skill game.

This legal classification has led to a number of innovations, both live and online, across India.

Indian Poker in the Middle of a Boom

Online poker sites such as Adda52 claim to have one million registered users (although the site only had 139 running tables at the time of writing) and now the PSL is hoping to make live poker a spectator sport. In fact, the founder of Adda52, Anuj Gupta, is part of the team behind the PSL.

Using his online platform as leverage, Gupta has partnered with Amit Burman to launch what is essentially India’s version of the Global Poker League. Featuring teams from 12 regions across India, the competition will feature preliminary rounds before a grand final takes place at the end of May.

As well as team owners being able to draft professionals, amateurs have been given the chance to win a place on one of the 12 teams through a selection of online freerolls. At the head of each team will be a “mentor.”

Mentors will be ranked in the Top 40 Indian players by the Global Poker Index and take responsibility for guiding the team both in training and during matches. Moreover, any player that makes it onto a team (which will consist of nine players) will receive a fixed salary and the chance to play for around $490,000 in prize money.

Teams in Place for Inaugural Event

The first seven PSL teams were announced in December 2016 and on February 20 the final five owners were confirmed. All coming from different business backgrounds, the owners will not only act as figureheads for each team, but will also be investors in the fee-free event.

The final five owners joining those announced at the close of 2016 are:

Aditya Munjal – Hero Cycles Group

Jitendra Gupta – Co-founder, Citrus payment

Manish Vij – Founder & CEO at Smile Group

Mithun Sacheti – Co-Founder at CaratLane

Rishabh Jhunjhunwala – Director at Bhilwara Group

To help ensure the first PSL reaches as many poker fans as possible, the event will be streamed online between May 24 and May 28. For players involved, a “boot camp” where teams can work on their strategy will take place two days before the action kicks off.

Poker in India is currently in the midst of a boom and the PSL looks to be a major part of this movement. Highlighting the skill aspects of the game should tap into the country’s love of sport and, potentially, bring thousands more players into the industry.

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