India’s Poker scene has picked up since the past few years. There have been improvements to the country’s network infrastructure and with price wars among carriers, mobile gaming has made playing Poker quite lucrative. Poker was an activity earlier limited only to special festivals and lazy evenings. But now it has grown to become a booming profession. Aided by the increase in internet and smartphone penetration and the disposable income level of consumers, the poker industry in India has seen incredible growth over the past decade. The advent of digital gaming, Augmented Reality, incorporation of Virtual Reality, and the ease of online payment has established an upward curve in the availability of innovative and state-of-the-art inspired online Poker platforms. The expanding online Poker market in India has taken multiple forms and has led India to emerge as one of the most important global players in the international market of poker and online gaming as well.
The origin of Poker In India
India has a huge history in many different non-virtual card games, taken from both eastern and western cultures. The category of native-to-India card games enjoys a huge following of their own.
Teenpatti, an Indian Poker variant, not too dissimilar from the British game three-card brag or the US home-game favorite, started to garner interest from players in India. Being one of the most popular card games of all time, it was not long before it captured the attention of Indian masses. There are many other factors that contributed to the growing interest in Poker in India. Some of them described briefly are as follows:
Poker becoming more known among masses
Poker, like a game of skill and chance, has been revered in India since before the British raj. As the Indian Poker variant Teen Patti gained mainstream interest, Spartan Poker identified the requirement of the player-centric gaming culture and pioneered technological innovation-based advancements to drive the growth of poker in India. Through critically following the bigger and better image of the poker industry’s status quo, the industry nudged for transformation in the participant’s varied form or format and character.
Earlier, there were lots of misconceptions about the nature of the game, such as poker is a chance-based game and winning a hand relies more on luck than skills. But in reality, to survive at the Poker tables for a long time, players have to implement their understanding of human psychology, mathematical calculations and skills to read the opponents and develop a strategy. Due to this increased awareness and easy internet accessibility, there has been an exponential rise in the number of players on online Poker sites. A huge number of players from different parts of the country are regularly participating in online Poker real money games or tournaments.
Digitalization and development of internet infrastructure
With the rapid growth in digital infrastructure, there has been an exponential growth of online Poker in the country. Compared to poker players in counterpart countries such as China, Japan, the US, and the UK, Indian consumers include many casual gamers. Also with people becoming more comfortable in the usage of mobile internet, gaming is gradually becoming a preferred destination for entertainment. As digitalization in India skyrocketed and more and more people shifted to the online sector, a niche segment of mature games emerged. An attractive and easy user interface, a multiplayer theme inspired, pre-embedded games and applications revolutionized mobile gaming and enabled easy discovery and monetization. There is also the India Online Poker Championship which is a semi-annual Poker tournament that has garnered support and interest across the Indian strata.
Mobile Poker in India is on the rise according to the latest gaming statistics from online play stores. Like other money mobile-savvy countries, gaming ranks highly on the list of pastimes for Indian strata of smartphone users.
Furthermore, many India-based digital companies also wanted to tap the popularity that Poker had begun to enjoy among the masses. Hence, many Indian gaming companies, in the recent past, have begun to develop online platforms for playing Poker.
Opportunities & Challenges
To satisfy the Indian Poker fanatics’ ever-growing cravings for the game, the sites are constantly working on updating their playing features, interface, game design, etc. To attract maximum users, they are offering deposit deals, fast deposit/withdrawal process, loyalty programs, and prize pools. There is a multitude of playing options available for players of every level of skills and experience.
Social media penetration
The fundamental shift in culture and mindset of consumers towards online gaming today is further augmented by social media. Gaming has evolved into a spectator sport with many gamers boasting large audiences logging in to catch their live streams. Online Poker offers opportunities to those who are hesitant to play the game physically, while rules on online Poker are less enforced and as the country sees how profitable the industry can be, they will no doubt continue to be relaxed.
Easy hassle-less payment
The sudden and steady rise of the Poker industry in India can also be attributed to the increase in frictionless payments and disposable income. Nowadays the Online Poker platforms provide numerous methods of payment gateways to the Indian audience thus making it more accessible to more players. Many online sites are making it possible to play with Indian currency thus making it possible for the casual players to get access to poker too.
As there are advancements in the infrastructure, the interests of tech investors, advertisers, and consumers are running parallel with each other thereby adding up to the fast-growing business. As gamers increasingly spend more time on playing games, opportunities to build a meaningful business and the revenues from gaming holds a chance to explode. Large gaming companies are also focused on building platforms to engage female audiences and increase market penetration. The strengthening of internet infrastructure is helping them to tap into pocket audiences across diverse geographical strata.
Revenue generation driving the business
Over the years, the Poker industry has tried to focus on changing the perception that people have had about the game. The industry is continually working towards creating awareness about the high degree of skill that the game involves. Estimates say that close to a million players in India currently play real-money Poker regularly. In the coming years, a boost with potential competitors entering the Poker scene in India is on the cards. But overall, governments are waking up to the fact that huge revenues are generated through the game. Besides, this support will have a positive impact on the online version of Poker. India is growing from strength to strength with the internet and smartphones becoming easily available for the masses. This has, in turn, created a large market and given impetus to the online Poker industry to keep moving ahead.
India following a familiar path
Poker in India still has a long way to go owing to the prevalent misnomers and prejudices regarding the game. But the recent growth of Poker both online and on mobile in India certainly seems to be following the same path the game did in other countries back in the beginning. With operators and online academies working to educate players and push the skill aspect of the game, we could soon see a huge surge in the number of Indian players joining the global Poker scene.