Three barrels giving off an Asian aroma including a chess grandmaster promoting poker as a game of skill in India, Varun Gupta taking down a title in Macau, and Japan getting in on the live tournament act.
We are solving the perception problem.
Those were the words of India’s Poker Sports League’s (PSL) co-founder Pranav Bagai when we spoke recently about his vision for the future of poker in his country.
I was interested in learning how PSL was going to shoot down their competitors: Match Indian Poker League (MIPL) and Global Poker League (GPL) India, when I learned that India’s rulers are the primary enemy, and MIPL and GPL are more like allies.
You see, India’s lords and masters believe that legalising poker is akin to allowing a murderous psychopath to move into your apartment block because it’s a game with too much gamble.
Step forward, Viswanathan Anand.
Anand is a five-time World Chess Champion, a Chess Grandmaster, and India’s dominant figure when it comes to mind sports in his homeland, and Bagai and the team at PSL have drafted him in as an ambassador for the league.
It’s a brilliant move for the league in the wake of news from the states of Gujarat and Telanga that they will continue to outlaw the game because they don’t believe skill plays enough of a role for them to take it seriously.
“My association with PSL is an attempt to establish the fact that Poker, like the game of Chess, is indeed a game of skill, which involves a lot of strategy and a defined skill set,” Anand uttered to the person creating the press release. “I have played chess all my life, and when I was introduced to poker I could instantly draw the parallels, which made me connect better with the game,”.
Bagai and the team are currently working on Season 2, after locking in the Season 1 franchises for another 8-years.
Varun Gupta Wins the Asian Poker Tour Finale Macau Main Event
Maybe we don’t need a Chess Grandmaster to prove to the Indian legal eagles that poker is a game of skill. Just keep racking up the scores boys and girls.
The latest player from India to feel that primal poker chill down his spine is Varun Gupta who took down the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Finale Macau Main Event.
The five-day Main Event attracted 157 entrants to the Macau Billionaire Poker Room at Babylon Casino, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, and Gupta collected HK$300,400 ($38,456) – only the third score on his Hendon Mob live tournament resume.
I got to be honest, I was kinda hoping that Gupta would lose because I was looking forward to leading with the headline: Fuk Wong Play Poker Great but the Poker Gods had other ideas.
Final Table Results
1. Varun Gupta – $38,456
2. Jack Wu – $39,685
3. Shyh Chyn Lim – $19,970
4. Luen Kwok – $14,568
5. Kai Paulsen – $12,059
6. Austin Walton – $9,934
7. Chris Soyza – $8,206
8. Fuk Wong – $6,849
9. Edward Yam – $5,889
Natural8 ambassador Kosei Ichinose finished 11th.
The All Japan Poker Championship Launches a New Tour
There is a rattle coming from the grass surrounding the live tournament scene in Asia, and it’s coming from the All Japan Poker Championship (AJPC). The organisation from the land of the rising sun has announced plans to launch an international poker tour according to GGRAsia.
The tour christened the AJPC Asian Circuit is being tight-lipped about the future of the tour but has released plans to hold the first leg at Paradise City casino in Incheon, South Korea.
The Main Event will take place over five days and will cost people KRW1.1 million to enter ($1,005). There will also be a Super High Roller carrying a KRW11.8 million ($10,000) price tag.
AJPC are pretty chipper about the event, telling GGRAsia that they expect to take 300 people to Korea from Japan, and have plans to make the tour the largest in Asia.