According to an announcement on its website, PokerStars is making some radical changes to its poker offerings in India. The world’s number one poker portal is raising weekly tournament guarantees by as much as 40%, while lowering the buy-in for other tournaments. The company also said that it has removed multi-table tournaments (MTT) that weren’t performing well, as well as some of its Spin and Go buy-ins.
According to the site, the tournament schedule “now promises more choice, bigger guarantees and even more excitement.” Weekly tournaments such as the Monday Battle Royale, Super Tuesday, Fast Friday saw their guarantees increase, while a new tournament, the Saturday Eliminator, was added to the weekly lineup. The changes went into effect this past Monday. There are now 215 tournaments available with a combined guarantee of approximately $150,000.
The Stars Group (TSG), owner of PokerStars, announced in March that it had signed an agreement with the gaming company Sugal & Dumani to offer poker in the country. A month later, the lights were turned on for the PokerStars.in website, expanding the company’s global hold on online poker. At the time, Rafi Ashkenzai, CEO of TSG, said, “We anticipate the brand being launched in the second quarter initially on the ring-fenced basis but believe it will take a few years for the business to reach profitability and for us to receive noticeable license fees.”
In conjunction with the launch, Ankur Dewani was appointed as the CEO of Sachiko Gaming Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Sugal & Dumani that was created to carry the PokerStars brand in the country. Dewani said in a recent interview, “PokerStars.in provides a solid foundation for the domestic poker market which is important for long-term industry growth. By bringing the PokerStars platform to India, we aim to set a high standard in the hope that others will use this as a recognized benchmark.”
The topic of poker has been highly controversial in the country. The Bombay High Court ruled in March that the game required no skill, and was based only on luck. This has been echoed by other states such as Gujarat and Telangana and has hindered the growth of the sport in the country. However, with the support of the Indian Poker League and PokerStars, poker is still gaining traction in India, especially with millennials, and continues to grow in popularity.