PokerStars will be launching an Indian-specific product, PokerStars India, on April 17th. Specifically, the site will be a partnership between The Stars Group and the Sugal & Damani Group, with Sachiko Gaming Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Sugal & Damani, operating PokerStars.IN. The Stars Group will license the PokerStars name and provide “certain support services.”
“The popularity of poker in India is growing and we are excited to build the market with the support of the global leader in online poker,” said Kamlesh Vijay, Chief Executive Officer of Sugal & Damani Group, in a press release.
PokerStars India will be ring-fenced from the rest of the world, meaning that PokerStars will move Indian players from its international .COM site to the country-specific .IN site. Indian players will still be able to participate in popular events like the WCOOP and Sunday Millions, but only with other players located in India.
India Court Rules Poker Game of Luck
Potentially complicating PokerStars’ efforts in India is a court case in which two judges ruled that poker is a game of chance. Not a game that involves chance, but completely a game of luck. In Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai, a private, very low stakes poker game was busted after an anonymous tipster told local authorities. The game was run by Nasil Patel, operations manager of Indian online poker site, The Spartan Poker. 29 people were charged and all but Patel were released on bond and fined a small amount.
Patel’s lawyers tried to get the case dismissed, citing rulings by High Courts in India that said poker is a game of skill. They also said there was no prima facie case that established that a private, friendly poker game was against the law.
RM Sawant and Sarang Kotwal, the two division bench justices of the Bombay High Court, not only didn’t buy any arguments, but didn’t seem to understand poker at all, writing,
“How can poker be a game of skill? You simply get the cards and open [them], and if chance be, you will win.”
They also said, “We have perused the description of the game; we find that it is not a game of skill but of pure chance. Prima facie we find that a case under the gambling act has been made out.”
Yes, peruse the description of the game. That’s how you properly rule in a court case.
Poker Players Alliance Falls Short of Fundraising Goals
In February, John Pappas stepped down as Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance. Not unrelated, the PPA made a plea to its membership for financial support. New Executive Director Rich Muny said that the group needed $25,000 by March 31st to keep operating.
March 31st was a week ago and the PPA raised a grand total of $6,015.
It is unknown what exactly will become of the Poker Players Alliance at this point, but it certainly looks like things are slowing down. Most of the recent posts on the PPA’s Twitter account are retweets from other accounts; the latest tweet, from April 4th, is just a thank you to people who donated. The Daily Action Plan is no more. It certainly doesn’t look good.
Women in Poker Hall of Fame Announces Finalists
The Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHoF) has announced the eleven finalists for this year’s induction class. Public nominations were accepted for the first half of March; the list of nominees was sent to the WiPHOF Organization Committee and current Hall of Fame members for review and approval before the finalists were confirmed.
From here, a panel of WiPHoF members and select members of the poker media will vote for the winners. Each person has ten votes which they may distribute any which way they please. The WiPHoF has not indicated how many inductees will be chosen, but typically, the top two vote getters are honored at the luncheon ceremony; this year’s will be on June 26th at the Orleans casino in Las Vegas.
The finalists for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame are:
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