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PokerGuru`s Guide to Poker In India

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A lot has changed in just the past 2 – 3 years, vis a vis the poker scene in India. Most poker aficionados earlier had to travel abroad to get their fill of the game, until the emergence of Goa, which soon claimed the title of “Poker Mecca” of India.

The only states to allow legal gambling earlier were Goa, Sikkim and Daman.

However, things have changed today and India now boasts of two more poker destinations, with Bangalore and Kolkata.

Bangalore got its first poker room through a tough legal fight and Kolkata got one, after study showed that the state’s law allowed games of skill, such as poker.

Daman has seen the establishment of the new and highly exclusive Deltin, but its casino and poker room, said to be spread over 60,000 sq ft are yet to become operational.

Players in India can find poker rooms in practically all the four corners of the country.

Here, we compile a list of poker rooms at the above four destinations, in the country, where poker enthusiasts can head to get their fill of the game.

 

Goa

The city of beaches was always a perennial favorite for recreational gamblers, with its onshore and offshore casinos.

Recently, the defunct Deltin JAQK was relaunched by Prashant Agarwal and is another poker haven for players in the state.

Today, those seeking poker can head to the following places:

Casino Deltin Royale

Undoubtedly, the most elite, in terms of luxury and size, this offshore casino offers a variety of games, based on international formats, such as Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette.

It features 40,000 sq ft across four floors, with 123 tables.

The ethnic “Taash” room, is exclusively for Indian Flush, besides a Royale Poker Room, which was a trendsetter of its type in the country.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment every night, ranging from musical performances, DJs to international dance artists.

Dining: Royale visitors can satiate their stomachs at the delectable “Vegas” restaurant, with premium beverages and hand rolled cigars at the “Whiskys Lounge.”

Executive Chef Pravin Sinha is on board to provide the best in international and national cuisine.

The casino also offers special VIP GAMING SUITES for those seeking a tad more.

Address:  Noah's Ark, RND Jetty, Panjim, Goa - 403001

Phone No: +91 86 985 99999

Website: http://www.deltingroup.com/deltin-royale/

Casino Deltin JAQK

The earlier defunct poker room at this casino has now passed into the hands of Prashant Agarwal and his partners.

The new management offers Texas Hold’em, American Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, 3/5 Card poker and Teen Patti, besides a host of other machine games.

The casino offers a la carte buffet dinner, free with casino entries. Guests can also place special orders. It is open all 24 hours.

Dress Code: Formals and Smart Casuals. Shorts, sleeveless, flipflops and chappals not allowed.

Address:  Fisheries Jetty, Fisheries Dept Building, D Bandodkar Rd, Panaji, Goa - 403001

Phone: +91 77 987 40004

Website: http://www.deltingroup.com/deltin-jaqk/

Casino Pride

The Casino Pride was once, Goa’s most acclaimed gambling destination, until the more luxurious Royale came up. It provides a 30,000sq ft space of live gaming, with 40 tables including Live Casino Games Like Poker, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Flush, Mini Flush , Paplu, Andar Bahar and many more.

The Manager of the Poker Room is Madhav “Maddy” Gupta.

Address: MV PRIDE OF GOA, River Mandovi, Panaji 403001

Phone: +91-832-6516666

Casino Pride II

Casino Pride II is the smallest among all Goa casinos and was recently taken over by the Pride Group. It was earlier known as Casino Carnival.

Currently, the casino is operational, but the Pride Group has shut down the poker room.

Address: D.B. Marg, Opp. BP Petrol Pump/Panjim Residency, Panjim

Phone: +91-8888807256 / (0832) 2222092

Besides the above offshore casinos, there are other onshore places to play, which include Casino Palms, Casino Pearl and Casino Paradise, all owned by the Pride Group. Chances Casino and Crown Casino and many more other independent places are also available.

 

Bangalore

Bangalore is fast emerging as the poker-capital of India, overtaking Goa, which was “the gambling” destination until recently.

It was the single-handed fight led by one man K N Suresh in Bangalore, who won a landmark case in the state Courts, which accorded poker the status of a “game of skills”. K N Suresh also founded the city’s first poker room, with the IPA. Today, poker rooms are mushrooming all over the city.

The city is already an IT hub, with expats and foreign returnees, who have contributed greatly towards the growth of poker.

Chief places to play in Bangalore:

The Indian Poker Association (IPA)

Bangalore’s first legitimate poker room, it is a non-profit organization, started by K N Suresh and like-minded friends. The poker room later collaborated with the High 5 poker room.

Membership is required to play at the club and existing members can bring along family or guests, while tourists need to provide references for entry.

The club is open on all days.

Address: Indian Poker Association, YMIA Club, Assaye Road, Next to Bodycraft Spa & Saloon, Near Ulsoor Lake, Bangalore, India 560042

Phone: 088927 16020

Website: http://www.indianpokerassociation.org

The Golden Aces Poker Room

Golden Aces opened up soon after IPA and is run by two brothers, Deepak and Vikram Chawla.

A more luxurious space spread over three storeys, offers 6 tables, with board games, beverages, besides food.

The poker room boasts of its own tournament, The Golden Aces Poker League, in association with the Casino Pride of Goa. The inaugural series played out in May 2012.

Membership is required and registered members can bring guests. It is open from 10am to 10.30pm.

Address: 73/1, Old Airport Road, Domlur, Opp Petrol Bunk, Bangalore, Karnataka 560071, India

Phone: +91-96324 54444

Website: http://www.goldenaces.in/

Rockets Poker Room

Rockets is one of the new entrants to the city, run by Rajeev Raut, earlier of the Deltin Royale, Goa. Rockets covers an entire floor and features 6 tables. The room is seeking to extend its space over two more storeys, with a spa planned at the top and a host of elite services.

The poker room also has its own tournaments.

Timings are from 10am to 10.30pm.

Entry is restricted to serious players, with a fee. Tourists need to provide prior intimation for entry.

Address: Upper Pipeline Rd, Kumara Park West, Sampangiram Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Phone:+91 74110 76537

Andyz Fish & Chips

Andyz Fish & Chips started out as the High 5 Poker room, where it had collaborated with the IPA. Earlier this year the room had held its own tournament, in association with The House of Spew (THOS).

Subsequently, it was later taken over by a new management and renamed. The current website lists Mahesh Gowda and Andy Morgan, as the President and the General Secretary.

The poker room has a host of tournaments, including the recently concluded Andyz BMTRT - 129 Diwali Poker Tournament's Championship.

Membership is required to play here and it is open 24 hours.  

Address: #462, Sri Krishna Temple Road, Binnamangala 1st Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore -560038.

Phone: +91-9845026399

Website: http://andyzlounge.com/

The Poker Lounge

Partners Ankit Bhartia and Sunish H. launched the Poker Lounge in Dec 2013. It has four tables and Yovraj Chetri, who was earlier dealer at the Casino Mahjong, Sikkim, manages the poker room.

The place offers a number of games, with a health club. It is open from 12 noon to 11pm.

Address: #433/30/1, 3RD floor, 27TH A Cross, 10TH Main, 4TH block, Jayanagar., Bangalore, India 560011

Phone: 099726 08006

There are several other poker rooms in Bangalore today, including Royal Flush in Chamrajpet, the Card Rack at Jayanagar and the Kings Queens Poker Room in Koramangala.

 

Gangtok/Sikkim

The spectacular mountainous state of Sikkim was the first to legalize gambling in India. It has recently, also become the first to award online gaming licenses.

Players from India can visit Sikkim for poker and also treat themselves to a gorgeous feast of natural beauty that the state offers.

Poker rooms available in Gangtok:

Casino Sikkim

Partners, Nihal Singh and Paldal Bhutia operate this casino, which is located at The Royal Plaza Hotel, Gangtok. Nihal was earlier with Amator in Kolkata and the Royal Flush in Bangalore.

The casino offers an international ambience, with trained croupiers and a host of international and national games.

Address: The Royal Plaza, Upper Syari, Gangtok - 737102, Sikkim

Phone: +91-3592-280032 /280232

Website: http://www.theroyalplazahotel.com/index.htm

Casino Mahjong Sikkim

The Mahjong High Roller Poker Room at this casino has a space of 7000 sq ft, 15 live gaming tables, 5-star amenities and a host of other entertainment. It has a dedicated poker room, with 7 tables, besides slot machines.

The casino has a number of games, live performances and international cuisine at a buffet.

Address: MAYFAIR SPA RESORT & CASINO, Lower Samdur Block, Ranipool – 737135. Gangtok,
East – Sikkim.
Phone No: 03592-250126

Website: http://www.casinomahjongsikkim.com/Default.aspx

 

Kolkata

Kolkata was a case of ignorance, where most assumed that gambling was not legally allowed.

Vipin Choudhary, a lawyer and poker enthusiast studied the West Bengal Prize Competition and Gambling Act, 1957 and found that it exempted poker, as a game of skill.

Subsequently, he launched the Amator Poker Room at Kolkata.

Vipin, along with Diddy and Shashwat operate this room.

IPA has announced its plans to open a branch in Kolkata soon.

The Amator Poker Room

The Amator has five tables, which can be hired by players. It is open from 12 noon to 9pm. Food and beverages are complimentary. The poker room also hosts tournaments.

Address:  11A, 2nd Floor, Parama Building, East Topsia Road, Near Mirania Boating Club, Kolkata – 46

Phone: 9811965835

Website: http://amatorpoker.com/

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