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Bangalore may certainly seem to be the emerging hub of poker, but clearly Goa is still in the reckoning, as a number of entrepreneurs head to the state. In June this year, we had Prashant Agarwal and team take over the defunct poker room at the Deltin JAQK, and they even held a tournament series in September.
In an exciting new development, three big names from the Indian poker scene – Sameer Rattonsey and Rajeev Kanjani of India Poker Championship (IPC) and Amin Rozani of India Poker Face have decided to collaborate and take over Goa’s most prestigious poker room i.e. Deltin Royale.
The Deltin Royale poker room onboard the Deltin Royale Casino is unquestionably the largest and most luxurious of all Goa’s poker destinations. For poker players, this mega venture can only spell a new era of professional gaming, with international standards.
Sameer and Rajeev are both poker professionals of repute and share a background of organizing successful poker tournaments at Goa in the past.
The IPC and Aces Unlimited, their respective brands had earlier combined hands to run the Ultimate Poker Championship in May and Sept. 2012. It was a logical development, when the two brands merged into a single entity of IPC in Dec 2012.
Amin Rozani is one of Mumbai circuit’s most well known and respected players whose popular network within the poker field adds clout to the partnership. Amin has already shifted base to Goa early this month and the three intend to manage the poker room together.
The trio take over the Deltin Royale poker room from current manager Anil Gulati this week.
PokerGuru spoke with Rajeev Kanjani and Amin Rozani, vis-à-vis their plans for the poker room in the coming future. Here are excerpts of the interview.
1. Tell us a little about how you came about getting the Deltin Royale Poker room? Who all will be involved in the management of the new poker room?
Rajeev Kanjani: We have of course worked with the Deltin management in the past for our live events and we were aware that the poker room was operating directly under casino management. It was during an event in Mumbai that we met with some of the top management, which led to a casual discussion about the way ahead for the Deltin poker room. At the time, we didn't think much of it but a few days later, we had a more formal meeting with them on this matter. Over the course of a few weeks, we came to an understanding on the terms and conditions after which we formalized the arrangement and here we are…
Amin Rozani: Sameer Rattonsey, Rajeev Kanjani and I will be involved in the management of the poker room. As of early November, I have shifted based to Goa and will be involved personally with the day-to-day operations of the poker room.
2. You guys come with considerable experience in the Indian poker industry. What in your opinion are the key changes that needs to be made by Goa`s poker room operators to revive the scene?
Amin Rozani: Between the three of us, we have more than five years of individual experience in this industry and while there has been a bit of a lull in Goa in recent months, we hope that our experience and expertise will help in getting things back on track as far as Goa as a poker destination is concerned.
Rajeev Kanjani: Our top priority will be to ensure that the running of the poker room is as smooth as possible. I'd rather not expound any further on our plans but rather leave it to players to come and experience it firsthand.
3. What are your motivations for taking up the poker room?
Amin Rozani: All of us are very passionate about the game and its growth in India. We have long believed that India can become a viable poker destination with Goa being the hub of all the action. So this is an opportunity to do our bit; to build and grow the cause of this beautiful game.
Rajeev Kanjani: Aside from that broad goal, we know that more and more domestic players are looking for an opportunity to take up poker in a professional capacity and we want to provide these players a platform for them to hone their skills. With the IPC coming back in 2015, players will get a chance to take on competition on a regional level and then build up from there to competing at the global stage.
4. With many poker rooms mushrooming all across the country, Poker in Goa has witnessed a declining trend. What is your general outlook on the poker industry in Goa?
Rajeev Kanjani: We still believe that poker is very much at the nascent stage in this country. I don't think we have even scratched the surface as far as the potential of this game in India is concerned. It's important to understand that being a niche sport, poker needs to be handled with some delicacy. However, this was not really the case in the early years despite the so-called boom of 2010-11.
Amin Rozani: That said, there were a number of reasons contributing to the decline, not the least of which was the TDS factor. A lot of players were upset about this development and were turned off when it became a mandatory deduction at events. However, this is a worldwide phenomenon and we must accept this and take it in stride. The number of poker rooms has increased in India but so have the number of players and the rise of the latter is significantly higher. This is a good thing because more players mean bigger prizepools in tournaments and therefore a lesser sting from the resulting TDS. We are very positive about the future of the poker industry and hope that all stakeholders including players will work together towards growing this game we all love.
5. So what are the key changes poker players can expect from the new management at Deltin Royale Poker Room? Any key promotions or tournaments lined up?
Rajeev Kanjani: I've been traveling in Asia to play tournaments on a regular basis and more so especially in recent months. The idea aside from catching a game of poker was to see what the others are doing right and adapt those things in the Indian context. What has emerged very clearly is that we need to get our basics right. If we do that, more than half the battle will be won.
Amin Rozani:There is no question that important things like customer service and player experience must be of a certain standard which is what we will strive to do. We are excited that the India Poker Championship is returning to Goa in 2015. The IPC has always been a player favourite and we're happy to have them host a full schedule of tournaments with us across the new year. We look forward to welcoming players, old and new to the Deltin Royale Poker Room. See you there!
Thank you guys for talking to us and we wish you all the best for the new venture!
Contact details of Deltin Royale Poker Room: Casino Deltin Royale, Deltin Royale Jetty, Panjim, Goa – 403001, Phone #: 9011013514, 8806663594
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