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Goa has been a popular tourist destination with its gorgeous beaches, tropical climate and exotic cuisine. It is also the only state in India where gambling is legal, making it a unique vacationing hot spot. In recent years, Goa’s gambling appeal has increased significantly with numerous gambling games being offered at luxurious casinos housed in star hotels or on board grand ship casinos floating on the waters surrounding Panaji, the capital of Goa.
Poker as a gambling card game has been exceptionally popular in North America and Europe with huge field poker tournament schedule offering millions of dollars in cash prices, such as the WSOP (World Series of Poker), the EPT (European Poker Tour) and the WPT (World Poker Tour). Televised poker events like final tables of major tournaments and the world’s biggest cash games have only amplified poker’s magnetism. It was a matter of time before this incredibly popular card game entered Asia and was quickly accepted at casinos in the Philippines and Macau which brought multi-million dollar prize money tournaments like the APT and WPT to Asia. Poker in India became a household name courtesy Zynga poker on Facebook. Everyone started playing poker and soon even traditional card games like 3 card flush (Teen Patti) lost its lustre and poker became the game of choice during house parties and get-togethers at Diwali.
Live tournament poker in India is still in its nascent stages with few casinos offering game rooms for poker players; all of them presently located in Goa. Outside Goa, the game is played mostly at house-games or through an underground circuit of makeshift casinos, though major reforms in poker licenses are expected soon. The 3 major tournaments hosted in India are the IPS (India Poker Series), IPC (India Poker Championship) and the IPRT along with 2 new tournament series which debuted in 2010 namely the Poker Dream Challenge and Aces Unlimited. All of these tournament series were held at casinos in Goa. While the IPS, IPC, Aces Unlimited and Poker Dream Challenge were held at Casino Royale, the IPRT was hosted by Casino Pride. The player fields in these tournaments have increased substantially over the months and some events already have an ardent fan following by players from remote locations in India such as Bhuj and Gangtok which is proof enough for the game’s growing popularity in India.
The Indian live poker calendar looks extremely promising this year with both the IPS and IPC hosting 6 Tournament Series each. Casino Royale in Goa is scheduled to host at least one tournament series every month in 2011. See you at the tables and stay tuned at PokerGuru for the exciting updates and news on all the live poker action!