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Business Poker

Dalmia group company launches new poker website Poker Johny

Caretel Infotech Limited, a business process outsourcing and software company promoted by the Dalmia Group has become the latest major business conglomerate to foray into the online poker industry.

The company, promoted by industrialist Sanjay Dalmia, has started a website ‘Poker Johny’ (pokerjohny.com) as part of its expansion strategy. A WhoIs search of the name pokerjohny.com reveals that the domain name is registered in the name of Caretel Infotech CEO Rajesh Sehgal.

Interestingly, Dalmia, a former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Uttar Pradesh, was known to be a close confidante of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Dalmia is the son of former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) International President Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

Sanjay Dalmia’s ‘Dalmia Group’ has business interests in sectors like textiles, chemicals, tobacco etc. Apart from the Dalmia Group, listed companies Delta Corp Ltd. (through subsidiary) and Viaan Industries operate poker websites.

Until recently, Essel Group, promoted by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, also operated online poker website PokerNation, which ceased operations on 15th September.  The group may restart its poker operations in the next three or four months and is said to be exploring collaboration opportunities with international operators.

UFO Moviez Managing Director Sanjay Gaikwad’s Valuable Group, through its group company Dusane Infotech’s affiliate, Indusplay Online Solutions Pvt. Ltd., has also acquired poker website Thrill Poker, from Aditya Oberoi promoted Mirch Entertainment Private Limited. Indusplay also operates a fantasy sports portal called Indus Games.

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Poker

Raj Kundra’s Viaan Industries to launch new poker website ‘Poker Raj’ on Sunday

Exclusive Viaan Industries Limited, the listed company promoted by businessman Raj Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty is set to launch a new poker website and mobile app called ‘Poker Raj’ on Sunday. As part of the launch, the website will host  multiple freeroll tournaments from 16th-30th September, which will have a total prize pool of Rs. 10 lakhs.

The website will cater to millions of poker players in India and complement the company’s Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL), a team-based franchise poker event that it hosts along with the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP).

The platform’s technology and software is provided by Pune-based Salus Technologies. Viaan Industries hopes to distinguish its brand from other competitors in the market through superior customer service and customised features.

Commenting on the launch,  Kundra said, “We have been focusing on all variants of real money gaming in India that fall under the game of skill. We launched India’s first official poker league. We’ve also curated a new team of passionate poker lovers and Poker Raj is something we’ve been developing over the years and are now finally ready to launch one of the best poker experiences India has ever seen. We have completed the loop of poker offerings and will now focus on taking a sizeable market share of this booming industry with one focus in mind – the player!”

He further stated that the poker website will be a natural extension to the Match Indian Poker League and added that his company is very bullish on the real money gaming space in India and sees it to be a growing industry.

Interestingly, Kundra had attempted to start a similar online poker venture, Celebrity Games in 2016. However, that project could not take off and had to be wound up.

Kundra however noted that this venture would be different. “That (Celebrity Games) was in partnership and fortunately or unfortunately it did not work out as partners had mixed views on how it should be run. Guess there is always the right time for the right project”, he adds.

He also adds that Poker Raj is a brand 100% owned by Viaan Industries and will in future, become one of the top gaming revenue streams for his company. He also noted that the company’s other real money gaming brands such as bidding game ‘Chase Bid’ and spot the ball contest ‘Game of Dot’ have also been growing at a fast pace.

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Business Poker

Feature: 9stacks CEO Sudhir Kamath talks about his vision for growing online gaming in India

IIM-Ahmedabad graduate Sudhir Kamath is a late entrant to the poker industry in India. After having a successful career as a consultant at McKinsey and later as managing director of oil exploration company Suntera Energy, Kamath along with his three co-founders decided last year to foray into the online poker business by starting 9stacks.

In less than a year, 9stacks has become a popular poker website for poker players with its out of the box offers and marketing techniques. In this exclusive interview, Kamath talks about his company’s strategy and plans:

Full interview:

Q. Before starting 9stacks, you were the CEO of an oil company and you were also an angel investor and consultant with McKinsey. Can you tell us more about how you thought about starting an online poker website?

Sudhir Kamath (SK): When I was running an oil company, or when I was evaluating angel investments, I always looked for opportunities that had cash flow as well as growth potential – online poker is one of those rare sectors where this combination is achievable, and that appealed to me. As a group, all four of us co-founders (Pratik, Abhinav, Rishab and I) shared the view that this is a great sector in which to build a lasting company. However, it’s not an easy business; it is a very execution-heavy space.

There are social, tech, legal, and financial hurdles – and we wanted to come up with a one stop solution  for all of these. In 2017 we set the ball rolling, and it’s been a great ride since then. I know people think of us as “IIT-IIM” founders but apart from the degrees, each of us also has many years of experience in building strong and differentiated businesses.

Q. It has been over a year since you started your new venture. Can you throw some light on the response so far and the numbers done by 9stacks?

SK: We are now a company that is known industry wide for its fast cashouts, innovative what-you-see is what-you-get promotions and offers that are never misleading or exaggerated. We have worked hard on building the best team in the industry, and putting in place the most transparent processes / financial systems / legal compliances. In the coming years we aim to become the go-to platform for everyone who wants to explore poker or make it big in poker.

In terms of numbers, we are nearing a user base of 1 lakh+ subscribers. More than 3 million hands of poker are being played every month on our platform, with monthly gross transactions exceeding $5 million per month and growing rapidly. We’ve had plenty of months where we’ve doubled revenues month on month, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for more of the same! By the way, we’re yet to complete a full year of operations – that milestone comes up in a few weeks, and we’ll have some fun surprises for our customers then.

Q. In December 2017, it was announced that your company raised Rs. 10 crores in a Pre-Series A funding round. Any plans of raising more funds in the near term? What is going to be your company’s strategy towards raising funds?

SK: Yes, we will raise further funding this year. We believe that investors need time and education to get comfortable with the sector, so we have engaged transparently with potential investors at all times.

We do expect that 9stacks would become the first poker company in India to raise institutional funding from professional investors – as and when that happens, it would be a credit to our team and the systems/processes we have put in place. The money enables us to work with a long enough horizon and build our business patiently, while giving our customers even more comfort that we are here to stay.

Q. The online poker market is increasingly competitive, with many established and new players making a foray in this space. In light of this, what is it that differentiates 9stacks from the dozens of already existing poker websites in the market and secondly, given the aggressive spends by poker websites on marketing, bonuses and promotional activities what is the road to profitability for an online poker startup like yours?

SK: One, promotions: We have had some of the best promos and offers across the industry, starting with the Vegas promotion where we took 25 people to Las Vegas WSOP as part of “9stacks Team India”! Rather than spending money on a small set of “pros” representing our site, we prefer to send a number of people to play across the world and make their poker dreams come true. We’ve designed our promos to be very transparent – there are no outrageous hidden clauses and we are a feedback driven, data driven company. And we want to ensure there is always an element of fun to what we do!

Two, cashouts: Any one who has made money on 9stacks, has always been able to cash out smoothly. We guarantee money out in two hours for any cashout between 10 AM and 8 PM, any day of the week including national holidays. In coming months, we’ll make it even faster for our regular customers.

Three, safety: We are all well aware of many sites that launched and then shut down, often losing players money in the process (RIP, bankroll management!). We have been very clear from Day 1 that user money and ‘our’ money are separate and need to be kept in separate accounts. The money we raised from investors is used for all our overheads as well as marketing expenses – user money stays segregated, and that is one reason why we can guarantee superfast cash-outs.

Four, taxation: Our users have the peace of mind that taxes are paid correctly. We were the first poker company in the industry to adopt a ‘dual chip system’ for all our tables. We are glad the industry has taken it up seriously and we expect the dual wallet system to become the norm across websites. Let me explain – let’s say a user plays on one of our competitors, wins Rs. 5,000 in one session, and loses Rs. 5,000 in the next. The user assumes he has won zero overall and doesn’t need to pay taxes. Unfortunately, the taxman may take a different view, and ask for tax on the 5,000 winnings without allowing set off of the 5,000 loss. Our ‘Dual chip system’ helps avoid this problem for our users.  When tax authorities start assessing players poker income, we hope that players who played on our system will be able to sleep easy!

You asked about profitability. As business owners in poker we need to be prepared for the long haul. No one will make money in the first year, or perhaps even the first five, and you have to be prepared to slog it out!

Q. What are the future expansion plans for 9stacks? Any plans to start something offline, or for instance launch other games or do something outside India?

SK: Certainly not offline – our DNA is firmly online. Online expansions are certainly on the cards but for now we’re focused only on the Indian poker market.

Q. One of the major issues for anyone starting a poker website or any skill gaming business is the legal and regulatory risk. As we know, there is ongoing litigation on whether poker is a game of skill and some states/courts have banned the game. How do you see the legal challenges being addressed and do you think there will be either regulation or relief from courts?

SK: We can’t fight these battles by ourselves, so we have signed up to be part of the industry body (All India Gaming Federation) – there is a lot of policy advocacy / education that needs to be done in the years to come and it is better done collectively. There are many stakeholders that need to be addressed: courts and regulators are the obvious ones but also media, online channels like Facebook and Google, and various others.

Q. Another important issue that is increasingly being highlighted is that of responsible gaming. Companies are taking the initiative to ensure that players do not deposit beyond their means and should be given help if they are exceeding their limits. What are the steps taken by 9stacks to promote responsible gaming?

SK: This is one area where we need to become stronger. When we started, we ensured the strictest compliance with all laws – for instance, we have the strongest 3-stage KYC process in the industry, and compulsory geo-tagging (not merely IP-based locations which are easy to spoof). Next on our agenda is everything else a responsible global operator should be doing – well beyond our domestic competitors.

Over the last few months we have been analyzing the data on which to base our “responsible gaming” algorithms. We hope to get to both “static” checks (based on self-declarations or self-set limits that are fixed in advance) as well as more “dynamic” checks that would analyze real-time playing behaviour, possibly using machine learning to spot anomalies.

Q. Finally, any parting thoughts on how you see the poker and gaming space evolving in India.

SK: Poker has been gathering pace for the past 10 years or so in India, and I feel the industry is on the verge of a massive poker boom. When we took 25 players to Vegas as “9stacksTeamIndia”, we hoped some of them would make deep runs at the WSOP Main Event – and Vivek Rughani and Nishant Sharma did so in spectacular fashion.

For both of them it was their first ever visit to the US, first time to Vegas, first time at the WSOP, and then to finish in the top 100- talk about living the dream!

We at 9stacks hope to continue our support for more Indian players going international, and some of these players will become the shining stars for the next generation of serious players. In parallel, we see a huge uptick in interest from casual players who want to play poker for fun – we should soon be at a point where people are choosing between Netflix, TV sports, and online poker!

As passionate poker players and facilitators, we believe that creating a great gaming experience for the users irrespective of their skills levels, will be key to the growth and acceptance of this mind sport. If you offer a safe, fun environment with a good, intuitive interface, users will spend more time and make the effort to learn the game and get better at it.

I believe online poker is going to change the face of gaming in India in the next 5 years. As an industry, we can really bust the social myths about poker and take it forward in the coming years. As more people play the game, they will understand that it can be as competitive as other mind sports like chess or scrabble, and can be as much fun as Fortnite or Temple Run!

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Poker

Essel Group’s PokerNation to discontinue operations from 15th September

PokerNation, the online poker website operated by Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group, has decided to stop operations from 15th September onwards, as per a report in PokerGuru.

As per the news report put out on PokerGuru, a notice put out by the website states, “PokerNation has made the decision to part ways with its partner Microgaming, it’s current software provider. We would be taking a break and discontinue our poker operations as part of a re-structuring process from 15th of September, 2018.”

The company has further stated that it will resume operations within 90-120 days with its own customised software and features, although it remains unclear whether the they would be able to do so.

A call to the customer care team of PokerNation confirmed that the website will indeed shut operations on 15th September and that players are free to withdraw their deposits and winnings anytime till 30th September, 2018. The customer care executive added that it cannot be said at the moment whether the company plays to launch the website in a revamped avatar again in the near future.

With PokerNation’s exit from India Poker Network (IPN), Microgaming’s network only has Lucknow-based Pokeryaar and Kolkata-based PokerLion within its framework.

Another founding member of IPN, Sachar Gaming shut down its poker website Khelplay in March 2018. The company’s parent group, Sugal & Damani, later partnered with The Stars Group to launch PokerStars’ India-facing website.

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Poker

PokerLion’s 1 LAC GTD sign-up freeroll offer

Calling all poker lovers!

Get a supersized sign up bonus at PokerLion when you first register at the platform to play poker online. Now just register at the platform and get a sign-up bonus of ₹200 instant and 1 ticket of Satellite to 1 LAC GTD Sunday Showdown immediately on mobile app. So all new sign ups on the site will buckle up your shoe and start registering to the platform before the offer is gone. This money can be used to play either cash games or tournaments; you can bump up that bankroll in a big way!

PokerLion, which is one of the fastest growing poker platforms of 2018, aims to give an ultimate gaming experience of playing poker to all the players. Striking out the last sign-up offer available at the platform for the new enthusiasts of poker game, PokerLion has brought this new offer for all those poker fans who are still new to the concept of this skill based games.

It will be easy for them to play at the platform without the fear of depositing any money and losing that money while they are practicing the game with other opponents who are not new to the game.

To avail this offer, the new plays just have to sign up to a new account at PokerLion from the Android app. Simply register start joining the tournaments and cash tables with the ₹200 instant sign up bonus and after a moderate practice and studying how to play poker, take part in the Rs. 1 lakh GTD Sunday Showdown and win. The bonus amount cannot be withdrawn.

Also, earn loyalty points each time you play hands at PokerLion and unlock your rank in the leadership board. The more you play poker games at the platform, the quicker you move up in the leadership board and avail more exciting offers.

What are you waiting for? Just visit pokerlion.com to sign up for your new account or download the android app from here – bit.ly/PL_app

Seen you soon on Poker tables at pokerlion.com!

Disclaimer: This article is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the authors of this website. Readers may treat this as an advertorial. 

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Poker

Adda52 announces DPT Xpress Poker tournament in Sikkim from 27-30 September

Online poker website Adda52 has announced that it will be hosting the first every edition of its flagship Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) in Sikkim.

Branded ‘DPT Xpress’, the poker tournament will be hosted in Gangtok’s Deltin Denzong casino (at Hotel Denzong Regency) from 27th-30th September, 2018.

The tournament will feature relatively low stakes events (ranging from five to fifteen thousand rupee buy-ins) to cater to newer and upcoming poker players. Day one will see a Rs. 5,000 buy-in tournament, day two will feature a Rs. 10,000 buy-in tournament while the main event on 29th September will see a Rs. 15,000 event.

A players choice event will be hosted on the final day (30th September). The format and type of the event has not yet been announced, with the company stating that the event will be decided based on popular feedback received from players.

Commenting on the first of its kind poker event in Sikkim, Manish Adnani, Business Head (Poker) of Delta Corp Ltd. said, “DPT has evolved as a product over the past 28 months since its inception in early 2016. Back then we just had one series the Deltin Poker Tournament which attracted regulars , pros and all kinds of recreational players. As the fabric and the space has evolved we felt the need to have a Super High Roller series which took shape in the form of DPT Colossus in April this year clearly dissecting the High rollers from the rest of the pack.

Having said this, there are players who do play cash games at least 3-4 times a week in A , B and C cities but never make it out of the closet to a DPT event as they generally don’t land up playing live tournaments primarily due to high buy-ins and the standard of the game with the pros and regulars participating in these player fields.

DPT Xpress is specially designed to get these players out of their closets giving them a taste of tournament experience with spectacular destination like Sikkim with exciting cash games.  We hope that the players enjoy this experience in Sikkim as it will be a lot of fun all around.We will be live streaming the Bounty and Main Event Final table and hope to give everyone an great experience.Going into 2019 we will have three distinct properties DPT , DPT-Colossus & DPT Xpress catering to the poker playing community in India.”

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Poker

PokerBaazi’s newly launched mobile app can win you a Jaguar and a trip to Vegas

India’s most trusted poker website, PokerBaazi.com has launched its new website and smartphone apps on 21st August, 2018. The website and apps flaunt an intuitive and free-flowing user interface including a portrait mode for playing cash games as well as tournaments,  and would feature the company’s new Rewards system called Baazi Rewards.

The new rewards system is based on the company’s extensive market research and customer feedback. It will reward both old and new poker players for the duration of time they would play poker on the company’s app or website. Commenting on the launch of the new interface, Navkiran Singh, CEO of PokerBaazi said, “I welcome you to a new approach to play online poker where you can get rewarded by simply playing on PokerBaazi. Our unique reward system appreciates your love for the game.  I am sure you’ll love it.”

PokerBaazi has also announced super grand prizes some of which have not been seen anywhere before. Players can win a Jaguar XF, a trip to Vegas, ICC Cricket World Cup Package and a Bahamas cruise package among other prizes. Other prizes include tournament tickets, Real Cash Prizes and gadgets like iPhones. If not for prizes, players can also opt for weekly Cashback program. Things to check out include:

New website and apps

PokerBaazi is all set to wow you with its newly released website and smartphone apps that feature following new updates:

  • The new website (pokerbaazi.com) is more fluidic and will offer an intuitive interface.
  • The new app features one of the first of its kind Portrait mode for single-handed use. It means that players can now play their game for longer duration of time without getting tired.
  • The new app is battery efficient.
  • Players can now make transactions without exiting from the app.
  • Players can see all open tables in the mini preview bar on all screens including tables, lobby, cashier, etc.
  • The players can now swipe between the Lobby and the Tables with just one touch on the apps.

The app is launched in the beta phase today.

Baazi Rewards

The company has launched two different and innovative types of reward structures to cater to two all categories of players.

The first program is called Loyalty Rewards Program. Players can play their game and keep on accumulating Reward Points without any ‘last date’ or ‘expiry’. They can go on to win a Jaguar,  international poker packages and more through various levels. Each level gives away prizes worth equivalent to minimum 20% rakeback and there are certain premium levels which away upto 50%.

The second program is called CashBack. Useful for those players who put-in high volumes every week, this program allows players to get weekly Cashback upto 40% credited directly in their PokerBaazi accounts every Monday.

Awesome Autumn

PokerBaazi has unveiled its stellar line-up of attractive tournaments and series that would run from  20th August  to 30th September, 2018. This promotion would also feature two exciting Leaderboards that are aptly called Major and Minor. These two leaderboards feature cumulative prizes worth Rs. 17 lakhs and winners can win tour packages to Australia and scores of other prizes through them.

Disclaimer: This article is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the authors of this website. Readers may treat this as an advertorial. 

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Poker

New poker-themed fashion portal ‘Big Stack’ launched

Delhi-based BigStack Apparel Private Limited has launched a new online shopping portal, Big Stack, that offers premium fashion wear and accessories themed around the game of poker.

Founded by Rai Sahib Singh Khurana, a Delhi-based poker player, management graduate and entrepreneur, the Big Stack portal currently offers products such as poker-themed T-shirts and caps, that can be purchased online.

Speaking about the decision to start a poker based apparel company, Khurana stated that since he has been an active poker player for quite some time, he wanted to start a venture relating to the game. He added that his vision is to spread the message, through high quality apparel wear, that poker is a game of skill.

Khurana also said that aside from the company’s portal, Big Stack will tie-up with online shopping websites like Myntra and Jabong, through which its merchandise would be made available to the masses.

He added that Big Stack will also be launching its collection of playing cards, sun glasses, poker chips, hoodies, swearshirts, shorts etc. shortly. Khurana also said that he is in talks with a few poker companies and websites for exploring opportunities of strategic tie-ups.

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Business Poker

Stars Group CEO says PokerStars India website in ‘soft launch’ stage; marketing activities to start by year end

Canada-based The Stars Group, the parent company of the PokerStars brand, said that its India product is still in its nascent stage and that the company has not yet started full fledged marketing and promoting activities. The company added that it would start proper marketing campaigns by the fourth quarter of this calendar year.

Responding to a query regarding the progress made on the PokerStars India website, The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said on an investor call, “It’s very early days for India. To an extent I can say that the product is not really ready for the market. There are few elements that we still need to — few gaps that we still need to close before we start our marketing campaign, probably in Q4, more towards Q4 of this year. So, if you can refer India currently as a soft launch with increased focus on this market probably starting in Q4.”

The Stars Group has partnered with lottery conglomerate Sugal & Damani Group to start a ring-fenced India-facing poker website, that officially started operations on 17th April, 2018.

The Stars Group has licensed its trademark and intellectual property rights to an Indian company, Sachiko Gaming Pvt. Ltd. The company is owned and promoted by the Sugal & Damani Group, which is in charge of handling the day-to-day operations of the Indian website.

The Stars Group has not released revenue or profit details of its India venture, although the overall (global) second quarter revenues of the company from online poker have been pegged at US$217 million.

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Poker

Play on the go as PokerLion presents poker glory for bank-rollers

Nothing can beat a good return gift to show the players that PokerLion loves them equally. PokerLion loves players who deposit! And to show how serious the real money poker site is about this, PokerLion is giving away a number of exciting deposit offers:

  • Deposit ₹ 1000 and get 2 tournament tickets
  • Deposit ₹ 2500 and get 10 tournament tickets
  • Deposit ₹ 5000 and get 1 tournament ticket daily for 30 days

All you need to do is, play 1 raked hand of ₹ 100 buy-in at cash table to get the tournament tickets after you deposit the cash amount. In addition to these exciting deposit offers play Texas Hold’em Poker FREEROLL TOURNAMENT every Sunday at 2:30 PM and win 10K GTD prize money.

So, now deposit and “ante up” everywhere with PokerLion android app! You can play poker, conquer the table, and win prizes with just a mobile app and internet connection.

On the way to work, at home, at a party where you don’t know anyone and the possibilities for crushing your poker opponents anywhere are virtually endless! Play against hundreds of poker fans on multi-table tournaments and cash games. You are able to access the same poker games as on your desktop and you can deposit right away and take away the exciting deposit offers PokerLion has for you.

Enjoy all these special deposit offers and app features in the palm of your hands:

  • Rich graphics
  • Easy and fast deposit and withdrawal process
  • Enjoy filtering options of poker games
  • Get valuable and pocket friendly offers
  • Change your avatars
  • Choose from over 130 avatars with modern graphics
  • Enjoy regularly updated tournaments
  • Get free chips daily to your account

Easily the best real money poker game experience comes from playing at PokerLion. Available on Android, PokerLion offers the poker fans the ultimate gaming destination in India.

So do not worry about waiting for the moment of reaching your home and turning on your desktop or laptop to play your favourite Texas Hold’em poker. Just download the app here: http://bit.ly/PL_app and start playing with your existing PokerLion account. The new users need to have a PokerLion account to get started. When you are ready, just open your app and sing in to your account and begin your poker play. Happy playing!

Disclaimer: This article is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the authors of this website. Readers may treat this as an advertorial. 

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