India’s Poker Sports League (PSL) will welcome another investor as the organizers prepare for Season 3 of the competition, starting in March 2020.
Online operator PokerDangal is now a co-owner of the league’s Kolkata Kings franchise, and wants to leverage the PSL’s growing reputation in its efforts to promote poker as a game of skill.
The PSL holds an annual event featuring teams from across India who compete for supremacy and cash prizes in a variety of different poker formats. Each of the 11 participating teams represents a different region of the country, and is comprised of a combination of professional and amateurs players, and international stars.
PSL Promotes Skill
Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate luck from poker, PSL events use a structure that aims to determine the best overall performers.
To further its efforts to establish poker as a “mind sport,” each PSL owner drafts players and pays them a salary. PokerDangal will now contribute financial and other support to the Kolkata Kings franchise. The site’s founders, Varun Puri and Varun Mahna, say the new arrangement is also an opportunity to align their company with a sports-focused organization such as the PSL.
“The PokerDangal team has always made effective efforts to get the game to the masses and to place poker as a skill game,” Puri and Mahna said in a joint statement.
The fate of online poker in India currently hinges on its classification. With gambling illegal across the country, regulation has only happened in regions where poker has been classed as a skill game.
Online Poker in India Hampered but Evolving
Thanks to a legal licensing system in Nagaland, online poker in India has been able to grow. However, there are still states that believe the game is a form of gambling and no different from blackjack or other games of chance.
The differences in opinions may have stifled the growth of online poker in India, but it hasn’t stopped it completely. By linking up with the Poker Sports League, the co-founders of PokerDangal are not only enhancing their brand’s reputation, but helping the industry as a whole.
Looking ahead, online qualifiers for the third PSL are currently underway and the top performers will be announced in February. From there, a live draft will take place in New Delhi on March 1, 2020.
As in previous years, local players will be joined by a selection of international wildcards. The 11 teams will then compete in a series of league matches ahead of the Grand Finale on March 22, 2020, when another region will be crowned PSL champions.