For tourists, visiting India is a country full of beautiful landscapes, awe-inspiring temples and exotic dishes. Its distinct cultural make-up gravitates people from all over to explore this South Asian country. But more recently, India has also made a mark among cardsharks as an alternative destination to play poker. Notwithstanding the markets small size at present, Indian casinos are however attracting pros and amateurs to participate in the country’s emerging poker industry.
While official gambling for a majority of states in India is confined only to lotteries and horse race betting, poker is fast becoming a popular card game among locals. Their fondness for poker can be traced to the indigenous card game of teen patti, which bears some resemblances to flush and is widely popular during the Diwali or the Festival of Lights. Madhav Gupta, owner of Casino Pride in Goa, observed, “We are seeing a rise in the number of players turning to poker. Beyond just the 18-25 year olds we are also seeing players over the age of 40 who are moving from teen patti to poker.” Indians are also recognized to be one of the pioneers of online poker. New Delhi-born Anurag Dikshit co-founded partypoker in August of 2001, utilizing India’s dominance in cyber technology to set the trend for online poker rooms around the world.
Travellers can enjoy non-stop Texas Hold’em or pot limit Omaha in poker rooms around India. Many tourists flock to the states of Goa and Sikkim to enjoy a round or two of poker in one of its specialty casinos.
Casino Royale, Goa – Anchored on the Mandovi River in the state capital of Panaji (also known as Panjim), the Casino Royale Goa is the largest floating casino in India. With 5 decks and 3 floors of unlimited gaming action, poker aficionados are delighted with world-class poker facilities. The Casino Royale also plays host to several national and international poker competitions, including the New Delhi-based Shark Magazine’s Poker Dream Challenge, the Indian Poker Series, and the World Gaming Festival.
Casino Carnival, Goa – The Marriot Goa’s Casino Carnival is another floating casino located off the banks of Panaji’s Mirama Beach. The glitzy casino specially caters to foreign tourists, as it houses a VIP room for high-stakes poker aficionados. In addition, nightly live entertainment and an al fresco gaming floor are also being offered here.
Casino Mahjong, Sikkim – A doorstep away from the Himalayan mountain range, the Casino Mahjong at Sikkim’s Mayfair Hotel and Resorts is India’s first onshore casino. High-rolling tourists are treated with numerous poker variants such as Texas Hold’em, 5-card Poker, and Caribbean Stud Poker. Image Source: holidaysikkim