There’s a new way to play PokerStars in India as of this week.
The Stars Group’s PokerStars.IN went live on Wednesday with a wealth of features for Indian players, including the ability to play special localized tournaments and use Indian Rupees on the site.
The vast majority of Indian players will be able to play on PokerStars.IN with support for both desktop and mobile devices.
Tantalizing market for online poker operators
The launch of PokerStars.IN has been a long time coming with Indian poker going from a slow simmer to a rolling boil over the last few years.
It helps that Indian poker pros like PokerStars own Aditya Agarwal as well as Kunal Patni, Aditya Sushant, and Raghav Bansal have been blowing up on the international poker circuit.
Indian-American Nipun Java grabbed numerous headlines last summer when he managed to win not one but two gold bracelets at the 2017 WSOP.
For years online poker existed in a legal grey area in India but that era appears to be over. The very first online poker license was awarded back in 2016 and several more have been handed out since.
It also appears that poker is getting closer to being classified as a skill game like chess or rummy.
The market represents a potential goldmine for operators thanks to its massive 1.3+ billion-person population.
PokerStars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi has previously estimated the Indian market to be worth $150 million per year and growing.
Indian players locked out of global PokerStars
The downside to the new PokerStars.IN is that it appears Indian players will be losing access to the much larger PokerStars.com.
That’s common practice, as many of the jurisdictions where PokerStars operates restrict the player pool to that region only.
That means that players will likely miss out on flagship PokerStars like the Sunday Million.
On the bright side, PokerStars.IN will have its own exclusive tournaments and will be launching with a series of freerolls for players.
It didn’t take Agarwal long to take advantage of such tournaments as he took down the Hot 2500 earlier this week.
The majority of Indians will be able to play on PokerStars.IN but those who reside in states where online poker has been deemed illegal will not get access at this point in time.
PokerStars adds Indian Pro Muskan Sethi
It’s full speed ahead for PokerStars in India and the site also recently announced a new player acquisition.
New Delhi’s Muskan Sethi is the latest poker pro to don the trademark PokerStars red spade.
Sethi originally worked in the fashion industry but found the work unfulfilling and moved into social work.
As a social worker, Sethi found the time to play a little poker on the site and qualified for the 2014 PokerStars Shark Cage promotion where she finished runner-up to Mike Tindal.
After that Sethi picked up a poker sponsorship and even got a nod from President Ram Nath Kovind in an event honoring 100 Indian women who had achieved success in fields traditionally dominated by men.
On the poker side, Sethi has accumulated over $100,000 in online cashes in addition to another $44,000 in live tournament scores.
She will be joining the PokerStars team as an ambassador for the Indian market. Both Sethi and her teammate Agarwal will help promote poker as a skill game in India.