Guest Column: Online poker the next big wave in digital

With poker’s popularity having touched heights in the US, the UK, China, and other European nations, the card game online has also begun to gain immense traction in India. People in India have begun to recognise poker as a skilled-based game. This is one of the major reasons why a large number of players are opting for poker online in comparison to other available options. As per a Economic Times report, the online poker industry today is estimated at $120 million and the figure is only expected to grow in the coming years. The growing number of poker portals online is also indicative of the fact that the industry in India is swiftly expanding. The country is touted to be the next big market for online poker games.

The Origin

India has a long history of popularity of card games, many influenced by the English, given the country’s colonial past. Several classic British card games such as gin and bridge amongst others was a preferred choice by the masses. One poker variant, not too different from the British game - the three-card brag, dubbed as ‘Teenpatti’ began to garner immense interest in India, almost a decade ago. The preference for the game snowballed into popularity for poker. With the advent of digitalisation around the same time, Indian based digital companies wanted to tap in on the popularity that poker had amongst the masses. As a result, many digital companies began to look at creating strong platforms and interesting formats to cater the demands of a digital-first consumer.

The Present

Statistics published by MECN (Media Entertainment Consulting Network) depict that Asia, and primarily India, takes the title of being the largest and fastest-growing online gambling market across the globe. The recognition of the card game online is supplemented by affordable smartphones and data plans, growing broadband penetration and other factors that further promote easy access to potential poker players in the country. With more and more people recognising poker as a skill-based game, many are opting for this card game and this has snowballed into even more recognition for the game.

The Revenue

The online poker industry is continually working towards creating more awareness amongst masses about the skills that the game sharpens and that it also requires a certain level of skill to begin with. It is estimated that about a million players in the country today play real money poker frequently. It expected that with more digital players entering the space, the online poker industry will receive a further boost and surpass the estimated $110 to 120 million mark of 2016. It also appears the government is recognising the volume of revenue generated by the online poker industry. This has been witnessed by the Karnataka government’s recent decision to consider creation of floating casinos.  

Along with the logistics in place and the digital poker industry prepared to onboard a large number of players, the online card game is expected to grab even a larger share in the Indian online gaming industry. The digital poker industry is positive about record-breaking growth and revenue in the years to come.


The author is the managing director and co-founder of The Spartan Poker. The views expressed here are his own and may not subscribe to them.

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