The Poker Sports League (PSL) did not create a lot of buzz with the general public in India but it certainly did have a big impact on India’s fast growing poker community. The PSL was launched by a team consisting of co-founder and CEO Pranav Bagai, Amit Burman, Nikita Luther – COO and Adda52.com founder Anuj Gupta.
Similar in many ways to the Global Poker League (GPL), the PSL was designed to promote the game of poker in India and also to educate both the public and legislators that poker was not gambling but a mind sport based on a player’s skill. This is because poker is still a grey area in India as the majority of states still classify poker under gambling and hence it is illegal.
The PSL created a lot of buzz in throughout India because it followed a concept of having 12 teams from different states battle it out for a significant amount of prize money.
The PSL was played over a five day period and the finale was held at the Deltin Casino Royale in Goa. The Delhi Panthers became the first team to win the PSL championship after they topped the leaderboard and the Mumbai Anchors finished in second place.
Each team had a total of 9 members made up of 2 local poker pros, 2 wildcard entries, 1 mentor, 2 live qualifiers and 2 online qualifiers. The Delhi Panthers won approximately $225,000 in prize money which they will split between mentor Akash Malik, Kunal Bhatia and Prashant Bhutoria (online qualifiers), Akshay Nasa and Samay Nodi (live qualifiers), wild cards Eric Riise and Dhruv Patel and local poker pros Aman Dhamija and Vinod Megalmani (local pros).
The Mumbai Anchors took home approximately $150,000 for coming in second while the Kolkata Royals received $75,000 for finishing in third place. The PSL was one of the biggest tournaments in India and the prize was attractive enough to bring international players like Sam Razvi, Calvin Lee and Akira Ohyama over to India to take part in the 5 day tournament.
In a statement, Pranav Bagai said
The never seen before structures and massive prize pool kept the adrenaline rush going for players along with the chance to make some serious money. On closing our first season with a splendid grand finale, we are sure that this is definitely not a one-and-done season and we have plans to come up with season two next year