On Tuesday this week, the Gujarat High Court was asked to rule that poker is a game of skill, as are rummy, nap, and bridge. The Indian Poker Association put forward its request at the same time that the organisation asked the court to stop the authorities from preventing poker games.
The move to have poker ruled as a game of skill in Gujarat came after police stopped a poker game that had been set up to play at the YMCA on SG Road. Once a card game has been declared a game of skill, it is no longer considered to be gambling, and will therefore be permissible in Gujarat.
In their petition to the court, the Indian Poker Association noted: “Since poker is not gambling, it is not under the ambit of the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1987. The expression ‘Poker’ does not form part of ‘gaming or gambling.”
If the High Court is in agreement with the Indian Poker Association, the action taken against poker games by the police and other authorities will be considered illegal. Skill-based card games do not require any special permission unless money is to be bet on the games.
The authorities were informed of the game that had been scheduled to take place at the YMCA. The police did not contact the Indian Poker Association regarding play, but rather placed a request that those organizing the event stop the game from taking place.
The Indian Poker Association explained that its purpose in hosting games is to look for local poker talent. Those that are talented players will be groomed to a point that they will be able to play poker in various world championships that take place.
There are a number of locations in the state that currently host poker games in private clubs.