India’s Debut Poker Sports League is Shaping Up

India’s Poker Sports League (PSL) will be played by 12 teams. The first seven teams were announced in December 2016, and the final five teams have now been finalized. The teams will compete with the finals set for 24th – 28th May 2017 in Goa.

There will be a total of 108 poker players in the PSL, spread across the 12 teams. Of the nine players per team, there will be a captain, two pro players, two players who qualify online, two players who qualify in live games, and two wild card players. The prize pool is 3.36 crore Rupees.

The captains, or mentors, will all come from the ranks of the top 40 poker players in India as listed by the Global Poker Index. The mentors will help train and guide the team players both before and during the matches of the PSL. All players will receive a fixed salary and the chance to win prize money.

The format of the competition is somewhat similar to that of sports leagues such as hockey, kabaddi, or cricket. The franchises will play against each other both online and in live games. There are no entry fees to the tournament for either individuals or the franchises they are playing for. The franchises will make money by selling broadcasting rights and advertising.

Live qualifiers have taken place in Bangalore, Calcutta, and Ahmedabad. There will also be live qualifiers in Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. Online qualifiers will take place until the end of April, giving potential players plenty of time to play and qualify.

The Poker Sports League is the brainchild of Amit Burman, Pranav Bagai, and Anuj Gupta. Burman commented on the league: “The Poker Sports League is a unique opportunity for players of the game to hone their skills as well as popularize the game that is set to be recognized by the International Mind Sports association along with Chess, Bridge, and Draughts.”

The 12 teams are:
• Rajasthan Tilters
• Punjab Bluffers
• Pune Sharks
• Mumbai Anchors
• Kolkata Royals
• Hyderabad Kings
• Haryana Hunters
• Gujarat Acers
• Goan Nuts
• Delhi Panthers
• Chennai Bulls
• Bengaluru Jokers