I remember I got introduced to poker as a game back in 2011. I was in B school on campus, and the game of poker was just beginning to catch up in popularity in India. This game, which was insanely popular in the United States for starters, in fact, many pit the United States as being the home ground of Poker in the world, had started gaining in popularity on the back of the gaining migration between the United States and India.
Indian migrants, who had forever sought greener pastures outside of India for wealth creation, especially on account of the different currency rates, e.g. During the time of Indian independence in 1947-1950, the exchange rate of the US dollar to INR was around Rs 5 to a dollar. As the LPG, that is Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization regime was brought in force by the Congress government in the 1990s, there was a massive migration of people from India to the United States, especially in the Tech field, with India exporting many software engineers, with their superior mathematical and algorithmic capabilities. The exchange rate at this time grew massively from about 17 rupees to a dollar to about 45 rupees to the dollar in the same decade. Many of these people, after having created significant wealth started migrating back to India in their senior years and brought with them the game of poker, which started seeing its seeding in the Indian market, as a new game of cards and skill and life in the early 21st century. By the second decade of the 21st century, this game had begun to increase in popularity in the Gen Z circles, especially in urban towns with greater reverse brain migrants, and other export-oriented hubs of the country.
By 2010-11, this game was being played in all the elite circles of the country, be it high net worth individuals, lawyers, doctors, or business graduates, elite educational institutions, and the game of poker became an instant status symbol associated with an element of both style and substance and risk-taking capabilities.
Women in poker. Now that is an interesting subject. Women, in general, have been known to be better at calculating risk. In fact, women have made the best bankers in recent times, and best money managers, and this is a skill that they say comes naturally to a woman through a history of neuro-biological genetic programming. It is only logical, therefore, to assume that women should excel at the game of poker, which is a careful balance between risk and mathematics and face reading and betting. In India, card parties in kitties have been a rite of passage of almost every married woman in urban cities and even tier I cities. The game of poker is, gradually gaining in popularity, in the female circles, with more and more women getting exposed to the game through their circles as the game itself is gaining in popularity, and the representation of women playing in the competitive circuit is also gaining ground by the day.
A big event for women in Poker was when Muskaan Sethi, a homegrown poker player was awarded the President’s award for Ladies, by the President of India Ramnath Kovind in 2018. , Minisha Lamba, a well-known Bollywood actor, known for many hit Bollywood films, such as Yahaan and Bachna Ae Haseeno, has been one of the first female Bollywood celebrities to start creating a presence for women in the competitive circuits of Poker in Goa. Zynga poker, which is one of the leading fun-to-play poker apps in the world, has brought poker to the masses including a huge segment of female players through their integrations with Facebook in their earlier stages of expansion. More and more professional players are coming forth from the female community to become pro players and to experiment with this wonderful game of Poker as a full-time profession, with various sponsorship deals also available in the market today as Poker influencers, trainers, or simply sweet earnings that you make from cash games at Poker, be it mid or high stakes games, or even professional tournaments, such as World Poker Tour, and others.
The era of women in poker, especially in India, has only just begun. As the game increases in popularity, and it is a game of the mind, it will not be surprising to see more and more professional poker players rising from the ranks of women and ruling the game.
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Author – Nalini Jain
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