Mumbai police have raided a poker club in an upmarket part of Mumbai, and Match Indian Poker League (MIPL) chief Raj Kundra believes the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) will host a World Cup commanding a $6-$8m prize pool within three years.
25 people in a room playing cards.
It’s not exactly a terrifying notion is it?
And yet, in some parts of the world, police officers are so bored they have nothing better to do that hammer down doors keen to introduce poker players to Mr Smith and Mr Wesson.
The latest raid happened on Friday night in Mumbai, India. Mumbai police officers charged into a poker room in the upmarket area of Santacruz, where they arrested 25 players, the people running the club and also confiscated Rs 2.90 lakhs of cash (about $5k). The beak charged everyone in cuffs with running a ‘common gaming house’ in violation of Section 4 and 5 of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act.
New World of Sports Limited (NWOS) owns the club, and co-founders Clifford Bansode, Rishi Nagpal, and Suraj Kusalkar are said to be preparing themselves for a legal war after those arrested spent a night in the cells thinking about flushes and straight draws before being released on bail the following day.
The poker room opened in June 2016. The chief promoter was Allen Bansode and the Poker Room Manager was Chetain Jain. Speaking at the time to the Indian gambling site GLaws, Jain made it clear that NWOS held all the necessary licences to allow them to operate the Santacruz club.
The club is members only with patrons provided with free food and non-alcoholic beverages. There are six poker tables. NWOS believe the raid was nothing but a ruse to discredit the name of the company. NWOS operate a second poker room in Pune and belongs to the Kolkata-based affiliate company NWOS Gaming Pvt. Ltd who also own the online poker room: rounders.in, named in honour of Mike, Worm and Teddy KGB.
Raj Kundra Talks to Poker Guru About Match IPL
Raj Kundra will be hoping that the Mumbai police steer clear of the Playboy Club on 17th & 18th Nov when the inaugural Match IPL kicks off.
It’s been a stressful week for Kundra and the rest of the Match IPL team. Not only is The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatening legal action over the use of the acronym IPL, but they were also forced to tweet an apology after falsely implying that the likes of Faraz Jaka, Vicky Coren-Mitchell, and Luke Schwartz were set to star in the tournament.
What a pigeon.
Pushing all of that aside, Kundra sat down with Poker Guru to answer a few questions on the upcoming poker league. Below you will find snippets of information I haven’t previously covered.
The first thing I noticed about the interview was the use of the acronym MIPL when referencing Match IPL. I assume the threat of legal action from the IPL is real and something Kundra is keen to avoid.
Kundra believes there will come a time when poker players in India are earning more money than cricketers. The Worlds Top Most website pegged the Indian cricket team captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a man worth $100m, so that’s a bold statement from Kundra.
The Match IPL team is about to embark on a marketing campaign based on the slogan #PokerIsASport. Bollywood celebrities will provide commentary on the action on MTV.
Kundra is planning on running multiple smaller events next year, and also has plans to set up similar leagues in the 60 countries that belong to the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP). Revenue generation will come from the prize money, Match Poker registrations, and sponsorships including jersey sponsorship deals.
The action is divided into a total of 100 hands per day with breaks every 25, for the Team Captains to analyse play. The team with the most points after two days is declared the winner.
Finally, within three years, Kundra expects the IFMP World Cup to command a prize pool between $6-$8 million.