In 2002, the World Poker Tour started out its series as the game of poker hit the mainstream limelight. Since then, the popular card game has spread all the way around the world and the WPT brand has grown with it. Now the WPT is moving into a new emerging market, one which many consider to be an untapped well for players: India.
The WPT has struck a partnership with Adda52.com, which is the biggest internet poker site in India. This deal will allow the site to show some seasons of the WPT television show while making the brand available to new sponsors. They'll be able to create their own merchandise and the new venture will also allow players from India to qualify for WPT events played all over the world.
It's a massive move for the WPT as India is one of the fastest-growing poker communities in the world. Adda52.com has reported to have 800,000 players on their site, but that's a figure they expect to grow thanks to partnerships like this. Remember that India itself has a population of over 1.25 billion people, which means there is still plenty of room for growth. That is a huge market to tap into and it's a market that many people feel is in its infancy. India is really just getting started.
In the past - and even in some forms nowadays - India has been relatively tough on gambling. Part of the challenge has been that the laws are different from place to place throughout the country. Physical casinos are only allowed in three places: Daman, Goa and Sikkim. As for the online world, the legalities of internet gambling are still being worked out. However, people look at poker differently because it is a game of skill, rather than a game of chance, and they also look at it as being similar to rummy, which is hugely popular in India. At any rate, poker is in the safe zone right now, which is why it has grown among the people.
There is no word on whether or not India is going to be a stop on the WPT Tour, but it assumed that that's part of the plan. They are hoping to expose more people in India to the international standards, structures and sizable prize pools to attract bigger audiences. Early speculation suggests that if they were to hold an event in India, it would probably be Goa, which has a number of live tournaments played there already. Goa also hosts a number of the country's casinos too.
The numbers show that the Indian people are craving poker and companies like the WPT are frothing over the potential room for growth. Consider that only about 10 percent of the population in India has smartphone or personal computers. That's quite low compared to other BRIC countries like Brazil, China and Russia. WPT is banking on the fact that technology will land in more hands in the coming years, more people will be exposed to the game and more will get involved. On the surface, that looks like a pretty good bet on their part.