Film and movie actress Minissha Lamba is so proud of her newly found vocation as a poker player and advocate that she promotes it on her Instagram profile: “Bollywood, Indian Television and Theatre Actor, Kindle Addict, Armchair Philosopher, Poker Enthusiast. “It’s not gambling. It is a sport”, the 35-year old beauty declares publicly. She is not the only one. This tenet is at the root of an increasingly massive campaign to legalize gambling in India. “You train for it and then you have good days and bad days. It’s like trading or playing sports. It’s a mind game not because you have to be intelligent, but because you can be your own worst enemy on the bad days”, Lamba explained in a recent intervju. If you feel tempted to follow in her footsteps do some homework and lookup the guides on betoclock , that can teach you a lot about sports and gambling.
Minissha revealed that the life-changer for her was a game of poker at a Diwali party. Celebrity gossip in the media has been filled with stories on the love affair between Bollywood stars and Diwali gambling for years. Money, fame, glamour and the green table go together. But in a country where gamble has been officially illegal since the XIXth century, poker could only be a private party entertainment. So it was for lovely Lambra, who got “hooked” just at a Diwali get together, thanks to a friend who had just come back from America and taught her to play. It stayed private for five years, then the India Poker Championship was launched in Goa in 2017 and she joined officially with one of the teams.
The Championship got a turbo injection for its second season in 2018, when five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand stepped forward as the brand ambassador for the Poker Sports League. “I find poker no different from chess”, the grandmaster declared to the Times of India. “It is a game of skill, not of chance”. The issue is not merely intellectual because upholding poker as a skill game in front of the law is the key to its legalization. The Public Gambling Act (still enforced from 1867) explicitly states “nothing in this Act shall apply to games of mere skill wherever played”. With only three states allowing physical casinos and three more online casinos, India still has a long way to go.
This concerns Western-style business, obviously. Indian traditions are another story. Foreigners are unaware that taash parties at Diwali, the festival of lights in late October – early November, are not a privilege of Bollywood stars only. Teen patti or poker, no one would either disappoint goddess Lakshmi or loose social status by not throwing a taash party at home. If the battle for legal gambling is won, will tash parties move out of private houses and into casinos? The stakes are high… The real battle for the souls of Indian gamblers has not seriously begun yet.