Poker has been a world traditionally ruled by men. However, in the past decade or so, a new wave of bold and strategic minds is morphing the landscape of Indian pokerverse. These are none other than the Queens of the cards- a bunch of exceptional female poker players who have smashed the overarching stereotype and carved for themselves a solid road into the poker world making it diverse, powerful and all-inclusive!

These royal flush divas are some of the best female poker players out there who have risen through the ranks, defying norms and common expectations by navigating the intricacies of the game with a unique blend of skill, resilience and passion to the felts.

Join us on a captivating story as we uncover the stories of India’s top female poker players- Muskan Sethi, Nikita Luther and Maria Kirloskar who have become icons of the game today. From dazzling victories on the global stage to their domestic runs, each female poker player’s journey is a testament to the evolving narrative of women in poker in India.

Top Female Poker Players in India

Muskan Sethi

Muskan Sethi is a well-known name in the Indian poker circuit and the first ever female poker player from India who made it to the global felts. Born with a natural flair for the mind game, Muskan was introduced to poker by her father at the age of 11 who used to watch poker games. 

Once she grew up, it was her boyfriend who nudged her to play online poker for real money. When Sethi won on Pokerstars, she was one among 70,000 entries who got a ticket to play at an event in Barcelona.

Being the first female face in a tournament telecast on a UK show, she blocked one of the biggest names in the world and word soon got out that there’s a girl from India who plays poker. That was a huge deal then because when Muskan started playing poker, there was no poker player from India, even male, who represented India on the global stage.

Muskan Sethi is the first female poker player who was awarded the ‘First Ladies’ National Award by the President of India. Her inspiration is Phil Ivey, a high stakes American poker pro who’s won 10 WSOP bracelets so far. Muskan Sethi was former brand ambassador of PokerBaazi, India’s biggest poker platform along with Abhishek Goindi, a poker player and coach. 

Nikita Luther

Nikita Luther is the first and only female poker player to have won a Gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) by winning the $1000 NLH Tag Team Event at Las Vegas in June 2018. Carrying a decade long experience in this mind sport, Nikita Luther broke all stereotypes regarding women being underrated and dominated by male poker players

Luther’s first run with Poker was born out of curiosity when she started playing on an American based poker platform called Zynga. It wasn’t until at a friend’s birthday party in 2015 that she started playing poker for real money. She enjoyed the complexity of the game and the mathematical edge required to make informed decisions. 

Being a math nerd who loves puzzles and equations, Luther instantly took a liking toward Poker and decided to play Poker professionally. So far, she has a lot to brag about her poker resume that’s filled with multiple titles, speaking volumes about her skills as a poker pro. 

Her latest win has been that of the Asian Poker Tour (APT) title 2022, followed by the Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) title 2019 and India Poker Championship (IPC) 2015. 

At the global stage, her major cash finishes have been at the World Poker Tour (WPT), European Poker Tour (EPT) and Aria Poker Classic among others. Her latest appearance was at the WSOP 2023 $10,000 Main Event NHLE Hold’em World Championship where she finished 96th and won $78,900. 

Maria Kirolskar

Maria Kirolskar has her own story to tell, a groundbreaking one at that. Kirolskar decided to shift professions and play poker after having worked in Corporate Communications for over 25 years. Life looks different for this female poker player now as she spends nearly 30 hours playing poker and evolving with every hand she plays. 

Maria was intrigued when she watched poker for the first time on TV in the US. She was enamored by the cool, calm and focused composure of players on the table. When the game became accessible online, she started to play. Hers has been a slow and long journey as no one in her circle knew the game on an advanced level.

It was when she went to play the big tourneys in Goa, she became acquainted with the actual world of poker and its inherent intricacies. Later, she joined PokerBaazi in 2021 and finished 2nd in her first PLO tournament. The journey of a long time corporate professional to becoming a Team Pro member of Team PokerBaazi has opened multiple doors of opportunities for Kirloskar to learn and thrive in her passion for Poker today. 

In the words of a professional, Maria believes she’s just getting started and has a long journey ahead to meet her highest standards and goals of becoming the poker champ she dreams to be. 

Final Words

An industry traditionally dominated by men, the accomplishments of these top female poker players from India not only flaunt their personal success but they also break gender stereotypes within the poker community. These women have not only attained significant tournament victories but have also become influential figures today, inspiring a new generation of aspiring female poker players in India. 

As the poker landscape continues to evolve and solidify, these distinguished players are playing a key role in shaping the narrative and fostering inclusivity within the Indian poker scene.

Stay inspired!