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Indian Poker

With several game origins to its name, Indian card games are influenced by both eastern and western cultures. A card game with these influences sprouted in 2006, adapting itself from the popular western game of poker. Teen Patti, also known as Indian Poker, went on to be India’s fastest-growing and most-played game. With the appetite for a poker variant lingering among Indians, it was just a matter of time before the western variants of poker made their way to India.

While the law toggled with legalizing the game on the ground, the colloquial popular as a ‘skill-based game’, online poker flourished in India. With real money and real skills at stake, the Indian poker game broke taboos to become widely accepted as a skill-based game. Indian poker sites now have millions of players enjoying real money poker games online in India.

Indian poker sites worked hard to bring global poker online in India. Simulating the same world-class experience, Indian poker sites mushroomed by the dozen, now gives online poker in India the much-needed platform. The platforms also nourish the skills of players by offering them the tools to refine their game and give rise to some world-class professionals. It is safe to say today that Indian poker games are here to stay.

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Birth of Indian Poker Online Platforms

Historically, card games in India were associated with the societal taboo of gambling. To keep these nefarious real money-wager activities at bay, they came to be governed by the gambling laws under the federal public gambling act of 1867.

As time evolved and Indian poker games began to grow in popularity with skills needed to prove one’s mettle in the game, the Supreme Court of India declared that only games of chance are illegal, giving games of skill a legal status. This was the birth of online Indian poker.

Another important law governing online poker in India is the Information Technology Act of 2000, which makes a further distinction between casino games and card games. Considering India is a federal state, state and local legislation may create their own laws for skilled-based card games and Goa and Sikkim are the two states that did so.

Moreover, as India is a federal state, local legislators may create favourable law environments for gambling & poker, which is, for instance, the case of two states in particular: Goa and Sikkim.

Throughout the whole country of India, some laws do, however, apply uniformly. As such, the minimum legal gambling age is 18 everywhere in India. Also, regarding taxes, players have to pay a 30 percent income tax on all winnings above 10,000 rupees (around $150).

Live Poker Venues in India

While there are no legal casinos in most of India, Goa is home to a total of seven land-based casinos, as well as several offshore ones. You can play poker in at least four of them: Casino Pride, Casino Royale, Casino Carnivale, and Casino Goa.

Sikkim welcomes two land-based casinos where you can play poker: Casino Sikkam & Casino Mahjong.

A third state, the state of Daman, is expected to start operations in the next few years. Foreigners and Indians are allowed to enter casinos and legal poker clubs.

  • Casinos and Poker Rooms in India
  • Play Online Poker in India

Online Poker Legislation in India

Technically, live poker is only legal in the states of Goa and Sikkim.

In most cases, the country’s legislative and judicial branches haven’t ascertained the legal status of online poker sites in Indian states. As a result, online gambling in the rest of India is kind of a grey area: it is still quite unclear if playing poker online for real money is fully legal or not.

However, consumers and brands are now thriving in the country, both being quite confident that the law will be on their side, based on the decision of the aforemenioned Supreme Court of India. Access to all major online poker sites is common throughout the country.

India’s average Internet Speed is 3.5 Mbps with a lot of disparity on the territory, but it’s usually sufficient to play online poker. A VPN is recommended.

India is not a gambling-friendly country, although the same may not necessarily apply to online poker. From a legal perspective, everything depends on your local jurisdiction. India’s laws give individual states the autonomy to introduce their gambling regulations.

In certain ways, the poker situation in India is similar to what German and American players currently experience, however, we won’t take the analogy too far. On the federal level, Indian laws are quite dated and are so open to interpretation as to make them practically irrelevant.

History of Online Poker in India

Due to the largely unregulated nature of its gambling market, India doesn’t have a history of online poker. The nation’s poker scene is simply doing what every other gambling community did when faced with a similar situation: it disregards unclear regulations and simply enjoys the game.

As is almost always the case, authorities aren’t interested in going after individual players, especially if they use VPNs to connect to their favourite sites.

It would be inappropriate for us to tell you whether you should follow in their footsteps. However, we can state with a fair degree of certainty that the risk involved is very small.

India’s Online Poker Laws

The most important legal document pertaining about real-money gaming in India is the federal Public Gambling Act of 1867, which makes it illegal for anyone to run a public gaming house or even to be present in an establishment of this sort. However, this law applies exclusively to games of chance. There are two legal precedents which indicate poker is generally considered a game of skill in India.

The first precedent was the Rummy game. The court decided, even though the card game involves an element of chance, the skill of players has significant impact on the outcome. The second, more important precedent was set following a raid on a poker club.

The Madras High Court handled the case. It ruled the skill element was more important than the luck of the draw, thus clearing everyone involved of any charges. Another important document is the Information Technology Act of 2000, which makes a distinction between casino games and card games.

All of this sounds like good news. Nevertheless, the truth is there’s nothing to stop other Indian courts from ignoring these precedents and assuming a different point of view, especially if it would be more in line with their local regulations.

What is or is Not Legal in India?

Due to the reasons outlined above, ascertaining the legal status of online poker sites in most Indian states is nearly impossible. In most cases, the country’s legislative and judicial branches haven’t tackled the issue yet. The only states that don’t match this picture are Goa and Sikkim.

Goa is a fairly gambling-friendly place, at least by Indian standards. It hosts several land-based casinos. Plus, local regulations openly permit gambling as long as it’s limited to “electronic amusement.” One could question whether online poker falls into this category, but most experts seem to agree online poker enthusiasts have little to worry about.

Then, Sikkim stands as the only Indian state with clear-cut online poker regulations and licensed online poker rooms. The largest of those rooms even has its roster of sponsored players. It also has a solid selection of games, which include some exotic, India-specific poker variants, such as Crazy Pineapple and Lazy Pineapple.

The minimum legal gambling age in India is 18.

India and Poker-related taxes

Despite the dubious legal status of online poker in India, most experts agree if playing for real money is indeed legal, players have to pay a 30 percent income tax on all winnings above 10,000 rupees. Unlike gambling-specific laws, tax regulations are uniform across the country.

On October 1st, 2023 the GST council of the government of India has levied a 28 percent tax on player deposits in real money games. This had a significant impact on the growth of online this booming sector hereon. The additional tax percentage levied on the online gaming companies has increased the tax burden to around 350-400% resulting in prominent figures in this industry laying off up to 50% of their employees in the face of such headwinds.

Platforms to Play Online Poker in India


This is the biggest name in the online poker world, and for good reason. The average traffic dwarfs that of other sites on the market, usually surpassing combined users from all other West-facing competitors. It offers not only cash games, tournaments, and live events, but also a sense of community.

If we had to nitpick, PokerStars sure could work on its customer support. It should at least raise that service to the excellent level of welcome bonuses and recurring promotions offered on the site.

Hold’em aside, PokerStars is one of the few Indian Poker sites where you’ll get some consistent Omaha poker action instead of an exercise in frustration resulting small player pools. The site also gives access to a solid lineup of MTTs and SNGs with unmatched prize pools.

This giant operator hosts local sites for Nevada, New Jersey, Italy, Portugal, and France.


Based in Gibraltar, 888 poker was launched in 2002. It established itself on the iGaming scene, thanks to solid cash games and high-quality software. The site gives access to the best no-deposit bonus on the market.

Its games are significantly softer than PokerStars’. Unlike all other top-tier poker platforms, 888poker supports browser-based play. This makes its tables easy to access from a smartphone.

888 is pretty solid when it comes to No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker, but if you pick any other poker variant, you’ll quickly realize why people go to PokerStars for Omaha and Stud. On a brighter note, 888’s MTT lineup is pretty solid. Please note this company has separate player pools for Spain and New Jersey.


Welcome to India’s biggest online poker hub. PokerBaazi delivers top-notch gameplay with the widest range of poker tournaments and cash games that caters to both beginners and seasoned players. With an active player base of over 35 LAC, there’s no dearth of action on the PokerBaazi app.

The online poker platform hosts India’s greatest tournaments with unseen guarantees that players can bet their skills on. Not to mention, the Indian poker giant recently introduced exciting new variants of Poker such as Super Hold’em, All-In or Fold and FAST format. Go, try for yourself!

Banking Methods in India

Unlike Europeans and Americans, Indians tend to rely on credit card payments to fund their poker accounts. In Sikkim, other popular options include Net Banking and Pay By Cash. When requesting withdrawals, Indian players can choose between a standard wire transfer and a check by mail.

Generally speaking, Sikkim-licensed sites don’t accept e-wallet payments and won’t allow you to cash out via Neteller or Skrill. This will undoubtedly be disappointing for any poker fan accustomed to playing in the West.

Where Can I Play Live Poker in India?

There are nine land-based casinos located in India. All of them call Goa and Sikkim home, but only four offer live poker.

Goa StateSikkim State
Casino Pride Panaj (six poker tables)Casino Pride 2 (eight poker tables)
Casino SikkimCasino Mahjong

It’s also worth noting that the state of Daman is preparing to introduce new gambling-friendly legislation, but it is currently impossible to predict whether this will result in local poker rooms opening up anytime soon.

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