India's Poker Sports League

Up until Sunday, it had been just a rumor that had yet to come to fruition. After featuring its draft for the 12 teams that complete the league, India’s Poker Sports League has gone from just a gossip to preparing for its first ever season.

At the Playboy Club in Delhi, the 12 franchises that feature in the league met to choose players for their respective teams. The squads, randomly picking numbers, arranged themselves from the first pick to the final one. Then, utilizing a “snake” draft, each team chose first their pro player from a pool. The next pool was allotted for players who had made it for the draft from live play and players who had qualified for the league via online play.

What was perhaps the most unique thing about the Poker Sports League is, from the beginning, there are individual owners for each of the franchises that are major businessmen from India. The following are the 12 owners of the teams and the businesses they own:

Chennai Bulls – Girish Mathrubootham (Co-founder, FreshDesk)Bengaluru Jokers – Kunal Shah (Co-founder, FreeCharge)Delhi Panthers – Rishi Kajaria (Kajaria Ceramics); Ruchirans Jaipuria (Jaipuria Group); Abhishek Jain (Leela Jewels); Gaurav Goel (Dhampur Sugar)Gujrat Acers – Harish Bahl and Manish Vij (Smile Group); Mukesh Agarwal (VITWO LLP)

Goan Nuts – Gaurav Mohan (Eventwala)Haryana Hunters – Amrish Rau and Jitendra Gupta (Co-founder, Citrus Payments)Hyderabad Kings – Amit Shah, Karan Bhagat and Yatin Shah (IIFL-Wealth)Punjab Bluffers – Aditya Munjal (Hero Cycles Group); Arjun Jain (White Fox); Shiva Vig (Anika Kaharia (Kajaria Ceramics); Sachin Goel

Mumbai Anchors – Mehul Shah (Anchor Electrical)Kolkata Royals – Ankkit Bhadur (Playboy North);; Taarun V. Jain (Legend Group)

Pune Sharks – Rishabh Jhunjhunwala (Bhilwara Group); Shamit Kehmka (Synapse India); Chetan Rajasthan Tilters – Purrshottam Bhaggeria (Filatex Group)


The Poker Sports League states their mission statement is “to promote the tournament aspect of poker in India and to provide every poker enthusiast an opportunity to play for the pride of winning and to promote responsible poker.” For the first segment of the statement – promoting tournament poker – it seems that the Poker Sports League is making revolutionary inroads. As to how far it will go in the other aspects, only time will tell.