PokerStars has been spicing up the poker terrain in India this week. On Monday, April 16, the brand officially named India’s Muskan Sethi as the newest member of the Team Pro. Sethi becomes the second player from India to sport the red spade with Aditya Agarwal signed on since 2015.
For those who may not recall, earlier this year, Sethi was one of 112 inspiring women in India honored as the “First Ladies” by President Ram Nath Kovind. Sethi was recognized for being the first Indian woman professional poker player in a male-dominated society.
As the newest PokerStars ambassador, Sethi stated in the announcement,
“For years I was struggling to find my calling. I didn’t get any satisfaction in the corporate or fashion world so I started helping my mom with her social work. Then I found online poker. I felt like I finally found something special!”
Signing on with PokerStars is a perfect fit for Sethi. Like many, she got her start in the vast cyberworld of the online gaming giant where she landed herself a life changing exclusive trip to Barcelona.
“I wanted to learn more so started watching some videos online. My journey started on PokerStars.com in 2014 when I qualified for the TV show called Shark Cage to compete against some of the biggest names in poker for $1 million dollars in Barcelona. Ever since then it’s all been like a dream coming true!”
Sethi is one of four PokerStars Team Pro women with 23 ambassadors in total. She will be joining the likes of high grossing players Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Igor Kurganov, Liv Boeree, and Jake Cody.
PokersStars.in is now live
Immediately following that announcement was another spice for the rack, the launch of PokerStars.in (PokerStars India). In partnership with gaming and lottery company Sachiko Gaming Private Limited, the new online client went live on Tuesday, April 17. This highly anticipated moment will now see players from India with their own exclusive PokerStars online platform.
With India as the second most populous country in the world, and poker a continuous growing appetite, PokerStars aims to reach players from all over the country with their high standards and generous offerings. To encourage early sign ups, PokerStars CEO, Ankur Dewani stated in his GLaws interview,
“As part of our launch celebration, we’re giving away Rs. 13 Lakhs in Freerolls, in addition, to over 70 Lakhs in guaranteed tournaments in the first five days itself! Players will have an opportunity to benefit from our first deposit bonus offers, one of which will be a match bonus of Rs. 30,000, i.e. a player can deposit any amount up to Rs. 30,000 and we’ll match that amount and add to their deposit as a bonus. I believe this is the biggest any Indian poker site, or gaming site for that matter, has ever offered here.”
One concern raised by many players though is the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) policy. In the past, poker in India had a momentary lull in growth with heavy taxes imposed on live tournament winnings. Today, players are well-accustomed to the tax practice and should find the same will be implemented in the new site. Dewani explained,
“There is a 30% tax on any winnings over Rs. 10,000 at the time of payment of such prizes, without provision for any deductions & or offsets…. To break it down a bit further, here’s an example:
– Let’s assume a player deposits 5000, from which he uses 2000 towards a tournament entry, and goes on to win 15,000 by the end of the session. Their balance is now 15,000 + 3000 (unused deposit).
– If the player were to request a withdrawal of their complete balance in form of a real money payment, we would deduct 30% on their winnings of Rs. 15,000 & refund their balance unused deposits as is.
Article by Tricia David