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Poker players and enthusiasts can now add a new destination to their offline poker map in the country. The Indian Poker Association (IPA) is starting a new poker room at the Holiday Home Hotel, Ranchi in Jharkhand in conjunction with its affiliate – East India Poker Association.
Coinciding with the country’s 71st Independence Day, the poker room will open its doors on August 15 with the first-ever Ranchi Poker Championship 2018 slated to begin its inaugural run at 2 pm.
The announcement was made by IPA secretary KN Suresh and the East India Poker Association on social media. Suresh informed PokerGuru that IPA and East India Poker Association had written to the Director General of Police (DGP) of Jharkhand about their intention of starting a poker room, and the authorities had not raised any objection so far.
“The DGP has responded to our request for NOC to play skill card game of poker by intimating the jurisdiction police vide their letter that IPA is inaugurating the Jharkhand Chapter at holiday home and that the activities in the association premises will be covered by CCTV.”Suresh said.
“We play 3 tables. We will host tournaments as and when the community seeks for more! Come play poker at IPA with MSD at the Holiday Home, Ranchi this Independence day & declare your Independence!”Suresh added in a conversation with PokerGuru.
Spearheaded by Suresh, the IPA has been a legal crusader for poker in India and instrumental in exploring and reaching out to new markets in the domestic circuit. After throwing their anchor first in Bengaluru around 10 years back, writ petitions were filed by Suresh at the Calcutta and Karnataka High Courts, based on which the IPA currently runs poker rooms in both Bengaluru and Kolkata.
The Association had major plans to begin live poker operations in Delhi at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Paschim Vihar but had to shut down owing to legal issues. In a bid to add Gujarat to its roster, the IPA has been pursuing a legal clearance from the Gujarat High Court since the past few years.
In 2017, the IPA announced its expansion to Ahmedabad with three new poker clubs in the city, two under the brand name ‘VIP Premiere Lounge’ and another under the name ‘Quads@IPA’. However, IPA’s ambitious plans ran into a legal confrontation with the city police commissioner who rejected and refused permission for poker to be played on the ground that it amounts to gambling.
Though IPA’s petition in the High Court was turned down in December 2017 by a single judge who ruled that “Poker is a game of chance and does not involve a substantial degree of skill”, an appeal on the said judgment is pending before the division bench of the High Court that will now hear the matter next on September 11.
In context to these legal roadblocks, the DGP Jharkhand’s positive response on the IPA’s latest venture in Ranchi has come as a shot in the arm for the Association who has long been site hunting to introduce poker as a sport in legal and safe venues across the country.