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Ramesh Rao Thotapalli is the New Poker Room Operator at Casino Pride 1

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  • Arpit Jain March 20, 2021
  • 2 Minutes Read

2021 has brought with it better prospects for live poker. Another positive development in this direction is news of poker operator Ramesh Rao Thotapalli taking over the Casino Pride 1 poker room in Goa. Thotapalli is an experienced poker event organizer who has run cash game festivals in Kolkata and Sikkim. Even though he’s been active in the poker circuit for over a decade, this will be his first time running a poker room.

Speaking to us about his latest venture, Thotapalli said, “I have been hosting a lot of cash game events in Kolkata and Gangtok in the last 1-2 years, and I always wanted to host a cash game event in Goa. By sheer chance, an opportunity came knocking on my door, where people associated with the Pride 1 poker room reached out to me. They wanted to revive the poker room, which had become almost non-existing.”

Thotapalli enjoys a strong connection in the poker community and is well-known for starting the “fun and meme” Facebook group “India Poker Bakchods.” It’s not all fun for Thotapalli, who knows more than a thing or two about the game, having recently won the DPTXpress Main Event title for a personal best ₹12.04 Lakhs.

This new collaboration between the Pride Group and Thotapalli will make the Pride 1 poker room the fifth active poker venue operating out of a floating casino vessel on the Mandovi. The Pride Group runs the Baazi Poker Room onboard the bigger Majestic Casino Pride vessel. The Deltin Royale (Adda52 LIVE), Deltin JAQK, and Big Daddy Casino (Spartan LIVE) house the other popular live poker venues in Goa.

Thotapalli will have to leverage his networking skills and connect among players to revive the poker room’s fortunes, especially considering such fierce competition in this space. The good news is that Thotapalli has the Delhi-based former commodity trader and experienced cash game operator, Gopesh Mehta, as his partner in this new venture.

Piyush Choudhary and Juvas Rawal are his other partners in the poker room.

The poker room’s soft launch under the new management took place on March 19, and Thotapalli informed us that over 20 players were in attendance. A decent turnout, considering the Majestic Pride was hosting the “Battle on Ship 2021” boxing event that day.

The Pride 1 poker room has a long and cherished legacy. Touching upon the subject, Thotapalli said,” Pride was the first casino I ever stepped into my life, and I played my first hand there, back in the day when Maddy (Madhav Gupta) used to run the games. I went to the room, saw the space, and I just wanted to be here.”

Hinting that his focus would be on reviving the smaller buy-in cash game tables in Goa, Thotapalli added, “Pride poker room is where it all started, and the legend is finally back. Essentially, we want to bring the good old days back. We will be the first poker room to host and revive the 10K buy-in games (both Holdem and Omaha).”


Pride 1 Poker Room – A Cherished Legacy

The Pride 1 poker room holds the distinction of being the first live poker room onboard a floating casino in Goa. Under industry-veteran Jim Ramm, the poker room pioneered poker tournaments with the IPRT series. Later, the poker room hosted larger tournaments like the India Poker Championship (IPC) and even the PokerGuru Tour (PGT).

The poker room was rebranded as the Sol Poker room in 2011, with Sachin Pawa, Gurpreet Bakshi, and Madhav’ Maddy’ Gupta taking charge of the poker room. Gupta eventually bought out his partners, renaming the poker room to the Pride Poker Room.

The poker room operations eventually moved to the bigger Casino Pride 2, recently renamed the Majestic Pride, with PokerBaazi taking over the poker room management.


Pride 1 Poker Room – Immediate Plans

The resurgence of live poker in Goa has opened up lucrative opportunities for poker room operators, and Thotapalli is keen to capitalize on them. Sharing his immediate plans for the poker room, he said: “We plan to host at least 4-5 tables regularly and will host two cash game events every month. In the first half of every month, we will host a high-stakes fest with 25k/50K/100K buy-ins tables. In the second half, we plan to host the smaller stakes cash game events, i.e., 10K and 25K buy-ins.”

Understanding that to compete in this space will require innovative marketing, Thotapalli has an extravagant cash game festival planned from March 26 – April 4. The focus will be on games across stakes with even the ₹10K buy-in tables running. And to get outstation players to attend the cash game fest, the poker room is offering complimentary flight tickets and accommodation to all players. Underlining the offer, Thotapalli said: “We don’t have any requirement of a minimum deposit or a minimum number of hours played for this promotion of the cash game fest. It’s a no-strings-attached affair.”

Thotapalli is keen on streaming high-stakes poker action from the poker room. Elaborating on his plans, Thotapalli said, “the immediate next thing that we plan to do is that for the first time in India, we are going to live stream high stakes cash games every week similar to High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. These will be informative streams which will be beneficial for the community in the long run.”

On his plans for hosting poker tournaments at the poker room, Thotapalli added, “We plan to host a signature tourney series which will be a limited entry format. Details for the same will be announced shortly. This will be very unique, and I am sure that nothing like this has been experienced in the country to-date.”

All inquiries related to the upcoming cash game festival and other Pride 1 poker room promotions can be directed at +91 9553819000

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