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The PokerGuru Show: Episode 5 Ft. Nikita Luther, Rubin Labroo, Gokul Raj, Zarvan Tumboli & Ramesh Rao Thotapalli

The PokerGuru Show Ep5 Cover
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  • Namita Ghosh November 19, 2020
  • 3 Minutes Read

We’re back with another episode of “The PokerGuru Show.” This time, we got talking to five accomplished poker players and industry components on a central theme, India Poker Championship’s inaugural ₹8 Crores GTD Final Table Series, aka FTS that is currently running on Spartan Poker.

Joining us for this special episode was a star-studded lineup of guests:

> India’s first-ever and to date only female WSOP bracelet champion, Spartan Poker Team Pro Nikita Luther

> 2020 India Poker Champion and Spartan Poker-sponsored pro, Rubin Labroo

> PokerGuru Ambassador and former IOPC HR champion Gokul Raj

> Former Millionaire champion and IPC side event winner Zarvan Tumboli

> Founder of India Poker Bakchods and FTS Commentator Ramesh Rao Thotapalli

So what does this group have in common? Each of them is a poker celeb in their own right, with a common ground. They are either associated with Spartan Poker or have all won recognition and acclaim at the country’s biggest live tournament stage IPC or its online version, the IOPC.

The brand-new Final Table Series has an excellently designed set of tournaments. Still, its biggest USP is that this is one of the first online series, where six featured events are to be live-streamed across multiple platforms, cards-up! To know more about the series, click here.

As we have established, the FTS is the overarching topic of conversation for this episode. However, the panel also delves into other equally relevant issues related to the poker industry today, such as the impact of COVID-19, MTT structures, poker’s growth trajectory in India, and the game’s legal challenges.

They also talk about how the domestic industry has evolved over the years, the present state of India’s poker ecosystem, and what can be done to make it better. Sounds like serious stuff? But with this thoroughly fun-loving group talking, no conversation can be boring!

Adding to flavor to this exciting episode was PokerGuru’s very own Arpit Jain, who donned the host’s cap for the very first time!

Watch the complete episode below.

Here’s a quick recap & timeline of the episode highlights

5:13 – Host Arpit Jain introduces the guests

6.25 – Luther talks about the launch of the Final Table Series (FTS); she points out that all global brands have gone online

7.33 – Luther talks about having celebrity poker pros like Maria Ho, Kevin McPhee will be commentating on the live-stream

7.53 – Labroo pitches in with his views on why streaming of the FT is an excellent idea

8:31 – Tumboli adds that if events are streamed, players are motivated to play better

9:18 – Thotapalli says post-pandemic this is the way forward

9.38 – Raj feels streaming the FT is suitable for recreational players and for the industry as upcoming players get to learn

10:45: Thotapalli talks about what spectators can expect from the international commentators and the domestic flagbearers -him and Radhika Shankar. He says people can expect a lot of knowledge and memes to be shared

11:55 – Raj, Tumboli, Labroo talk on the FTS initiate and how it will help poker grow

14:00 – Thotapalli gives his view on the star-studded commentary team at the FTS

14:50: Luther highlights that it will be interesting to see internationally accomplished poker superstars getting involved at the FTS to offer in-depth analysis for the Indian audience

17:30: The group talks about how online traffic spiked during the lockdown

20:03 – Thotapalli says that sites are working hard to retain players – he was confident that the games will grow bigger in future

20:33 – Labroo says that online sites can’t keep guarantees high all the time. The idea is for poker to grow over time

20:56 – Tumboli agrees, saying that the approach should be gradual

21:10 – Luther remember how she played a lot in the first two months and had a burnout, but the spike in traffic has been a learning

22:08 – Thotapalli, Raj, Labroo, and Tumboli talk about where they think is poker’s current growth trajectory. Tumboli said more people joining the game has been good

24:20 – Raj points out that an adverse development has been the ban by several state governments on poker and other real-money games

24:55: Luther underlines how many players are approaching the game professionally now, with a lot of effort to study and improve

27:04 – Thotapalli said that the big brands should initiate a dialogue with the government to deal with the increasing ban on real-money games. Labroo felt that corporates and sportsmen should endorse the game

30:52 – The group discusses ways that poker can be promoted in tier-2 and tier-3 cities

34:12 – Thotapalli and Labroo stress that fair gaming and responsible gaming are the most critical issues plaguing the domestic sector and underline the need for a federation to supervise this. Luther observed instead of blaming operators for loopholes, they should understand the measures operators place to protect players

43:08 – All of them agreed that the rake structures are pretty bad, and the high taxes continue to be a back-breaker. Raj stressed that security measures and user interface need improvement

45:56 – Luther says FTS will be exciting with the live-streams

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