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Head to Goa for poker tournaments in India

Forget the cool Scandinavians, the next generation of superstars are going to come from the East. The growing clamour for poker tournaments in India is emerging from a nation with a massive population and a multiplying passion for poker.

Interest in poker in India was stirred up initially in 2004 when the World Poker Tour was broadcast to Indians on the Discovery Channel. Indians are great players of card games, and the complexity, drama and skill of the big international poker competitions held obvious appeal.

The game was also popularised by Indians who had studied or worked abroad and who brought a love of the game back home. It spread rapidly with impromptu cash games organised in metro stations and private houses.

Although there are still substantial issues with legality in some states that prevents poker from establishing a nationwide presence, the internet is bringing together poker players locally as well as from all over the country, and interest in live tournaments is rapidly growing.

The casinos in Goa are the venues for the major Indian tournament, the India Poker Series (www.indiapokerseries.com). The eighth India Poker series takes place in the Casino Royale in Goa in September 2011.

It's a Texas Hold 'Em tournament with the main event being a 15K Freeze-Out showdown on Saturday 10 September. It's still too early to talk about an Indian poker tour, but poker tournaments in India begin with the India Poker Series, and it will be interesting to follow developments in the future.

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