Panaji : Young India is gaming with a vengeance. An addictive combination of aggressive social networking and advanced mobile technology is taking card gaming in India to a different level, according to a top official of India’s biggest casino operation.
Gaming is catching up in India in a big way and the response to a three-day World Gaming Festival (WGF) hosted on board the casino vessel Casino Royale that ended Sunday was a sign of the times, said Narinder Punj, managing director, High Street Cruises and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which owns the ship.
“Gaming is upcoming in India and there was a clear demand for an event of this calibre,” said Punj, adding that the prize money of Rs.5 crore was up for grabs at the festival, in which 300-odd gamers competed against one another playing blackjack, American roulette, poker, baccarat and Indian flush, some of the most popular games in the casino.
“A lot of youngsters in India are gaming. ‘Texas HoldEm’ is one of the most popular game with the youngsters in India. Facebook has also made this game popular. You even have casino games on mobile phones now,” Punj said .
“Our average age for young gamers is around 26 years,” he said.
Texas HoldEm poker, also known as the Zynga poker, is a social game application that is immensely popular on social networking sites Facebook, Google+ and Myspace, among others.
Alfred Fernandes is a major Texas HoldEm poker aficionado and invariably looks to Facebook every day to fulfil his cravings. “You play with people you’ve never seen and, like with other card games, they always have an on the edge kind of feeling,” Fernandes said.
For Shantanu Garud, another avid gambler, the swirl of a roulette table is seductive. “The odds are at 36 to one. It’s like an addiction. I keep playing it game after game”.
A. Rosario doesn’t think playing rummy or poker has everything to do with luck. He thinks there’s a large degree of skill involved. And that stimulates him to gun for the game.
“Although all card games involve a good measure of luck, poker, like rummy, entices you because of the intellect involved in judging the probability of striking a winning combination with every hand dealt,” Rosario said.
“It’s certainly a mind game rather than a luck game. That’s what makes it enticing. If on a given day luck does not favour you, your mind can help cut the losses. And if you are lucky, you might multiply your gains,” he added.
The WGF hosted gamers from across the country, mainly from major towns like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Chandigarh, with the highest number of gamers coming in from India’s commercial capital of Mumbai.