12 franchises battle it out at Poker Sports League player auctions

The 12 franchises for India’s first ever Poker Sports League picked their players to complete their teams for the maiden season of the league. Held at the Playboy Club in Delhi on 6 May 2017, the first ever auction of Poker players in India saw 12 franchises battle it out for India’s finest poker players.


Poker Sports League is the brainchild of Amit Burman (Vice Chairman, Dabur India Ltd) who has partnered with Anuj Gupta (Co-Founder, India’s largest online Poker website for the league. Spearheaded by Pranav Bagai, (Co-Founder and CEO) and Nikita Luther, (COO), the league aims to sportify the game and provide every poker enthusiast an opportunity to play for the pride of winning.

The 12 franchises followed the Snake Draft process that allowed team owners to take turns in selecting players. The process was divided into there rounds. The first for the PRO DRAFT, second for the LIVE DRAFT and the third for the ONLINE DRAFT. In each round the owners picked a number from 1-12 from a bowl. This number determned the order in which the team selected the players. The first pick was from the teams PRE DEFINED region (North, South, East & West) and the order started from 1-12. The second pick was from any region and the order started as 12-1. The second round and third round followed the same process.

A total of 133 Poker players went under the hammer for the 12 teams in the first-of-a-kind auction. Swedha Singh began the bidding proceedings by making clear the rules of the process. What followed next was a test of business skills and a fight between the franchises to pick the players of their choice. The team owners cautiously and sensibly ensured they had competitive squads going into the competition.

Each team picked up 4 players at the auction (2 live qualifiers + 2 online qualifiers) to complete their team of 9 players which included 1 mentor, 2 PRO players and 2 wild card entries.

The bidding event also saw the wildcard players being announced by team owners. These included renowned names from the National and International circuit. The wild card entries included Calvin Lee and Dong Kyo Kim for Bengaluru Jokers, Nitin Jain and Jagdeep Singh for Chennai Bulls; Dhruv Patel and Erik Riise for Delhi Panthers; Thomas Ward and Bryna Huang for Goan Nuts; Henrik Tollefsen and Raman Gujral for Gujarat Acers; Tomi Brouk and Samul Vousden for Haryana Hunters; Sam Razavi and Shilpa Bhagat for KINGS Hyderabad; J W Prodigy and Harshvardhan Kapoor for Kolkata Royals; Abhishek Rathod and Danish Shaikh for Mumbai Anchors; Arjun Pasricha and Rishabh Jhunjhunwala for Pune Sharks; Akira Ohyama and Vedant Thadani for Punjab Bluffers and Muskan Sethi and Patrick Leonard for Rajasthan Tilters.

The much anticipated season of the Poker Sports League (PSL) will kick off on May 22 with a two-day boot camp on May 22 and 23 followed by the finale of the league at the Deltin Casino Royale, Goa from May 24-28.

The 12 teams will consist of a total of 108 players who will play for the prize money of INR 3.36 crore and one of the teams will be crowned as the Best Poker Team in India.

The other sponsors for the league includes BIRA, John Jacobs, Real active and Jet airways.

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