If there’s a sign that poker in India is gaining momentum it’s the recent news that interest in a card-focused business course is increasing.
During a recent interview with Indian online poker site 9Stacks, Professor Deepak Dhayanithy said numbers for the Competitive Strategy: The Game of Poker (CSP) course are improving.
From an initial batch of 60 during the first year, more than 200 students now enroll every year.
Game Changing Poker Course
The business course has been taught by Dhayanithy at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode for six years. During that time, he’s seen attitudes towards the game change significantly.
Although he said around 20 percent of students on the course still feel poker is “taboo,” it’s more socially acceptable than ever.
In fact, as well as attendance figures on the whole improving, more women are joining CSP. According to Dhayanithy, the ratio of men-to-women is almost 50/50 and the latter are just “as competitive” as the former when it comes to tournaments hosted as part of the course.
Although CSP isn’t intended to be a masterclass on how to play poker, it uses the game to teach important business principles. However, for its founder, it also has an important role to play in the future of poker in India.
In his opinion, the intellectualization of poker will destigmatize it. By producing “well-spoken, free-thinking, intelligent” graduates, CSP proves that poker isn’t a game based on pure luck.
More Positives for Poker in India
This isn’t the first time an academic institution has used poker as an educational tool. MIT has offered a course on poker and analytics since 2015, while students at the University of Ottawa can enroll on Probability and Games of Chance (Poker 101).
However, CSP is the first of its kind in India. Given the current state of poker in India, news of its increased popularity could have a knock-on effect.
Despite regions such as Nagaland taking positive action with regards to regulation, some states have been less proactive. In Kerala, the state where CSP is taught, multiple hearings on the legality of poker have been delayed, meaning it’s still classed a form of gambling.
But, while poker in India may have a long way to go until its fully accepted, innovations such as CSP are clearly helping. What’s more, Dhayanithy is confident poker can help to produce the next generation of successful entrepreneurs in India.