Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the world and surging cases in India, Dabur Group Chairman Amit Burman-promoted Poker Sports League (PSL) has cancelled its offline qualifier games that were scheduled to be held across New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata from 18th January to 5th April, 2020.
As digital games are unaffected by the pandemic, the online qualifiers of the league continue to be available on its app #HashtagPoker for iOS and Android. Seventy-two online events for qualification were to be held from 14th November, 2019 till 5th April, 2020. Each player can play a maximum of 18 online qualifiers.According to the organisers, participation in PSL Season 3 qualifiers has increased by almost 50 percent, as compared to Season 2.
At the onset of the event, Poker Sports League founder Amit Burman said, “In Season 1, there were two International players per team but for this season we have decided to go with all Indian players. India has about 40,000 professional players who are playing at home and globally as well. The level and skill of Indian players have increased exponentially and we are no longer dependent on their global counterparts for world class matches or a fantastic league. In fact, professional Indian poker players have mastered this game of skill so much that there is no need to incorporate international players into PSL. I can safely say that the level of skill within India is at par and at times also surpasses International players. The feat has not been achieved overnight, PSL had to toil for two long years to get people to understand the scope of this sport and nurture the players”.
Six teams with 12 players each are set to participate in Season 3 of PSL—Deccan Aces, Delhi Czars, Gujrat Falcons, Goan Nuts, Kolkata Kings, and Mumbai Anchors. Apart from the players, the captain/mentor of each team is chosen by the owner of the team. Seven players in each team are amateurs selected from online qualifiers and other events.
The original selection ceremony, where team owners and mentors choose players from various drafts, is scheduled for 30th April. However, in the wake of the spread of novel coronavirus, it is uncertain if the event will be held as planned.
The Boot Camp for the league, where players are given time to know their opponents and teams and work on their game, is scheduled from 17-18th May 2020.
The Grand Finale of Poker Sports League, Season 3 is scheduled from 19th-23rd May 2020 in Kolkata. The total prize pool of the league was announced at about 4 crore+, with the top four teams to earn prize money as per their ranks.
As per a report in AnimationXpress, Poker Sports League, PSL CEO architect and co-founder, Pranav Bagai, said, “We haven’t even started scratching the tip of the Poker iceberg in India. The league, through its risk-free format offers people to experience poker like never before. Poker is a game of pure skill and with The Poker Sports League we have made a wonderful headway in changing the preconceived perception of Poker as a game of skill versus a game of gambling. There are many players who qualified for Poker Sports League in previous seasons, got coached by the best players in India/world, realized their true potential and are now the top performing pros of India. It is a matter of pride for all of us at PSL.”
PSL’s aims to promote poker as a game of skill and strategy reflects in the league’s move to sign chess master Viswanathan Anand as its brand ambassador in 2017. It is understood that Anand will continue to be associated with PSL for this edition of the league.