With the influx of online poker applications and websites, the global multi-billion-dollar industry is seeing rapid growth in the Indian diaspora. The sport saw a surge in its user base during the lockdown, thus acting as a driving force in the increased popularity of the online gaming market in 2020. The reason is the emerging ecosystem that rewards both the online platforms and the users. Yet, many people continue to question the legitimacy of the game and the security that online poker platforms offer.
We spoke to Mr Amin Rozani, Group CEO, Quadrific Media Pvt. Ltd. about the safe and secure environment of Spartan Poker, India's #1 online poker platform, its success mantra, responsible gaming, and the right way to put your skepticism to rest. Below are a few excerpts from the interview.
Q: Other than the comfort level, what are the key differences between playing offline and online poker?
The physicality of playing poker live lends one of the most important differences. From being able to hold cards and the act of putting chips out to bet, call or raise to having the opportunity of seeing your opponent's reactions and tells to discern if they have good holdings or if it's an outright bluff, this is the very essence of playing live poker.
Q: What are the terms and conditions a novice online poker player should readily know before starting?
The game of poker can be greatly mitigated by bettering your skills over time and constantly studying or analysing your game. Like any sport, the more knowledge you seek and absorb and put into practice, the better player you become. In the short term, anything is possible, however, the better-skilled players will always be winning ones over the long run. So, play within your means and practise disciplined bankroll management to be a profitable player in the long term.
Q: How do you justify the safety and trust of online poker players via your platform?
Spartan Poker acts as a bank for players' funds and so every precaution is taken to ensure that nothing puts those funds at risk. They also partner with trustworthy and renowned payment gateways that have robust systems at their end to ensure that all monetary transactions are managed correctly and there is a system of checks and balances to protect from an untoward happening.
Q: What is the legality of online poker in India and who regulates the online poker sites in India?
At the moment, save a few states like Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which explicitly disallow all forms of real money gaming, online poker is available to players in all other states. There is no specific government body that looks after online poker. However there are federations like the AIGF (All India Gaming Federation) and FIFS (Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports) that are industry bodies working closely with the government to ensure that the online gaming industry is in sync with them.
Q: Many people are skeptical about online poker games being rigged. How do you ensure fair play on your platform?
This is a common misconception about the game. Gaming platforms have nothing to gain from rigging games. Every brand is looking to grow its sport and its customer base. By participating in such unscrupulous behaviour, it will only serve to hurt the brand and the sport's image in the country, which no one wants. All platforms have something known as RNG or Random Number Generator which forms the crux of the gaming operation. This RNG is what ensures fair play, and our platform has its RNG certified by Australia's iTech Labs which is a globally renowned RNG certification authority.
Q: How long does it take for the deposits to show up in someone's bank account?
It is near-instantaneous in most cases. However, internet connectivity between the payment gateways, banks and the platform may occasionally pose a tiny delay. Never the less, the majority of transactions take less than 30 seconds on average to show the deposits in the player's account.
Q: What are the security features of Spartan Poker that helps it stand out from others in the market?
Aside from top-notch monitoring software which is scanning the system 24x7 for any potentially malicious activity, there are also resources like Cloudflare which are protecting the website. We do have a specific security team at the developer end which is tasked with platform protection. There is also a collusion monitoring team in our offices who keeps an eye on any suspicious player activity during gameplay, documentation or deposit/withdrawal matters.
Q: Can someone take home the existing amount won after quitting midway?
In cash games, yes! Here players can play with as much or as little as they like. They can play hundreds of hands or just play a couple and leave the table cashing out whatever they won or the remaining balance in case they've lost something. In tournaments, however, the format is slightly different so one cannot quit midway in a tournament as that goes on for a finite amount. Here players pool their buy-ins (or entry fee), and the winner is the one who has all the chips in the end. So, if one leaves a tournament midway, their chips will continue to be 'blinded out' till eventually there is none left and then the player is eliminated from the tournament.