India has a rich history when it comes to gambling. From ancient times to the present day, gambling has been a part of Indian culture and entertainment. The laws regarding gambling in India can be complex and vary from state to state. While some states like Daman, Goa, and Sikkim permit most forms of gambling, others allow only lotteries and betting on horse racing. With the advent of online gambling, Indians have also embraced playing at offshore casino sites. This article takes a closer look at the famous gamblers of India, both past and present, and explores their achievements and contributions to the world of gambling.
Murkha Nayanar: The Oldest Known Gambler in India
One of the earliest known examples of a gambler in India is Murkha Nayanar. He was one of the 63 Nayanars, who were dedicated to the worship of Shiva from the 6th to 8th centuries. While other Nayanars served Shiva as holy men or poets, Murkha showed his devotion through gambling. Traveling across India, he would stop at gambling houses and gamble to feed his flock of Tirukkudanthai devotees. He believed his winnings to be the Lord’s grace, blurring the lines between religion and gaming.
Abhinav Iyer: The World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner
Abhinav Iyer made history as the first Indian-born player to win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. In 2019, he emerged victorious at The Closer event, marking the most successful year in his poker career. This achievement not only showcased Iyer’s exceptional skills but also brought recognition to Indian players in the international poker scene. His triumph at the WSOP served as a testament to the growing prominence of Indian gamblers in the global arena.
Raj Babbar: From Film Star to Gambling Enthusiast
Raj Babbar, a renowned film star and politician, is also known for his gambling exploits. While he may be more famous for his on-screen performances, Babbar has shown a penchant for gambling at private events. Often seen at the gambling tables, he embraces the thrill and excitement that comes with games of chance. Babbar’s love for gambling adds another dimension to his multifaceted persona and showcases the diverse interests of Indian celebrities.
Vivek Rajkumar: A Face Familiar on the Poker Circuit
Vivek Rajkumar has established himself as a familiar face on the poker circuit. With a string of successes under his belt, Rajkumar has proven his skills in both live tournaments and online gaming. One of his notable victories came at the World Poker Tour Bogota Poker Open Main Event in 2008, where he walked away with a staggering around ₹12 crore. Rajkumar’s passion for poker extends beyond the tables, as he is also an avid fan of sports betting and gaming in general.
Arjun Rampal: An Actor with a Knack for Gambling
Arjun Rampal, a prominent actor, has not only made a name for himself in the film industry but also has a professional association with gambling sites. Rampal’s appreciation for the technicalities of horse and sports betting has been well-documented. His interest in gambling goes beyond mere entertainment, as he delves into the intricacies of betting and explores different strategies. Rampal’s involvement in the gambling world showcases the convergence of the entertainment industry and the world of betting.
Nipon Java: A Professional Poker Player from India
Nipon Java has carved a niche for himself as a professional poker player and one of the most famous gamblers in India. While primarily focused on live tournaments, Java has achieved significant success in recent years. In 2017, he made history by winning the 48th WSOP ₹80,000 Tag Team event in partnership with Aditya Sushant. Java’s dedication to the game and his consistent performance on the poker circuit have propelled him into the spotlight as one of India’s top gamblers.
Aditya Agarwal: From Engineering to Poker
Aditya Agarwal’s journey from engineering to poker exemplifies the allure of the game. Initially drawn to poker through televised tournaments, Agarwal decided to pursue a career in the game. His engineering degree took a backseat as he dedicated himself to mastering the art of poker. Agarwal’s perseverance paid off, as he now holds the title of the fourth-highest winning Indian poker player. Today, he shares his passion for poker with others and aims to spread the joy of playing the game.
Raghav Bansal: From Football Fan to Professional Poker Player
Raghav Bansal, a passionate fan of AC Milan, had the option to pursue a career in football. However, he chose a different path, one that led him to professional poker. Bansal’s decision to make a living from playing poker has proven to be a wise one. He has established himself as a steady performer and has become a well-known figure on the poker circuit. In 2015, Bansal made history by becoming the first Indian player to secure a place at the final table of a WSOP event, further cementing his reputation as a skilled gambler.
Sikandar Kher: An Actor with a Flair for Poker
Sikandar Kher, an actor known for his roles in Bollywood, also possesses a passion for playing poker. He has participated in various poker tournaments, showcasing his skills at the table. In the 2012 Ultimate Gambling Challenge Tournament Series, Kher secured a place at the final table on three separate occasions, demonstrating his talent and strategic thinking. Kher’s involvement in poker adds an interesting dimension to his career as an actor, highlighting the diverse interests of Indian celebrities.
Jitendra: The Bollywood Star Who Hosts Card Parties
Jitendra, a prominent Bollywood actor, is not only famous for his on-screen performances but also for his enthusiasm for gambling. He regularly hosts card parties at his home, where big names from the film industry, along with Jitendra’s family and close friends, gather to enjoy games of chance. These themed parties have become a common occurrence, showcasing Jitendra’s love for gambling and his desire to create a vibrant social environment. Jitendra’s card parties have become synonymous with entertainment and camaraderie among Bollywood’s elite.
The world of gambling in India is one filled with excitement, skill, and passion. From historic figures like Murkha Nayanar to modern-day gamblers like Raj Babbar and Arjun Rampal, Indian gamblers have left their mark on the industry. The achievements of players like Abhinav Iyer, Vivek Rajkumar, and Nipon Java have brought recognition to Indian talent on the international stage. Aditya Agarwal, Raghav Bansal, Sikandar Kher, and Jitendra have added their unique flair to the gambling scene, showcasing the diverse interests and talents of Indian celebrities. As the Indian gambling industry continues to evolve, these famous gamblers serve as a testament to its growth and potential for the future.