Poker has never been a popular game in India but in the last few years all that has changed. The growth of online poker across the world has resulted in a younger demographic in India showing interest in learning and playing the game.
Women in India are rather conservative due to social and religious restrictions which meant that very few women have shown an interesting in playing poker which is still widely considered as gambling as it is based on luck.
Pratibha Arya is looking to change that image by making a big splash in the Indian poker market and by doing so she is also inspiring women in India to consider playing poker whether it is online or at live events.
Who is Pratibha Arya?
What was once a taboo in India is slowly turning into a promising career for some Indian female pkoer players who are out to prove that the game of poker is not confined to any specific gender, territory or nationality.
A fresh face in the Indian women poker achievers’ list is a Computer Science Master’s Degree holder from Delhi. Pratibha Arya completed her college education as a scholar from a top educational institution in the country. The 25-year-old did not find it difficult to finish on top of her class, displayed a number of talents at her young age and one of them was performing as a street jazz dancer.
Poker Journey
Pratibha started taking an interest in poker while she was still studying, back in 2015. A friend who plays high stakes poker introduced the game to her and she soon found out it wasn’t a game based on luck but a mind sport that required learning and skill.
After she finished her Master’s Degree, she was hired by a top multi-national-company but she decided to take a different path and pursue a full-time career in poker. Since then, she has become a consistent figure in many local tournaments, starting at the micro stakes, losing and gaining, but most of all, learning and not quitting.
Her hobby became her passion. In the last three years, Pratibha has taken big strides towards becoming a professional poker player. She admits that she spends 9 to 12 hours a day just to master the game and hone her skills. Her dedication towards taking the time to study the game, learning new tricks and poker strategies have paid off for her as she has become more consistent at cashing in at poker tournaments.
From Amateur to Pro
When the newest Artificial Intelligence computer bot “Deepstack” went out for trial, Pratibha was among those who were given the chance to play against the poker-playing robot at the Asian Nations Pair Challenge in Bangkok. The poker pro also represented India at the Poker Nations Cup in Oxford, as well as the IFMP Asian Nations Cup held in Bangkok.
Since her first ever tournament in Goa back in 2015, Pratibha has become active in the local circuit, taking part in several online tournaments. She’s a member of the team Mumbai All Stars which won the first ever Match IPL event. They then represented India at the Match Poker Nations Cup in December 2017 in the UK. During the second season of Match IPL, Pratibha was crowned “Player of the League”.
Pratibha now plays most of her online poker on the PokerBaazi platform. She took part in the historic “Game Changer” tournament hosted by the online poker room and claimed the 10th spot. Game Changer currently holds the record as the largest online poker tournament in India. It attracted a total of 3777 players from different parts of the country.
Pratibha is out to prove that poker is not a taboo. It is a sport that involves a lot of complex strategies and intricacies that requires tons of research and studying.
Inspiration To Young Women In India
Pratibha has been very outspoken in bringing clarity to the fact that poker cannot be considered a game of chance as no luck is involved in the game. Players instead need to have strong strategy skills, and should be able to get the hang of the game by constant practice and learning.
Young women in India are getting confident by the day of trying their hand at poker as they are realizing it isn’t gambling but a game of skill. Many young women will look to Pratibha as a role model when it comes to taking up a career as a full time female poker pro in India.

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