There are very poker players living in India who are as well known as Raman Gujral, who is often referred to as the ‘grandfather of Indian poker’. That title has nothing to do with his age but more to do with the fact that Gujral has been playing poker for well over a decade and is highly regarded by his peers in India.
Poker Sports League
Gujral who is a part of the Poker Sports League (PSL) in India recently sat down with and shared his views on the current poker climate in India and how his poker career started out. The Hendon Mob lists Gujral’s career earnings at a little over $35,000 but the poker pro states that he has made thousands of dollars playing online poker when he was in the United States and also when he moved back to India.
Gujral studied at UCLA and was introduced to the game of poker in the middle of 1998. His day trading job required him to move to Las Vegas and since most of his fellow traders were poker players, Gujral decided to study the game by reading books on poker and also by visiting the casinos and watching the action unfold at the poker table. His induction into poker came more by accident than choice as he was fired from his job, which gave him a lot of time on his hands.
Early Days
He took up a part time match instructor job and invested the rest of his time playing online poker. Gujral recalls that his first deposit at an online poker site was $50 and from that small deposit, he ended up making $2,500 by the end of the month. He lost his job as a part time match instruction and that allowed him to fully concentrate on online poker and it resulted in him taking home nearly $3,500 the next month. Success at online poker encouraged Gujral to study the game more and become better at it.
He says he was soon making around $6,500 per month on a consistent basis and after a couple of years, he decided that it was time to move back to India. He once again took to playing online poker in India and preferred to play on the party poker and PokerStars websites. He was very active from 2007 to 2010 and liked playing sit and go tournaments. Gujral also decided to venture into live poker scene in India and although his choices were limited, he had great success playing cash games.
Gujral Disappears
Gujral states that while he had up and down moments playing cash games, his monthly average take home would be anywhere between $7,000 to $9,000. That is a lot of money when you live in India and it allowed him to save up quite a bit which would allow him to take a forced break from the game in 2013.
He disappeared from India’s poker scene for the next three years and states that it was essential for him to take a break as he was facing problems in his marriage and had to devote time to raising his young daughter. He also stopped playing online poker and openly admits that one of the reasons for his lack of interest in going back to play online poker was because online poker became a lot more competitive and his level of skill did not allow him to make the kind of money he was used to earning before.
India Poker Scene
Gujral is now a part of the Poker Sports League as he wants to promote the game and do his part in opening up the market for budding poker lovers and players. He believes that poker like chess is a mind game and should be considered a sport and not be labeled as gambling.
In a statement, Gujral said “There is a lot more interest in tournament poker now, which has grown by leaps and bounds. Earlier it was hardly worth it but now tournament poker has grown and prize pools are really big so it’s worth it now.”
The poker veteran states that although he is a part of the PSL, he hasn’t yet made a decision to return to poker full time and might consider going off the grid yet again once the PSL is over.

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