India’s poker scene has become a lot more lively in the last few years as top poker operators like PokerStars and the World Poker Tour (WPT) have entered the market. This has resulted in premier tournaments with high guaranteed prize pools that have allowed Indian poker players to win tons of money and make a name for themselves.
The entry of premier poker operators into the Indian market has also forced domestic poker operators to up their game and this has worked out well for Indian poker players. Hundreds of Indian poker pros have not only managed to make a living playing poker full time but have also secured sponsorships with top poker operators and are now looking to promote poker across the country and encourage more Indians to pursue a career in poker.
We take a look at some of the top Indian poker players who are making a name for themselves. These poker players have done well in both land based poker events as well as online poker events.
Nipun Java
For many years, Nipun Java was grinding it out as a part-time player but he stormed onto the scene after winning $450,000 through 2014. He took home $114,955 when he finished second place in a $1,600 event and then he won $226,785 at the WSOP Circuit Bicycle $1,675 Main Event. Java got into more four-figure buy-in events over the next couple of years and he did very well.
Things started getting better for him and 2017 made him even richer. A $237,688 win at the $1,000 WSOP Online Championship has further established his reputation as one of India’s best. He is currently ranked second on India’s all-time money list with his total earnings approaching $2.5 million.
Vivek Rajkumar
The youthful-looking Vivek Rajkumar hasn’t cashed since 2015 but he is still miles ahead of the competition on India’s all-time money list. Rajkumar racked up over half a million dollars playing online before winning a WPT crown and $1.4 million in prize money in 2008. A second place finish at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2011 netted him another $908,730 and he has won four other six-figure cash prizes.
On top of his love for poker, Vivek owns several horses that have earned him even more money. His total live poker earnings are estimated to be nearly $4.5 million which places him at 251st on the all-time money list.
Aditya Agarwal
Aditya is one of the more recognizable faces in Indian poker thanks to his long-standing sponsorship with PokerStars. His PokerStars’ Team Pro bio says that he has racked up over $4 million from online play. However, PocketFives claims that he has made $763,391. Whatever the case may be, Aditya is a heck of a player.
He has won over $1 million in live games which ranks 3rd on India’s all-time money list. He has done particularly well at the WSOP where he has finished in the money in 7 of the past 11 years.
Amit Jain
The biggest payday of Amit Jain’s live poker playing career was the $38,840 that he won in a high roller tournament in India. However, he has made a name for himself in the online poker world where he has won over $1.4 million. He matched his live winnings total in 2015 when he finished third in a $2,100 World Championship of Poker. That single win paid him $206,028.
Jain has not been playing as much in recent years as he seems more focused on growing the game in India. He currently sits 16th on India’s all-time money list.
Raghav Bansal
Since 2015, Raghav Bansal has hauled in just under $1 million in live poker earnings. Bansal made the final table at a $2,500 WSOP event and cashed out a little under $40,000 and he has gone on to cash in several more times at WSOP events. He got hot in 2017 with a $137,587 win at Macau Poker Cup 26 and then a $335,910 payday at PokerStars Championship High Roller. Bansal has also made over $400,000 playing online. He is ranked 4th overall on India’s all-time money list.
There are also a number of upcoming female poker players who have not had a massive payday but are still making a name for themselves by defying tradition and pursuing a male dominated game inspite of the cultural and social awkwardness surrounding women playing a card game in India.

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