We all miss live poker, don’t we? Yes of course we do. The buzzing energy of a live poker set-up, meeting up with your poker pals and the bustling vibes. Most importantly, the aim to win big in live poker is something every poker pro has in mind. There is no denying that poker pros are eagerly waiting for live poker to make a comeback since it took a sabbatical due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns. Players now want to step out and feel the vibe and energy of a live poker room.
We have good news for you. What’s that? Yes, we are coming to that. Elite Poker Tournament (EPT), one of the new and upcoming live poker brands in the country, will be organising a live poker tournament very soon. We know this news sounds like music to your ears because it did to ours. The hope and joy to make it big in live poker has been mingling in every poker pros mind. So, now is the time for you to pull your sock up and get started with live poker and say a big thank you to EPT.
We also spoke to EPT’s founders, Rahul Khanna and Hardeep Singh to get some inside scoop on what’s happening when it comes to their live poker tournament, the safety measures and what they expect when it comes to player participation, since, it has been a considerable time since players had to step away from live poker.
Excerpts from the interview…
1. What was the idea behind launching EPT?
The idea behind EPT was to create a brand for exclusive highroller poker tournaments in India which we feel is missing in the country. EPT will serve as a platform to get affluent businessmen and professional poker players under one roof.
2. Live poker went on a sabbatical due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown. What safety measures are you taking to ensure players’ safety?
At our venue, we have already taken steps to upgrade our cleaning measures like constant sanitizing of high-touch points, educating staff on coronavirus, and precautionary measures for themselves and others, improved security, disinfecting surfaces. An isolation room will be made available in case someone shows symptoms at the venue. Game hosts, dealers and staff at the venue will be vaccinated. And players will have to submit a mandatory RT-PCR report within 72 hours of their travel.
3. What kind of response are you expecting from the players with respect to participation?
We are not looking for hundreds of players for our event. As this is a high-value elite event, our target is to get a maximum of 50 participants. Our USP is to balance the pool with an equal number (or most likely more than 50%) of recreational players vs the regs. We personally have a 25-30 player quorum who are recreational players/businessmen who will play the tourneys. So just 25 players more, and we are good to go!
4. What is your marketing strategy for EPT considering online events are going full steam?
We plan to use social media marketing. Everyone relies on digital media for information and entertainment and that is where famous digital poker news platforms like Gutshot Magazine come in handy. We will also have live coverage of the event.
5. How does it feel to be the brand which is hosting live poker tournaments in the country post the COVID-19 lockdown era?
It feels exciting (and nervous at the same time) to be hosting an event after lockdown. We are very confident and proud of our venue and can guarantee that the players will love the setup and vibe of the place. People do need a break from staying at home all these months and live poker, in a new luxurious set-up will definitely get players moving!
Rahul Khanna, 34, has been an entrepreneur from a very young age. He has a business of retail footwear showrooms in Kolkata for the last 10 years.
Hardeep Singh, 35, an MBA graduate, has over 8 years of professional work experience in one of India’s top IT firms. Childhood friends, born and raised in Kolkata, are currently the owners of Club Fenicia (Kolkata), Asia’s largest luxury lounge, and also have other entrepreneurial ventures up their sleeve, EPT being the newest addition.
Both Khanna and Singh have been playing poker on different online platforms, friendly house games as well as in casinos. They have hosted a couple of small low stake tournaments for local players at their venue and have always enjoyed doing that, and now are thrilled to take this to the next level!
With all the insights shared above, we bet you can’t wait to see what EPT has to offer in terms of live poker. The fascinating world of live poker is all set to return and hopefully with a bang. Expect thunders, lightning and hail storms when top-notch poker pros sit down to grind in high-value tournaments with an aim to grab truckloads of cash.
With a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication, Mrinal Gujare currently is cruising through an exciting genre of writing and editing at Gutshot Magazine. Apart from being an Editor, Mrinal is an avid reader and a former contemporary dancer. She is also perennially hungry for intriguing scoops from across the globe. No holds barred is the rule Mrinal follows in life.
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