With over 460 million internet users, India is the second largest online market, ranked only behind China. However, by the end of 2022, there will be more than 635 million internet users in the country. With this huge market, every e-business is expected to grow in the next three to five years. And online poker will not be far behind. Online poker industry in India has witnessed a rapid growth for the past five years.
This huge opportunity ahead led Mrinal Dev Bajaj and Prashray Rai to start Uma Poker, an online platform for real money poker in India. Uma Poker provides exciting ring game opportunities for NLH, MIX and PLO poker games as well as small field big guaranteed tournaments to all its users online through their website, android app and windows app.
Mrinal and Prashray started their journey through surveys and perks before going live. Their analysis and experiments helped them understand that there was a niche audience for small field tournaments who like to play for leisure. These kinds of audiences are not necessarily amateurs or pros but super-enthusiasts.
Uma Poker resonates with this audience. The startup focused on targeting this group of users by launching their first series UMA Prime Time, which was a testament to the fact. Uma Poker aims to conduct some of the most interesting and biggest small field tournaments in the country and as frequently as possible.
When asked about the most challenging part in their journey, Mrinal says, “I would say the most challenging part is to build our technology for a diverse audience with 100’s of devices and 100’s of browsers, we have found chasing bugs more nights and weekends than we would have liked.”
Prashray is looking forward to improving the existing technology and innovate some new tech experience that would allow all the players to experience a unique flavour of poker across all devices and platforms.
Prashray says, “I think the most important thing is to have diversity in all teams of the company. We try to make our hiring decision in a unique 3 round interview mostly testing if the candidate is a cultural fit; so far we don’t have anyone over 27 working.”
In August this year, Uma Poker launched an INR 1 lakh GTD Sweepstakes tournament, which is an INR 1,100 tournament taking place daily at 7 PM. Simultaneously, the startup launched the daily Fish Pool tournament that allows the players to participate in INR 10,000 GTD prize pool by paying INR 275 at 12:30 PM every day. So, get moving.
A typical tournament at Uma Poker lasts for 3-4 hours which is the sweet spot for time spent during a day playing poker tournaments for many users. Uma Poker focuses on utilizing their existing affiliate network to gather data about the target audience, their likes and dislikes and constantly evolve the product to meet customer expectations.
Startups like Uma Poker tries to focus on to develop a safe poker experience for Indian consumers. The startup has partnered with Hendonmob, a company that provides real-time data to track where it stands in comparison to the world. Uma Poker has been awarded an RNG (Random Number Generation) certificate which guarantees a fair play. Uma Poker is here to change the game by providing lowest rakes and highest referral bonuses.
The state of online poker market in India is robust and improving year on year. In 2017, the Indian gaming Industry’s market value was about USD 290 million, with over 120 million online gamers, as per a study by KPMG in India and Google published in May 2017. The estimated value of the online poker space in India is about INR 700 crores.