Mumbai (AFP) - India is to get the world's first professional "match poker" league, organisers said Thursday, as the card game follows in the footsteps of the hugely popular Indian Premier League.
Cricket's IPL spawned a host of similar leagues in the country featuring city-based teams, such as football's Indian Super League and the Pro Kabaddi League.
The International Federation of Poker (IFP), the game's governing body, said in a statement on Thursday that the "Match Indian Poker League" would take place over a weekend in September.
The league will see seven teams representing the cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Goa will also have a team, according to the press release.
The sides will be owned by "leading figures in Indian business and entertainment", the statement added, and will see players seek to accumulate points for their team based on the number of chips they win.
Match poker is a type of team poker based on the Texas Hold'em format. It is played on digital devices to reduce the element of luck caused by the random dealing of cards in traditional poker.
IFP president Patrick Nally told AFP that India was the first country to get the league but said he hoped it would be rolled out to others soon, with planning for leagues in Italy and Spain at an advanced stage.
No players will be buying in, as that would constitute gambling which is widely banned in India, but the competitors will be able to win prize money just as they can in other sporting tournaments.