Poker Sports League moves to new "virtual" format

Jon Pill
Posted on: October 26, 2020 15:45 PDT

The Poker Sports League is hot off the success of their Virtual Poker League charity event. They're using that success to push forward with converting their flagship series to an online format.

Mr. Amit Burman, a promoter for the P.S.L., said, “We started Poker Sports League with the aim to sportify the game of poker. And the kind of response that we received for the last two seasons was overwhelming. [...] It gives me immense pleasure to present our flagship Poker Sports League in its new virtual avatar.”

The league will start with 21 events. Players can play 6 of these events to get points in the league. The top 50 players will then be put into a draft.

Each of the 8 teams will have to pick two players from the draft. Every team is also required to have at least one female player. With 10 players in total.

Once the teams form, the real competition begins. This will be a series of STT and MTT tournaments in which players can win a portion of the prize pool for personal success. There will also be additional rupees on the line for the best team results.

Test run

The P.S.L. ran for two successful seasons at live venues in India since 2017.

But with mass lockdowns across India — and poker being a high-risk activity in a pandemic — the P.S.L. looked at adjusting to online play. They have one advantage over many tournament runners. They already owned a proprietary poker client: Hashtag Poker. With some tweaks, they were able to use this to produce a satisfying format.

The format uses a digital table with each seat getting a video feed of the player as an avatar. With everyone’s mics plugged into the same switchboard, the result was online play with the banter and table talk of a live game.

To test the software out, P.S.L. launched a charity “exhibition event.” The Virtual Poker League brought together six teams of five players each. The teams duked it out for the right to assign the ratios of the prize pool to three charities.

They were able to test the software out on a series of six player SNG tourneys and a 30-player MTT. The broadcasts hit YouTube with some success. More important than the viewing figures, the tech worked. The footage was usable. Everyone’s video worked. And the editors were able to combine the studio footage, live play, and commentators (one of whom was calling in from the UK) without any jarring technical issues.

Mission accomplished.

Poker Sports League – virtual edition

Off the back of this success came the announcement of an all-digital season three of the P.S.L.

CEO and Co-Founder of Poker Sports League, Mr. Pranav Bagai told reporters, “With the commendable response we received for the exhibition tournament — The Virtual Poker League, we are positive for increased participation for P.S.L.-V. The format of the league is virtual and planned over 21 days. It will automatically give more time to the players, unlike the usual 5-day format. [...] Absolutely anybody who knows the basics of poker can play a series of online poker games to secure a spot in this India wide poker league.”

The P.S.L. is aiming at the broader gaming market. Putting poker in with other “mind games” like chess and go. Whether or not that works, the new series should make for some good poker TV once the episodes start hitting YouTube.

Featured image source: Twitter