PokerStars India and Junglee Poker merge India player pools

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: March 06, 2024 23:31 PST

(Author's note: This article has been updated from its original version.)

PokerStars today has merged the player pools in India of PokerStars and another online poker brand owned by Stars corporate parent Flutter Entertainment, Junglee Poker. Though completed with little fanfare, the merger of the two India-only sites had been in the works for some time.

India-based pro Nikhil Segel, who is also on PokerOrg's Player Advisory Board, was among many players who logged on to PokerStars India today to discover things had radically changed. All player accounts had been transferred into updated client software, meaning the PokerStars India existing software gaming client had been put into cold storage, while the new client operates as a Junglee Poker skin, on software created by Junglee Games.

New client operable but 'work in progress'

Segel explored the surprising development in communications with PokerStars and other prominent members of India's poker community, and he provided an update with the results of his fact-finding mission:

"UPDATE @pokerstars @PokerStarsIN @pokerorg:

"All the panic since AM so managed to have a chat with a connect at the top of the Junglee / Stars (Flutter Ent) thing. So providing an update here:

"A) PokerStars India has a merged player pool with Junglee Poker (India). This should provide more traction to Stars. The skin is meah but under development and hopefully should be at par with the best in the world in the next 6-12 months.

"B) Rake is unchanged except there will be pre flop rake in 3 bet pots which is Fuck all but it is there for now.

"C) Following the GG lead the new app has a tech stack that will go the no HUD / in app stats methodology. Again great for recreational players and should be a leveler. Though I love a HUD

"D) UI issues are a work in progress so all we can do is wait for updates that make it better. Bet Slider/ Multi Table visibility / Other niggles are being addressed and some should come up in the next update.

"E) STARS feature events WCOOP / Sunday Millions / Winter Series etc. are in the pipe line and should be part of the mid to long term strategy

"F) RB is being reintroduced as are deposit bonuses etc. So again its wait and watch.

"G) An area of disagreement was pushing log in and other details to the player pool. They insist they did I insist I never got any and comms could have been better on this. So Agree to Disagree.

"H) I think its a wait and watch for now. Will they provide the gaming experience that Stars is famous for while growing the pool with Junglee's Rummy driven player pool. I can only say wait and watch. 20 BB Buy in is criminal but hell they insist it provides traction."

Reason behind sudden player-pool merger not disclosed

PokerStars India's transition to the new software client also involved several hours of downtime and reports of difficulties with the process:

PokerStars India also gave no explanation for the reason behind the move, which had been Segel's very first question. "Are we still part of the PokerStars Global family?" he had asked. That question was answered indirectly in Segel's follow-up, which noted, "PokerStars India has a merged player pool with Junglee Poker (India)."

The other part of that revelation is that Junglee Poker is indeed India-only, as all sites serving the country are supposed to be. India-based players had been removed from Stars' international dot-com platform, so they never were part of the "global" platform. The response Segel received clarified that point. (This paragraph has been corrected from its initial version.)

India's existence as a firewalled online-poker country has also come into the news recently. Whether online poker itself is legal in India has been ruled upon on a state-by-state basis, but one thing India's federal laws have been interpreted to mean is that the country's gamblers can never compete against players from other countries, even if the issue has not been tested in an India federal case.

That has also caused some recent realignment of rival GGPoker's presence in India, where an India-based news site accused GGPoker India of accepting real-money players from other nations, which GGPoker India has denied.