PokerGuru Heads-Up Feature: PokerBaazi CEO Navkiran Singh On The Record-Breaking ‘The MoneyMaker’, Working With An In-House Poker Client & More
October 11, 2017, 10:39:43
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The backbone and back-end of the poker industry often remains unseen but they are the passionate folks who are busy making game changing moves through their constant efforts to take the mind sport to the next level in the country.

They surely deserve the spotlight and for the right reasons. One such individual constantly upping the standard of the game in the country by giving players the best of promotions and opportunities is PokerBaazi’s founder and CEO Navkiran Singh (cover image).

Much has been spoken and written about the historic ₹1 Crore GTD “The MoneyMaker” event that shattered all previous turnout records and created a new benchmark for online tournaments in the country. All in all, the event attracted 800 unique entries and 413 re-entries to award a mammoth ₹1.21 crore in prize money!

But, every victory has a story ridden with struggles and hiccups behind it.

Even for ‘The MoneyMaker’ it was not all smooth sailing as the unprecedented spurt in registrations caused some last-minute panic in the PokerBaazi camp with the organizers scrambling to increase the unique entry cap from 750 players to 800 players. Eventually, the event had to be re-scheduled and players were re-allotted tickets, which led to a lot of confusion among poker players. Here is where the PokerBaazi support team stepped up by handling the situation perfectly and ensured that all player complaints and queries were resolved timely.

As expected, the registrations continued at break-neck speed and within an hour of play the 800-entry cap for the event for hit resulting in many players missing out on the action. The PokerBaazi team did what it does best and ensured all affected players were compensated generously.

Singh featured in our PokerGuru Industry Talk feature last year when he was celebrating PokerBaazi’s second anniversary and today he shares his plans for the next MoneyMaker event. In another bare it all interview, Singh shares the hiccups in hosting ‘The MoneyMaker’ event, challenges working with an in-house developed poker platform and his views on the various poker leagues introduced in the country. Here are the excerpts -


Hi Navkiran and congratulations on the success of ‘The MoneyMaker’. Tournaments on domestic sites are fast picking up pace with the prize pool steadily moving north. We have been noticing a substantial shift in traffic from international sites to domestic ones. What are your views on the same?

If I ask someone where would you play, then ‘where I can win big’ is a sure shot answer. The Indian poker field is growing at a rapid pace. The action on Indian sites is quite soft as compared to international websites. You can legally and conveniently withdraw money to your bank, without any transaction fee.

At PokerBaazi, there have been huge giveaways. We have done some of the biggest promotions this year, and there are a lot of deposit offers available all the time. On top of this, we have the Baazi VIP Store, where players can exchange their Baazi Coins for a lot of valuable stuff like Bankroll, tournament tickets, mobiles, gadgets, etc.

The good thing about all this is that people have been appreciative of what we have been doing and this is a morale booster to work hard and surpass the big international names soon.


Tell us how the idea for “The MoneyMaker” came about?

Well, this is an interesting one! I was sitting with a few Baazigars. One of them randomly expressed what if some foreign client comes up with a ₹1 Crore GTD tournament, people will go buck. Like they say ‘best decisions are taken in a flash’! 😉

I was prompt to decide that PokerBaazi will do it. And moreover, it is in sync with our other promotions. You see the PokerBaazi Premier League has been doing well and the latest season had a ₹60 Lac GTD Main Event. So, I was confident that way.

It’s the passion that drives us more than money, the passion of taking poker in India to greater heights. I kept the default cap of 800 entrants for ‘The MoneyMaker’ and surely didn’t expect more than that. But seeing the humungous response, the next one will definitely be bigger.

With the inaugural MoneyMaker becoming a smashing hit, what are your plans for the next MoneyMaker?

The MoneyMaker is a game changer. The ₹1 crore figure in itself is huge. The participation was huge. The whole team was up till the event got over to make sure everything goes smoothly. Everybody was excited too. Looking at the numbers that night, I couldn’t resist from announcing the second edition.

We will be working as a unit to make The MoneyMaker bigger and bigger. You will see at least 100 more new players in the next one. Like the PPL, The MoneyMaker will keep getting bigger, one edition after another.

The event faced its fair share of issues. Tell us about the challenges and how your team handled it.

There was a little hiccup in the start. Seeing the last moment crowd, we decided to up the cap a little from 750 earlier to 800. But I am so proud of my team as they were quick to restart it.

By the way this restart wasn’t just a one click. We had to allot tickets of the new event to nearly 600 entrants of the previous one. It was all done in no time and proper communication was sent to all the players.

PokerBaazi compensated all affected players. Tell us about that.

What is most important to me is the player experience and satisfaction. I can never let a player suffer, be it a player of 1/2 stakes or 500/100. Because of the rescheduling, we did give away a big amount.

This is all for the goodwill. We restarted very soon but still decided to give ₹10,000 to 25,000 as per the chip counts in the initial event. PokerBaazi is a site for the people and Baazigars are always the top priority.


What is your future plans for PokerBaazi. Is the idea of a long-term collaboration with existing or new operators to increase the company valuation on the agenda?

The current focus is to better the client, to make it an Indian client which our players are proud to boast off. We do have plans, but you will have to wait and there will be surprises.

PokerBaazi has an in-house client. Tell us about the advantages and challenges of working with an in-house client.

This is a really good question. See it’s easier to buy a client. Developing it from scratch is a task! You want everything in house because then you can control a lot of things, you can keep working on the security, certifications and other aspects of the software that are very important.

It’s no doubt difficult to build and is expensive too as the overheads are high. But there is a silver lining. First, it’s an Indian made client and it’s always going to be a proud feeling. Second, it’s customizable. I put in a lot of my energy along with my team into this. Keeping the player needs and the trends in mind, we can bring out new features as and when we like.

This is where I would like to thank all Baazigars because without their support, we wouldn’t have reached where we stand today. They should all be equally proud of this since they have contributed the most towards it.

What are your views on the various Poker Leagues announced in the country?

My view is simple. Anything and everything that can help expand poker in the country is good for everyone. For the players as well as operators. Poker Sports League (PSL) was a good event as it was first of its kind in India. Raj Kundra’s Match IPL is starting soon. And there was a recent launch of the GPL India. It makes poker more lucrative and brings in the glory factor too.

Where do you see PokerBaazi five years down the line?

To be honest, at the current growth rate, I see us matching any international client. The kind of effort by the tech team in the last six months has been phenomenal.

With more and more grand events like The MoneyMaker, India’s most trusted site will be second to none. That’s the plan.

Any parting words or anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank my whole team for we have been able to set clean and transparent processes. As a result, we have been able to set high standards for other operators too. To all Baazigars I would say keep loving and supporting us.

I also thank PokerGuru for doing a good job in covering the happenings in the Indian poker circuit. Good luck!

Navkiran signs off!

Related Articles:

1. PokerGuru Industry Talk: Navkiran Singh - The Man Behind PokerBaazi on How “A Captain is Only as Good as His Team”

2. PokerGuru Heads-Up Feature: PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal Talks About His Association with GPL India, His Summer Grind in Las Vegas, PokerStars India & More

3. PokerGuru Heads-Up Feature: In Conversation With CEO Alexander Dreyfus Who Talks to Us About The Inaugural GPL India League & Future Plans

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