Poker is becoming a huge industry in India, with players across the country flocking to play the game at both online and land-based venues. To take advantage of this boom, PokerStars is working on expanding its profile with a new campaign starring Bollywood legend Nawazuddin Siddiqi and it has work splendidly so far, resulting in tripled traffic.
Is Nawaz Bluffing?
As part of appointing Siddiqi a brand ambassador, PokerStars has launched a series of three commercials starring the actor.
In each spot, Nawaz is placed in different scenarios, such as analyzing other people’s behavior in a café and trying to use a poker chip as real currency. It’s up to the viewer to figure out whether he’s bluffing.
Check one of them out:
Nawaz is has been active in the Indian film scene since 1999, but his breakout role came in 2007 when he played Asgar Mukadam in the award winning Black Friday film which documented the 1993 bombing in Mumbai. He has been in over 50 movies, making him a household name among Bollywood fans.
A 200% Jump in Traffic
As a direct result of the marketing campaign, PokerStars has seen a 200% jump in traffic. In the first week of the campaign, traffic spiked by nearly 50%. By the end of the month, the site saw a peak of 137 concurrent players, which was triple the number of players who were active on the site four weeks earlier.
With one of Bollywood’s most beloved actors on their side, PokerStars is sure to draw even more players in. These types of marketing campaigns do an excellent job of building brand awareness, and this particular push will increase the exposure of online poker overall among Indian residents.
The Rise of Online Poker in India
The Indian online poker market continues to grow, and we’re seeing operators engage players in a whole new way. For example, the Match Indian Poker League teamed up with MTV to find the country’s next poker star in its Pro Hunt series.
India-facing poker site 9Stacks even released a rap video by Dependent Artists called Hustle Hai.
I’d definitely recommend giving the song a listen. Even though it’s not in English, you can recognize that these guys have flow – and, they do a great job of depicting the excitement of the poker world.
While there are no laws in place to regulate online poker across India, that hasn’t stopped major brands like PokerStars from operating in the country. Law enforcement aren’t particularly interested in policing the online gaming market, so operators are free to launch large marketing campaigns and players aren’t really worried about their favorite sites exiting the market.
There is room for plenty more growth in India’s online poker industry, and I can’t wait to see where it’s headed in the future. Currently, there are three Indian poker players with over $1 million in tournament winnings on Hendon Mob and there is sure to be more representation of Indian players at prestigious events like the WSOP and WPT in the coming years.