PokerStars Signs Muskan Sethi as Latest Ambassador
Sethi, who hails from the country's capital of New Delhi, can be expected to play a major role as PokerStars charts a new course in India. The global online poker leader has long operated there with players pooled in its main dotcom population, but recently announced a major change to a fenced-in market teaming with a local partner.
"It makes it a memorable time to be a poker player in India," PokerStars' Stephen Bartley wrote. "Sethi will be at the forefront of that."
Along with longtime Team Pro Aditya Agarwal, Sethi will likely serve as the face of the new PokerStars India.
Sethi has only about $50,000 in recorded live cashes, but hers is a name that's been growing in prominence in the poker world in recent months.
First, she was announced as one of the faces of nascent GPL India as the captain of a squad called the Delhi Diehards.
While that appeared not to gain any traction as the project looks to be on ice, more exposure followed when it was announced she'd be honored by India's president as one of 100 women achieving success in typically male-dominated fields. That honor was bestowed in January.
The 27-year-old said her journey to finding poker, which included graduating from the London School of Fashion, was a winding one but she's happy to finally be established in an industry she loves.
"I didn't get any satisfaction in the corporate or fashion world so I started helping my mom with her social work," she said. "Then I found online poker. I felt like I finally found something special."
She began playing on PokerStars in 2014 and qualified for the Sharkcage show. She has booked cashes across the globe in the intervening years as she more fully immersed herself in poker, firing everything from small dailies to $1,500 World Series of Poker events.
Online, she's accumulated about $115K in cashes according to PocketFives.
Now, she's wearing a patch for the biggest name in online poker.
"It's all been like a dream coming true," she said.
A Place in the Changing Roster
This year has been one of massive turnover in the PokerStars ambassador ranks. While established names such as Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst have departed, a new crop of players who often double as content creators or mainstream ambassadors has replaced them.
While the exit of prominent Brazilian Felipe Ramos may have indicated otherwise, it seems PokerStars still has a place for the localized face of poker in a burgeoning market.
With a population of more than 1.3 billion that remains largely untapped, India could be one of the most profitable frontiers for poker operators despite recent legal rulings that may hamper growth in some jurisdictions. Sethi and Agarwal will have a prominent role to play as PokerStars transitions to its new plan of a fenced-in market and competes with established local sites, of which there are around a half dozen.
According to Nick Jones of Poker Industry PRO, the new localized market launched Monday, a day before originally scheduled. The site is apparently spreading games at incredibly small microstakes, indicating that building up the business to scale is going to take some time and the building of awareness at a grassroots level.
PokerStars has tabbed Sethi as one of those best positioned and best able to try to usher in a poker boom in the world's second-largest country.
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