As India’s first female professional poker player, Muskan Sethi is a force to be reckoned with. The current responsible gaming ambassador for one of the world’s largest online poker portals – PokerStars India, Muskan believes the game is far from a gamble.
With PokerStars India recently onboarding cricketing legend and ex-captain MS Dhoni as the face of the brand, Muskan discusses how Dhoni is such a natural fit to the platform. “Dhoni represents all the characteristics that one needs to be a good poker player. All the qualities of MS Dhoni on the field that have been appreciated by people through the course of his career, those same qualities apply in the world of poker. Fans of Dhoni already have a crash course in what it takes to be a poker player.”
Introduced to poker by her father, Muskan started playing poker through Zenga Poker on Facebook and was later introduced to PokerStars India, when her boyfriend helped her make an account on the platform. “I started by playing with ‘play money’ and before I knew it, I was in Vegas playing with pros on TV.” While Muskan goes on to discuss the many challenges and restrictions in India, playing cards in the country has been always seen as a recreational activity more than a professional one. “In the western countries, if you have poker on your CV, you are most likely to be selected by big hedge funds groups or get a top job at Wall Street, but in India, it’s looked upon as an ordinary card game.”
As the responsible gaming ambassador, Muskan looks at safety as priority when engaging in the sport. “PokerStars India has many guidelines and tools to help our players keep a fair game and to play responsibly, it uses one of the best software in the world to be able to detect cheating or irresponsible play.” Beyond this, PokerStars uses an independently verified random number generator to produce a shuffle that is completely random, and that favors no player over any other. “The methods we use ensure complete randomization of cards, and complete unpredictability of the cards to come. Our random number generator is one of the most advanced in the industry.
Taking this one step further, Muskan discussed the PokerStars School, a free online training site offered by the brand at various levels to improve one’s game. Available in many local languages, the training site also has a live training feature – PokerStars Twitch which enables players to watch other poker players play live. The features showcase their whole cards along with discussing the thought process behind every hand. “Take each topic and lesson one by one, you cannot master all the concepts over night or even in one month. Give yourself time to apply what you theorize, dissect your mistakes and then you move on. Find the right course or coach for yourself and take it seriously. Join poker groups or discord channels created by aspiring poker players. That way you will find likeminded people and more guidance.” says Muskan.
When asked what it takes to be a pro, Muskan simply says “To be able to see the same situation from every possible angle and decipher it with an open mind. Apart from the technical skills and love for the game, poker players must have patience, discipline and persistence that will take them a long way.”