Aditya Wadhwani is one of India’s top poker personalities. Currently, the commentator, producer and poker player is the subject of a new Netflix show called ‘The Big Day’. The show premiered on Netflix last week. It follows six couples ahead of their “big day” and charts the ups and downs of planning a wedding.
Although Aditya isn’t renowned worldwide like some of the top poker commentators, he is quite well known in the Indian poker fraternity and his appearance on ‘The Big Day’ has got people talking about more than his wedding. Adtiya Wadhwani and his now wife, Gayeti Singh are one of the featured couples in the show. The story shows how they met back in 2012 at a concert and have been together ever since!
We also get to hear how Wadhwani dropped out of university and went on to pursue a career in poker! Such a story would raise eyebrows in most places on Earth but doing it in India is quite remarkable. Poker as a game has been growing in prominence over the last 4-5 years and peaked especially in 2020 when online poker took pace. Still, the game is seriously misunderstood by the general population. Poker is in a weird spot in the country right now due to a lack of knowledge as well as being outlawed in some parts of the country! Even on Twitter, people have remarked Wadhwani on his career. A former journalist turned pop culture writer from India, Aparna, said she wasn’t even aware that people could play poker for a living! Wadhwani confirmed that it’s possible, and directed her to some helpful resources.
Aditya Wadhwani’s appearance on this show doesn’t only improve his profile but also could be a major coup for India’s poker industry! All the PR efforts from the last 5-6 years have been about promoting the game as a skill based sport and not just gambling. This is partly to help regulatory efforts in states where the gambling is illegal!
The idea of skill in poker also plays in India’s culture. As an emerging and developing country (EDC), India has long pushed the values of education and entrepreneurialism. By portraying poker as an intellectual endeavour and not just a game of chance, and aligning it with the likes of sport such as chess and cricket, operators have been tapping into these cultural norms. Wadhwani’s appearance on The Big Day should add further weight to the idea that poker can be a viable career option.
The implication is certainly there, even if the claim isn’t being made explicitly! Hopefully, this will truly help develop Poker in India as something that is not only throwing money away and lucking out to win. But something which requires more.