Pocket52 - Providing Pure Poker Experience For True Grinders!

With the advent of online gaming, it apparently became one of the coolest and trending things in the last decade. And when it comes to poker, it is already a very interesting game and when the entrepreneurs took it online, it just added more charm to it. One set of such entrepreneurs are Nitesh Salvi, Saurav Suman, Debashish Bhattacharjee, Satyam Verma, Abhigya Sagar, who launched Pocket52 in the year 2018.

Pocket52 is an online esports online gaming network with its own online poker platform powered by an internationally-certified RNG (random number generator). Having built a cryptographically secured network integrated with an uncrackable RNG algorithm and a dedicated pool of players, it rents its internationally certified software to online poker operators who join the Pocket52 Network, a nexus for online poker operators sharing the player pool under a single shared network.

Poker on Pocket52 is a game of skill that offers Indian poker players a platform to showcase their skills, love and sports knowledge of poker. Poker players at Pocket52 can learn, develop and earn from various activities and score points based on their on-field performance and compete with other poker players to be a winner in every match to earn tangible financial gains. Pocket52 helps poker players increase their engagement and connect deeper with the game they love by being a learner, player and Pocket52 community evangelist at the same time.

Pocket52 aims to create a world where people play to make a life, not just a living. The goal here is to revolutionize online poker in India with cutting-edge technology and unparalleled customer service. And the vision is to become a leader at connecting people to skills games, where every gamer attains the right to educate, develop, participate and become a better human being.

Company Highlights

Startup Name Pocket52
Headquarter Bangalore
Sector Gaming, E-Sports
Founders Mr Nitesh Salvi (CEO), Saurav Suman (COO), Debashish Bhattacharjee (CMO), Satyam Verma (CTO), Abhigya Sagar (CSO)
Founded 2018
Parent Organization Nirdesa Networks Pvt. Ltd.
Website www.pocket52.com

Pocket52 - About and How it works
Pocket52 - USP and Innovation
Pocket52 - Target Market Size
Pocket52 - Founders and Team
How was Pocket52 Started?
Pocket52 - Name, Tagline and Logo
Pocket52 - Startup Launch
Pocket52 - Business Model and Revenue Model
Pocket52 - Startup Challenges
Pocket52 - Competitors
Pocket52 - Funding and Investors
Pocket52 - Advisors and Mentors
Pocket52 - Awards
Pocket52 - Future Plans

Pocket52 - About and How it works

The biggest issue that poker players have is trust (safety & security) while for online poker platforms it’s player liquidity. There are two crucial things about online poker which most Indian poker companies fail to understand. One is player liquidity and the other is growing a homegrown poker product which is not only safe but also secure for a worldwide audience.

Pocket52 is India’s first cryptographically secure RNG online poker platform as well as a poker network, a domestically shared omnichannel network for online poker platforms in India. Growing a stand-alone platform requires regular spending on marketing, branding, and engagement. Most platforms see poker as a marketing venture and launch their online poker platform without much understanding of player liquidity and how they plan to solve it. There is a good amount of funding required to create liquidity on the platform by organizing continuous tournaments and providing bonuses and cashback.

Pocket52 - USP and Innovation

Pocket52’s biggest USP is the Pocket52 Shared Network. Pocket52 is currently India’s first and only online poker network to offer a shared liquidity player pool that connects players from all across the subcontinent. The shared/omnichannel network will significantly boost marketing and revenue potential for online poker room operators. Pocket52 aims to redefine the gaming ecosystem of e-sports and online poker by bringing together all the poker players playing in different online poker platforms in India under a single network where the action is on all day, every day!


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Pocket52 - Target Market Size

In this age of the Internet, the online gaming industry has been on the rise more than any other sector. The online gaming industry in India has gone from strength to strength in 2019 and is expected to reach new heights with a jump of 40% CAGR to reach INR 71 billion by 2021.

This massive growth has been fuelled by many factors in the ecosystem like affordable smartphones and cheaper data plans. Also, higher disposable income and propensity to spend on new smartphones play a pivotal role in pushing this growth.

It is an INR 2100 Crore market for online real money gaming and is likely to grow threefold in the next 3 years. The Indian poker industry currently stands at INR 700 Crores and is looking to grow almost INR 1700 Crores in the next 3 years.

Pocket52 - Founders and Team

Pocket52 Team
Pocket52 Team
  • Nitesh Salvi: CEO & Co-Founder- Nitesh has a degree in B-Tech from IIT Bombay. And he is an entrepreneur by choice. Before Pocket52, he founded Plancess EduSolutions, which was India's first content provider by top 100 IIT rankers and AI-based assessment platform for exams like JEE, NEET & Foundation.
  • Saurav Suman: COO & Co-Founder - Like Nitesh, Saurav too has a degree in B-Tech from IIT Bombay. Before co-founding Pocket52, Saurav Business Development Manager at mydidi.in.
  • Debashish Bhattacharjee: CMO & Co-Founder- Debashish graduated out of Sikkim Manipal University. Pocket52 is not his first startup! Before this, he was the co-founder and director at LearnCue Edtech. Before that, he was a Vice President at Confirmtkt.
  • Satyam Verma: CTO & Co-Founder - Graduated from NIT Trichy, Satyam has been a senior software developer at Goibibo. Before that, he was an Application Developer at Oracle.

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How was Pocket52 Started?

All of this started when these founders were in college. Nitesh Salvi was doing his first start-up in his 4th year of IIT-Bombay and he was sure that this is what he wants to do and had always wanted to do. “Poker was very close to me and I saw potential in the business.” Says Nitesh.  

During his IIT Bombay days, he used to play a lot of poker in the hostel, spending countless nights perfecting his strategies. It was during that time that he was introduced to online poker. Nitesh explored every Indian poker website and engaged with various social media groups dedicated to online poker. His love for the game and the immense potential it held in the Indian market made him realize it was what he had always wanted to do.

Over time he realized that most of the Indian poker players were not satisfied with what Indian online poker had to offer. The major drawback he noticed was that most of the Indian poker companies ran on rented software and did not have control over their features like new releases and user experience.

So, somewhere in mid-2017, after his first venture (Plancess) was acquired, Nitesh decided to set foot in the gaming industry. He had registered the domain name for the new venture as early as 2016 and then he got his co-founders onboard.

For almost 2 years these co-founders looked at data, competitors' performance, what worked for them and whatnot before starting the processes at pocket52. Together, they began building the product in early 2018 and spent considerable time and resources in building this whale of a product which stands tall today. The aim was very clear – build nationally to serve globally. They were also very clear about the business model of Pocket52. Having spent over a year building the product from scratch, they aimed to make a foray into both B2C and B2B domains.


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Pocket52 - Logo and Tagline

Pocket52 derives its name from two different aspects of the poker:

  • Pocket cards are frequently called “hole cards.” Also, a pocket pair is a pair made purely by using hole-cards (like AA or 22).
  • A standard card contains 52 cards with four different suits.

Hence, Pocket52 was finalized!
The logo for Pocket52 also borrows its elements from the deck of cards that is used in poker (the number ‘52’ inside a ‘Spade’). The tagline “Build. Churn. Win.” simply means to build your game, churn your skills & win over yourself. It’s an allusion to the long grind that makes a good poker player. Most people think that poker is a game of chance, going as far as calling it a game of gamble, without actually being aware of the dedication and commitment required to excel at it.

Pocket52 - Startup Launch

Pocket52's Team in an event
Pocket52's Team in an event

Even though the company was conceptualized way back in 2016, it officially was launched on 13th December 2018. The team did not want to rush with what they were building and patiently took their time creating a platform that the poker players craved for. Only when they were sure that they had built something that was both stable and secure, the team decided to go ahead and introduce it to the Indian poker community through different channels, mainly social networking sites dedicated to poker. “The thunderous response we received at launch made us realize we were on the right track. We’ve never looked back since.” Said Nitesh.

The strategy at Pocket52 is simple: give the players what they want. Poker players need a stable platform that runs smoothly and one that can guarantee fair play. They also need other players to play with. Pocket52 Network solves all of the user’s troubles. Since the player pool is shared on the network, the tables are always packed with high action. And, the RNG algorithm at Pocket52, powered by lava lamps, ensures fair play by distributing the cards in an unpredictable, non-repeatable and uniformly distributed manner.

Pocket52 - Business Model and Revenue Model

Creating a poker platform that is stable and secure, along with getting enough players to run the tables is one of the biggest challenges that most online poker operators face. Having built a cryptographically secure network integrated with an uncrackable RNG algorithm and a dedicated pool of players, Pocket52 rents its internationally certified software to online poker operators who join the Pocket52 Network, a nexus for online poker operators sharing the player pool under a single shared network.


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Pocket52 - Startup Challenges

Pocket52 lost close to 30+ campaigns to acquire poker players with prizes spanning across 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs each over a year. One of the most brilliant mentors for the Pocket52 team were their customers whose active participation and feedback helped them to create and iterate campaigns based on what they wanted. One thing that the team understood was that it was imperative for them to build a really effective customer loyalty program and so they went on to introduce Pocket Vault which gives players up to 80% cashback on top of their winnings.

Also, as an aggressive initiator of responsible gaming and skills upliftment, Pocket52 also introduced mental coaching for Indian poker players. Having done over 9 free webinars on the Mental Game of Poker with international coaches, the overall response was beyond expected. To summarize, almost everything went like clockwork with the RNG solution creating trust among poker players and to sum it all its unique network module largely solves player liquidity at the core of any gaming action for aspiring domestic poker clients.


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Pocket52 - Competitors

In the online gaming industry, every entity starting from Pokerstars, Adda52, PokerBaazi, Spartan and many more are trying their level best to expand the ecosystem with a plethora of innovations is a competitor to Pocket52. Every poker platform is trying something different, coming up with new and more rewarding promotions, bigger tournaments and better deposit offers.

The key differentiator for Pocket52 would be Pocket52’s Network for sure, a one-stop solution for building an online poker platform in India! The omnichannel poker network is the prima-facie of Pocket52 and is outfitted with the top tier poker users, complete with customizable poker rooms offering various online poker variants like Texas Holdem Poker Online, Omaha, 5 Card PLO and so forth alongside a plethora of action-packed features.

Pocket52 - Funding and Investors

Pocket52 began building the product in early 2018 and we're already in touch with a slew of Angel Investors, VC funds and professional poker players. As of now, Pocket52 has raised over $600K in funds which was led by Speciale Invest Managing Partner Vishesh Ramrajan along with marquee poker players Abhigya Sagar, Former FMSCI President & National Competitive Racing Champion Vicky Chandhok, Mehul Agarwal COO & Co-Founder Cars 24, Vijay Jacob Director New Quest Partners and a slew of more astute entrepreneurs.


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Pocket52 - Advisors and Mentors

Abhigya Sagar, one of the co-founders. Abhigya is one of India’s top poker players and has always wanted to revolutionize poker in the Indian subcontinent. His inputs have helped Pocket52 attain new levels of success.

Pocket52 - Awards

Our RNG algorithm, powered by lava lamps, has been internationally certified by iTech Labs, Australia. This makes it impossible even for the brightest mind or machine to beat the maze of randomness at Pocket52.

Pocket52 - Future Plans

Pocket52 aims at positioning itself among India’s top online poker platforms in the upcoming two to three years by providing the best and safest gaming experience for the users, alongside building a diverse community of poker players.

“We are also looking to step into the international market within the next year by providing solutions through our B2B services. So, the upcoming 6 months are very crucial for us.” Concluded Nitesh, CEO & Cofounder, Pocket52
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About Vidhi Punamiya

  • Mumbai