Tragedy shook the Indian online poker community: 39-year-old Krunal Mehta from the state of Gujarat in India committed suicide after losing RS780,000 on a poker site.
$110,000 Poker Losing Streak Ends in Suicide
Mehta frequently played tournaments on the Indian poker site PokerBaazi. He was working for an IT company. He often borrowed money from friends and family to be able to continue playing cards online.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) October 6, 2019
The losing rec’s corpse was found floating in a well last Thursday morning. His suicide note, as well as a bank statement his brother received from PokerBaazi, revealed a lot about his motives to end his life.
An official from the local police force summed it up as such:
“Our probe has revealed that he took the extreme step as he lost Rs 78 lakh while playing a poker game on his mobile phone. We have recovered a suicide note from his home in which he purportedly stated that he borrowed Rs 78 lakh from his friends and relatives to play ‘PokerBaazi’. Mehta worked in an IT company and would often borrow money to play poker in which he lost vast sums regularly. He had shared his bank account details on the mobile gaming app. After Mehta’s death, his brother received an e- mail with bank transaction details. This gave a break-up of the money that was deducted as he went about losing several games in succession.”
Rs 78 lakh, “lakh” meaning 100,000, is around $110,000. Given the fact according to 2016 World Bank data, the average annual (!) salary in India was $1,670, it is understandable why a poker losing streak of that magnitude would be devastating for a man’s life.
Evidently, no-one should borrow that amount of money to build up their bankroll in poker. Krunal Mehta, who clearly had addiction issues, sadly ended up throwing himself down a well for doing it.
The Effect on the Indian Poker Community
The Indian online poker community is evidently in mourning. However, there’s some fear as well on how this story receiving national media attention will affect the game’s fate in the country.
In December last year, High Court Justice of the very state this tragic suicide took place, Gujarat, passed a ruling in which he rejected classifying poker as a “game of skill”, instead declaring it a game of pure chance.
Live poker is already illegal in Gujarat. Indian online poker rooms, on the other hand, have been booming lately. Some worry that this incident can jeopardize the legality of online poker in the region as well.
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