Legality of skill games
The Supreme Court of India in 1996 defined gambling as betting and wagering on games of chance only, and this judgment excluded games of skill whether played for money or not. The excerpt from 1996 judgment is as follows: "The expression 'gaming' in the two Acts has to be interpreted in the light of the law laid-down by this Court in the two 1957 cases, wherein it has been authoritatively held that a competition which substantially depends on skill is not gambling. Gaming is the act or practice of gambling on a game of chance. It is staking on chance where chance is the controlling factor.Gaming in the two Acts would, therefore, mean wagering or betting on games of chance. It would not include games of skill like horse racing"
According to the Public Gambling Act "nothing in this Act shall apply to games of mere skill wherever played". Further, Section 11 of the Gaming Act specifically saves the games of mere skill from the penal provisions of the two Acts. That is, the Act doesn't define gambling and in 1996 the Supreme Court of India defined games of mere skill as follows: The competitions where success depends on substantial degree of skill are not gambling and despite there being an element of chance if a game is preponderantly a game of skill it would nevertheless be a game of mere skill
The Bangalore High Court in its past order on July 27, 2007, made it clear that for chess, carrom, dart game, poker, coin game, six color game, rummy, skill games and other indoor games, licence is not necessary either under the Karnataka Police Act 1963 or under License of Controlling of Places of Public Amusements (Bangalore city) Order 1986.
Furthermore, in the E Eranna & others vs State of Karnataka case (1977), it was laid down that it is manifest that a game of skill would not be held to be gambling. Poker is a game of skill, just like golf, cricket, scrabble, carom, rummy, basketball or volleyball and betting or wagering in games of skill or athletic games in Karnataka is permissible. The only two states where betting or wagering is not permissible even in games of skill is Odisha and Assam."
Above inferences illustrate that poker is classified as a skill game as the player requires skills like math, logical reasoning, strategic thinking, dexterity, etc to play the game, and moreover, the game involves only a small element of luck. Thus, it is legal to play live poker in Bangalore.