I know it’s not a typically British thing to boast about our achievements, but credit must be given when it’s due and I think the British poker industry deserves a bit of a pat on the back. We play host to some fantastic events on the annual poker calendar, have some promising rising star players and, though I hate to say this, our government are commendable in that they have not meddled to the point of confusion like some. As a born and bred North London girl allow me to wallow a little in the excitement of having so many top poker players and all time legends descending on this fair city! We may not be able to count on Football to install some pride but the quality of British Poker players should give us something to cheer about as we enter somewhat of a golden age for English poker.
English participation in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is over for 2010 but it has been a breakthrough year with English players winning five bracelets and securing a record-breaking number of cashes. After our success across the pond, the world’s best poker players will now be heading to England to take on the best we can offer at the World Series of Poker Europe, the WPT London and the English Poker Open.
July will always be about Vegas but in August and September the eyes of the poker world will be focussed on London. Europe’s biggest poker festival, Poker in the Park is back for its fourth year providing free tournaments and poker seminars so even the fishiest poker enthusiasts can enjoy the hype. And don’t forget the most British of accompaniments to fish - the chips, and there will be plenty of those when the EPT, WSOPE and the English Poker Open and the inaugural WPT London come to town.
No doubt there will be a lot written in the coming weeks about the WSOPE and the WPT as the online qualifiers start to be promoted but it’s a great accolade to the British Poker industry that we can also boast our very own national open tournament. The English Poker Open is only in its second year but the event which started in 2009 has already attracted some of the world’s best players and is likely to the same this year partly because it is being held between the dates for the WPT London and the WSOPE but also because the appetite for the big poker celebrities has never been stronger in the UK.
The decision to move the EPO from Nottingham’s famous Dusk Till Dawn poker club to the Palm Beach Casino in London means all the events will be in the same place making London a hot spot for any poker fan to meet there idols – and convenient for the press junkets no doubt!
Understandably there was a lot of fanfare when two of poker’s most famous (and publicised) faces, Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth attended the EPO in 2009, but it was the amount of home grown talent shining through that made it a special. The likes of James Akenhead, Praz Bansi, Marty Smyth, Neil Channing, Dave Ulliott, Julian Thew, Joe Beevers and Ross Boatman were all in attendance last year and will be looking to improve on their efforts this time around.
Whilst the EPO cannot take credit for producing these talented players it is important that as our nation has a bigger presence on the world stage we create enough local live events to provide upcoming players the opportunities to hone their live tournament skills as well as their online ones.
Let’s not forget what we have to offer tournament organisers, The Palm Beach Casino (which will host the WPT London and the EPO), Dusk Till Dawn and the soon to be opened Fox Poker Club all provide world class venues that show case these major events. London has lots to offer the players who will be visiting the city, and this no doubt adds to the attraction when players are deciding on their schedules.
With so many world class poker players coming from our shores we’re hoping for a successful September and some home grown winners of the latest jewel in the crown of the English poker scene.
Details of the English Poker Open 2010
The EPO 2010 is being held at the Palm Beach Casino in Mayfair with a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000,000. The Mob’s very own, Barny Boatman will again be hosting the webcast with Matt Broughton and Grub Smith after his successful run last year. Player numbers are capped at 300 and you can qualify online or enter with a direct £3,500 + £250 buy in.