If you’re a poker player – and there’s a lot of them about these days – make a date in your diary. The European Poker Tour hits London on October 8th this year, and will occupy the stylish Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden until the 18th.
The EPT has been an annual event for a decade now, and UK players can feel proud that Britain has produced more winners than any other nation. It’s no small feat – last year, 118 different countries were represented. The EPT is one of the biggest poker events outside Las Vegas, with a total prize pot in 2013/14 of nearly €38.5 million.
Entry costs for players who want to participate in the action vary – a lot! It’s possible to simply buy in, though depending on the specific event, you’ll be paying between €5,000 and €10,000. Pretty steep unless you’re absolutely convinced of your skills. Don’t panic though – there are various satellite tournaments online, in which you can win yourself a place at the tables for less than €10. If you want to hone your poker face before entering, play for free at www.gamingclub.co.uk until you feel ready to spend that €10!
The EPT schedule takes players to some of the most exciting cities in Europe. Barcelona, Prague, Deauville and Monte Carlo are all confirmed so far. Some lucky satellite winners will win their hotel costs and spending money on top, making that initial entry fee seem like a pretty good investment.
Players for the 2014 events are not yet confirmed, but many fans will be hoping to see BBC quiz presenter and Guardian journalist Victoria Coren (now Coren-Mitchell) back at the tables. In 2006 she made headlines by winning an EPT main event, the first time a woman had done so. Coren picked up £500,000, beating Australian pro Emad Tahtouh. A couple of months ago she did it again, at the EPT season 10 event in San Remo, winning more than €475,000. She’s currently the only player who has managed to win an EPT title twice.
The Grand Connaught Rooms on Great Queen Street, WC2, is one of London’s most spectacular venues. Situated between the Royal Opera House and Holborn tube station, it’s ideally placed for visitors to London, being surrounded by excellent restaurants and fascinating places to visit. If you’re coming to the city for the EPT, try to make time for a visit to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, an oasis of calm in the centre of the excitement and chaos that is London. It’s the city’s biggest public square.
Also within a few minutes walk are numerous theatres including the Cambridge and the Shaftesbury, and global dining experiences including Moti Mahal (Indian), Shanghai Blues (Chinese) and Kimchee (Korean). Don’t forget your LDN Card for exclusive offers and discounts!