When you live in Cornwall, England, a county of rugged coastlines, surfing types and Londoners with second homes, it can be hard to find a poker game. In fact, if you live there, like chip leader Marc Wright does, you're left with the only game in town, at the casino in Plymouth.
"The game (at the Casino) runs every night," said Wright. "At the weekends it runs pretty big and its' a good game. But there's not a ton of action."
Beyond the walls of the local casino, or in the home games that take place (often exceeding the casino in size), your next best option is the EPT, which Wright decided to play after a deep run in the Irish Poker Open last week, selling a percentage for his first experience on the tour. Considering this is his first EPT, Wright seems to be adapting well, taking the lead earlier today.
"I've had pretty good table draws," said Wright. "I got in a couple of nice spots. Everything's gone right. Every value bet I've made has been called. I've called a couple of people as well. I ran a really big bluff second hand of the day which got through. So I feel pretty comfortable."
Wright comes across as a thoughtful and humble player, putting his success this week down to good fortune rather than what is an obvious degree of talent.
"I lost a big pot yesterday against JP Kelly, queens into kings which at the time was huge. I'd been really active so it was a bit of a cooler. I felt like things were just going to go wrong from there. I took a 20 minute break and came back and everything went okay after that."
Cornwall, in the extreme south west of England, is not traditionally a hotbed of poker, suited more to affluent vacationers looking for some sea, sun and rugged countryside, to do the kind of adrenaline activities that require a certificate from the coast guard. It is, however, the perfect place to relax.
"I live there with my girlfriend and step daughter," said Wright. "It's a nice way of life."
But while his surroundings may be one of comfort, Wright, who has been playing for a living for more than four years ("two years before that I was a big loser!) is looking to redirect his game onto a more serious course, perhaps trying to overcome demons that can make someone unsure of their talents reticent to jump in head first.
"I've been pretty lazy but I'm trying to get back into it again now," said Wright, speaking frankly. "When you play poker for a living its super easy to get lazy; it's my own fault but I'm going to start playing all EPTs and playing online tournaments properly. I've worked really hard on my game in the last couple of years. I haven't had any live results but I haven't played any live."
That changed at the Irish Open a little more than a week ago. A deep run reminded him that he could perform well against the best. Or at least his girlfriend realised it.
"I felt like I just crushed it; every table," said Wright. "Then I lost four hands in one orbit and it just obliterated me. I was like 'I'm never going to play poker again,' But my girlfriend suggested I play this.
"I've found the field pretty good. Maybe I've just been lucky with table draws but everything's gone well so far. I haven't felt under pressure. I hope it continues."
All signs suggest that it is.