EPT London: Fitting welcome as tour rolls into town

By Howard Swains

It could be Barcelona, it could be Monte Carlo. It could be Las Vegas, Copenhagen, Warsaw or Dortmund. It could be any country, any culture, any time zone in the world. But some things are constant, and we're grateful for them to keep our feet firmly rooted to the ground.

The welcome party to a PokerStars EPT event is one of those things. We know what to expect and it always delivers: lavish setting, great company, spectacular entertainment, free-flowing refreshment and an enraptured atmosphere of anticipation for a week of poker to come.

So it was at Cafe de Paris tonight in London's West End, where the great and the good of the European poker scene gathered to prepare for the first day of competition on the second event of season five of the EPT. While the fish and chips were offered to guests, Joe Hachem, (un)fresh from a 30-hour plane journey to get here, seized the microphone to talk to the crowd and introduced the all-new EPT welcome video, on screens surrounding the dance-floor. It looked a bit like this:

Watch EPT London 08: A Taste Of Things To Come on PokerStars.tv

And once that had stirred up the excitement, it was time for the burlesque dancers to take to the floor - or rather to take to a big spherical cage, where there were feathers, powder, enigmatic lighting and the result of hours of practise on a trapeze. It was, well, wait for the pictures.

So tomorrow is day 1a, the first of two opening days where half of the field attempts to survive with enough chips to challenge Thursday's survivors on day two proper on Friday. Then over the weekend, they play down to a final table and a winner, who will be good for £1m.

Team PokerStars Pro are out in force. The PokerStars Six, otherwise known as the Million Dollar Men or the November Nine are also in the city. This is going to be one of the toughest tournaments ever witnessed in poker. But we're brave enough. Follow it all here.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour