EPT London Day 1A: A wonderful week in the capital

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to London, one of only two cities on the European Poker Tour that has hosted an event during each of its nine seasons. It means that as the EPT now attaches a numeral to its abbreviated name -- EPT9 -- London could do the same if it wanted. Who likes London9?

OK, no one. But you'll like what we have in store over the coming week.

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Everyday apparel in London

The EPT Main Event is a £5,250 affair, which is almost certain to sell out, and then some. We're back in the Grosvenor Victoria Casino again this week, where it all started, and although this is the location the British poker purists would choose, it is not the most spacious place.

It means we have a "soft cap" of 340 players for each of the two opening flights (Day 1A today and Day 1B tomorrow). One suspects that soft cap will be pressed at very firmly.

Just about all week, the world's top poker pros have been tweeting from airports across the globe, telling anyone who'll listen of their flight plans to London. Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel, Eugene Katchalov, ElkY, Daniel Negreanu and countless more Team PokerStars Pros are already definitely in the city.

Liv Boeree, Vicky Coren, Jake Cody and Leo Margets played the UKIPT festival this week and are also certain to leap into the EPT too. (Incidentally, you can follow all the UKIPT action with Nick Wright on the UKIPT page.)


Leo Margets: EPT debut in PokerStars colours

The PokerStars satellite tables have also been alive for many months, with hundreds of other players taking the cheap qualification route to the Vic. Their full number and identity will become known as the week progresses, and few would bet against one of them lifting the trophy.

And we may even see an appearance of the defending champion, Benny Spindler.

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Will poker's most famous fringe return to defend its title?

Whisper it, but there are also the dastardly "Professionals" from Full Tilt Poker in London, principally to take on Team PokerStars' finest in a heads up grudge match, of which you will no doubt hear plenty more later. But after their inevitable thorough hiding at the hands of the heroic PokerStars trio, those villains will no doubt also playing the main tournament. Let's have a big PokerStars boo for Tom Dwan, Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom. (And a hiss.)

As ever, there are numerous complementing methods by which you can enjoy all the action here. Obviously, you already have PokerStars Blog as the top bookmark in your browser, and you will find everything you need to know about EPT London on the dedicated EPT London page.

Hand-by-hand action appears in the panel at the top of the page, and you will also see a tab there to the latest chip-counts. Feature articles appear below the line, adding an element of flavour to proceedings.

The widget on the right hand side of the page has links to all the side events and various other delights. Try some of that too.

Then why not join the mic jockeys and tech monkeys of EPT Live, who are also back in their little booths, surrounded by bags of Cheetos, Star Trek annuals and restraining orders. They are preparing the finest live poker stream on the planet.

Head on over to PokerStars.tv for some cards-down action, commentary by James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton, and some analysis from a host of special guests.

All told, this is not to be missed, so strap in.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour