EPT11 London: Give me your grinders, your rich, your huddled high rollers
London poker was once all about "The Vic", the Grosvenor Casino on Edgware Road in central London which was once the only game in town. It proved the training ground for a generation of poker players, many of whom are still plying their trade in high stakes tournaments such as this - not least Victoria Coren-Mitchell, who famously spent considerable time with her face pressed against the card room window plucking up the courage to go in.
Then came the internet, which spiked an interest in the game that was never going to be put off by protocol and a glass wall. Suddenly all sorts of card rooms were opening up in every corner of London, while existing casinos that had never previous had a card rooms hurriedly knocked through walls to cater to a new clientele.
In the years since London has become one of poker's biggest hubs, a meeting point for refugees and exiles brought here by a legal climate still at odds with the poker zeitgeist. They come here hoping for a chance of making a living at the game and find when they get here that quite a few others have had the same idea.
What's more four such players remain in the field today, each guaranteed a top 50 finish.
We talked earlier this week to Team Online's Mickey Petersen, a former EPT winner, who moved to London several years ago to concentrate on his game. It worked. So much so that he's laying down roots, albeit in in Edinburgh where he's moving later this month (he's the exception proving the rule).
Then there are the Spaniards, Sergio Aido and Pablo Gordillo. Both have settled into life in London with results worthy of London rent.
Aido won UKIPT London in 2013 while recently Gordillo left the poker community, and the PokerStars security team, scratching their heads, as he pulled off what seemed impossible, winning three consecutive events in a single Sunday -- which you can read about here.
Finally there's Benny Spindler, a winner of EPT London one of a strong community of German pros who have made their London move into one of the games great success stories, clocking up millions in prize money.
Each of those stories may well continue to get better before the end of this week.
Follow the action from the EPT London Main Event this week on the PokerStars. You can also watch live coverage on the EPT Live webcast between October 14-18 on PokerStars.tv.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.