EPT11 London: The oldest swinger in town

Death, taxes and EPT London. The three certainties in modern life.

While it is perhaps unwise to dwell on the first two, especially given that it's a grey, autumn, Sunday morning in the city, and there are a few numbed heads still straggling through the streets, it is far more agreeable to shift our gaze to the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, where it's the 11th renewal of poker's ever-present.

EPT London conjures some of the European game's most vivid memories. John Shipley, one of Britain's most celebrated talents, enjoyed his breakthrough tournament win here in the opening season. A couple of years later, Vicky Coren won a title here, back in the days long before her near namesake and look-alike Vicky Coren Mitchell did the same last season.

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Victoria Coren, season three style

Michael Martin triumphed after being down to less than one big blind at the final table. Aaron Gustavson dramatically pipped Peter Eastgate, denying Eastgate the chance to be the only player to win an EPT and World Series Main Event.

And none of this is even to mention Benny Spindler, David Vamplew, Joseph Mouawad, Marc Teltscher, Ruben Visser or the defending champion, Robin Ylitalo. They have taken first prizes ranging from £200,000 (Shipley) to £900,000 (Vamplew). You can trace the progression of the European Poker Tour without ever leaving this capital city.

This week, our format follows the pattern established through the past few years. It's a noon kick-off on two opening flights, Day 1A today and Day 1B tomorrow. They start with 30,000 in chips and we'll play eight 75-minute levels, with a dinner break after six.

That takes us to a finish time just after midnight local time, but it gets more tolerable as we go through the next six days -- until usually there's an epic final on the very last day.

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The wheel spins again

You can follow the action in several ways. There is hand-by-hand coverage from the tournament floor in the panel at the top of the main EPT London page. The tabs contained therein show you latest approximate chip counts for some notables, plus payouts as and when they are decided (round about Day 3).

Below the panel, you'll be able to find our feature pieces throughout the tournament. It'll be colour, interviews, stats and all kinds of assorted other nonsense.

Don't forget today that there will also be the final table of the UKIPT Main Event. You can follow all the action from there with your hosts Nick Wright and Marc Convey on the UKIPT London page.

Enjoy.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour