UKIPT Galway: A new tour is born
So here we are at another great moment in poker history, cue the fanfare... it's the launch of the PokerStars.com United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour! Hitherto to be known as the UKIPT - or the mighty UKIPT, if you like. I certainly do. Some 300 players are busying themselves as they prepare to enter the cavernous tournament room at the Radisson Hotel, Galway. Some players will rubbing their hands in glee at their table draw while others mutter under their breath at how they've found themselves sandwiched between PokerStars Pros JP Kelly and Jude Ainsworth. Galway, 'The City of Tribes', is situated on the West coast of Ireland and is a great place to kick off the 8-leg tour marking off one of the four compass points and any player cold-decked out of this €2,000 tournament has but a 5-minute to a lively city centre packed full of pubs. In four days time, after a lot of deep stacked poker and, one imagines, just as much Guinness has been necked, one player will score a staggering pay day in excess of €130,000.
The pre-Christmas rush hasn't stopped the Irish old school from turning out in force; Liam Flood, Donnacha O'Dea, Padraig Parkinson and co are all ready to talk their way to the final table. Fighting to wrestle the inaugural UKIPT Galway out of Irish hands are players from the US, Canada, mainland Europe, Brazil and, of course, the United Kingdom. Tournament grinders such as Jeff Kimber and Karl Marenholz will be hoping to go deep while everyone should be breathing a sigh of relief that November Niner James Akenhead, one of the most prolific players of 2009, is a big doubt to turn up having arrived at Luton Airport last night with his passport wallet... but no passport. Did he bag the 7am flight this morning? I don't know, but will let you know when I do.
PokerStars.com Team Pro John Duthie will also be playing - a welcome relief from his hectic hosting duties at the EPT, no doubt - and will be joined by local celebs such as rugby player Reg Corrigan and former World Champion boxer Bernard Dunne. On the European Poker Tour the PokerStars.com welcome parties have become quite legendary and the intention is that the UKIPT will follow in that tradition. Hosted in the Live Lounge of the Radisson players guests were treated to a surprise visit from the mayor who, if whispers are correct, has been perusaded to play one of the many side events. Fingers crossed he keeps his bling on and makes it all the way to the final table!
The cards are due up in the air at 4pm so stay tuned for final player numbers, player lists, payout structure and the big hits and knockouts as they come. Now listen here, ye fan of the blog, there is more excitement for you with regular moving pictures heading your way courtesy of TV's 'Mr Smiles' Nick Wealthall who will be providing you with regular video updates. Watch out forvideo links throughout the blog like this:
Watch UKIPT Galway: A Taste of Things To Come on PokerStars.tv
Let's get this tour on the road!
The next stop on the UKIPT is Manchester (in the North West of England) at the G Casino on Feb 11-14. Satellite in for as little as 111 FPP or $2.22.