UKIPT Coventry: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Ricoh Arena
A rolling stone gathers no moss so the sayings goes and with the third stop of the UKIPT touching down in Coventry there is still no lichen to be seen. This is quite surprising given that the G Casino here at the Ricoh Arena (home to Coventry City Football Club) is a pseudo Las Vegas paradise, resplendent with palm trees, running water and neon a plenty. As British casinos go it's pretty darned swanky with a 'lovely' poker room. That's UKIPT host Nick Wealthall's opinion not just mine.
Wealthall and Team PokerStars Pro Julian Thew have just run the 'Improve Your Tournament Poker' seminar. It's aimed at the beginner to intermediate level and Wealthall and a guest Team pro will be running one before every event so get yourself booked in for some last minute strategy advice. Thew is a player that has been there, bought the t-shirt, ripped the t-shirt in half and won an EPT title in the process. He'll be playing Day 1a which starts shortly and if a bookmaker was offering odds Thew would be pinned with some of the shortest around. Fellow Team Pros Jude Ainsworth and Victoria Coren will be joining the fray tomorrow.
So who else is playing? Well, the chunky £500 buy-in draws a mixed crowd with a lot of local players trying their arm against the legions of PokerStars qualifiers, European sharks and Team PokerStars Pros. We have Mickey Wernick, Steve Jelinek, Stephen Devlin, Chris Brammer and Jerome Bradpiece just to mention a few old hands and young online pros. One player showing his face is Dan Owston, who made the final table at the UKIPT Manchester taking home £6,500 for his troubles. Owston was one of the more enthusiastic players enjoying the free bar at the welcome party last night. I really wish we could put up some of the pictures of his antics but, well, you had to be there to see for yourself.
So some with heads more sore than a Manchester United player players are getting themselves into their seats. Let's get to the action.