UKIPT Manchester: Theatre of Dreams
Manchester has become well known around the world for the exploits of its football team, Manchester United FC*, who have won 11 Premier League titles, just as many FA Cups, a healthy side smattering of European trophies as well as being the footballing home of one Mr David Beckham. We can only think that it's the pull of the Red Devils that has turned so many heads from around the world towards this first English stop of the PokerStars United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT). While you're always going to get some foreign entries to any tournament the UKIPT appears to have followed in the footsteps of the English Premier League (that's the biggest soccer in the world for anyone reading stateside) by swarming its ranks with non-domestic players. The tournament has hit a sell-out 520 capacity and our sources have let us know that around half of the satellite qualifiers to this £500 four-day tournament are from outside of the UK and Ireland with online entrants coming from as far as Australia, the Philippines, the United States and Russia.
We also have some of bandstand names of British poker at this event such as PokerStars Team Pros John Duthie and Victoria Coren, with a first showing from new signing Julian 'Yo-yo' Thew. The softly spoken Thew is a player with a ridiculously jam packed poker CV which includes a win at the Baden leg of the European Poker Tour for €670,800. Thew's total tournament take home is in excess of $2,400,000 and he will pose a problem for anyone at his table.
The action is scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm here at the G Casino, Manchester but due to some teething problems on the internet connection front you may experience a slight delay in initial updates. We've also got a video blogging team who are grafting hard so check www.pokerstars.tv for moving pictures and interviews with some of the more colourful characters on the tour.
*If you're taking umbrage at the fact that we've called United the team of the city rather than Manchester City (their derby rivals that play in blue) then, well, come back to us when they've actually won something more recently than the league cup in 1976.