We may be in the Hilton Metropole for the first time but London has been a regular stop since the European Poker Tour first unfurled its banners back in 2004. The Vic was its spiritual home but it turns out that spirits can be easily moved and they’ve settled in nicely here. There’s more room for them and more prize money.
But the location is just one change of many over the six seasons the tour has rolled home to the capital. In season one 175 players paid the £3,000 buy in. Over the last two days 730 players have paid £5,000 for the same honour, from more than 60 countries around the world, making this not only the biggest major poker tournament in the UK but one of the most cosmopolitan.
Among them are four Team PokerStars Asia Pros making their tour debuts: Celina Lin, Bryan Huang, Taejun Noh and Raymond Wu who are taking the game to the far reaches of the world – at least from where we’re sitting. Lin has multiple cashes across Asia, winning the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup in July of this year, a haul worth $51,000. Huang has won events in Macau, Manila and has cashes from beyond, the high point being his third place finish in the APPT Macau event last year. He’s been on the right of Boris Becker all day and on the sharp end of a table line up that includes Brandon Adams, Surinder Sunar and Philippe D’Auteuil. But he fights on with an heroic 10K stack.
Taejun Noh and Raymond Wu play today also, each armed with around 70k after seven levels. Noh’s table has been no pushover, with Eric Liu and Shane Reihill of high roller success seated in both directions. Noh came second at APPT Manila last November, good for $103,760 and all the proof he needs that success will follow here also. Wu is proving himself to have the same mettle, bossing a table that includes Peter Hedlund and Team PokerStars Pro Veronica Dabul from Argentina.
We’ll be keeping tabs on them this week, and no doubt beyond.