Prizes at your typical British pub quiz usually consist of a few quid or a round of drinks. But when the pub quiz is taking place at Dusk Till Dawn during a UKIPT Nottingham stop, you know there’s going to be something a bit special up for grabs.
That was enough to entice Andy ‘BowieEffect’ Wilson to take part.
“I was waiting to max late reg the £2K in Nottingham and there was a pub quiz on at the bar,” he tells us on a tournament at EPT Barcelona. “I thought, why not?”
This might be the only spin-up story in the history of poker that starts like that.
Over the past few years, Wilson has gone from an aspiring mid-stakes grinder to cementing himself among online poker’s high-stakes elite. He’s had plenty of massive scores, most notably winning his first Spring Championship of Online Poker title in 2021 (a $2,100 Sunday HR PKO for $151,779) and almost picking up a second earlier this year (he finished runner-up to Dinesh “NastyMinder” Alt in a SCOOP $5K Titans event).
But on that day in Nottingham, it wasn’t his poker skills being tested, it was his general knowledge. He ended up finishing third in the pub quiz, thanks in part to his knowledge of capital cities. “I used to grind a lot of quizzes when I was in sixth form,” he says. “My score wasn’t the best but it was enough to get me into the Sit & Go.”
The prize for the top three pub quizzers (Angus Foster, Oli Hutchins, and Wilson) was entry into a special Sit & Go that had a regional Main Event entry up top for the winner. The six-handed table was rounded out with three qualifiers from a go karting event that PokerStars had put on for players.
Wilson ended up taking it down and with that, he picked up a ticket he could use on any of PokerStars’ regional tours.
And if you’re going to pick a regional tour Main Event to play, it might as well be the biggest regional tour Main Event in history, right?
Even better, it might as well be the biggest event in EPT history.
Last week’s €1,100 Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) Main Event attracted 6,313 entries (including 3,548 re-entries), making it the biggest field ever assembled in a PokerStars live tournament. And if it wasn’t for that pub quiz, Wilson would have missed it entirely.
“I wasn’t even going to play it originally,” he says. “I’d already won a Main Event package and I was planning on coming to Barcelona just for that, but now I had this €1K ticket so I thought I’d come early and use that here.”
One of Wilson’s friends, a fellow online regular, had a spare bed in his hotel room, so expense-wise, it made sense for him to fly out last minute. That proved to be a very good decision.
“To freeroll the first bullet, there was a nice feeling in the back of my mind for sure,” Wilson says. “I ended up being in for four bullets, but at least it was for €3,000 instead of €4,000.”
Wilson went on to finish 11th out of 6,313, cashing for €47,272. That’s an amazing spin-up from a pub quiz you nonchalantly entered while waiting to play a poker tournament. “Without the pub quiz and the Spin & Go, I wouldn’t have played it,” he says.
“It still stings a little bit actually because I was chip leading with 16 left at the dinner break on Day 3. I had a sixth of the chips in play. But that’s tournaments, that’s going to happen. Most of the time in that situation I’m going to make the final table and be on the stream, but unfortunately, it wasn’t this time. It is what it is.”
Still, Wilson bounced back quickly and followed up that score with a deep run in the €2,200 ESPT High Roller, finishing 35th out of 2,173 total entries for another €11,770.
“The EPTs are +EV stops,” says Wilson. “You can definitely make money playing these buy-ins.
“I attend live events pretty recreationally. I mainly play online and when I’m at home I treat it much more like a job. But live events are somewhere in the middle. I’m going to be here grinding but at the same time, I want to enjoy the city and have a bit of fun with it.”
When he’s at home, Wilson occasionally streams his study sessions on Twitch, showing aspiring players the tools he uses to improve and how they can do it too. His work ethic and ever-increasing skill level have certainly earned him the respect of his peers, with PokerStars Team Pro Fintan “easywithaces” Hand declaring on his stream that he believes Wilson to be up there with some of the best tournament players in the world.
“I study almost as much as I play, to be honest,” says Wilson. “I definitely put in quite a lot of lab work. I’m not a mass volume grinder. I play a lot of volume during the series but outside of them, I’ll only play here and there and on Sundays.”
When he returns from Barcelona (he’s currently on Day of the EPT Main Event), Wilson will be heading deep into the lab preparing for the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), which kicks off on September 4.