English Poker Open tournament overview

Last week saw the inaugural English Poker Open head to Europe’s only dedicated poker room, Dusk Till Dawn. 213 entrants paid the $5,300 buy-in and will not have been disappointed with paying the entrance fee, as the tournament exceeded expectations over the three days. All three tournaments from the 15th to 17th September possessed qualities that gave endless entertainment and attracted large public audiences to watch both the second and final days, culminating in a great final table and heads-up display in the main event. The arrival of Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Annette Obrestad did nothing to calm the excitement already surrounding the event, and neither did the rumour of some high stakes cash games for those not playing the tournament. With so many pros present, a £5/£10 No Limit Hold’Em game emerged, with £50,000 on the table at one point – something very rarely seen at Dusk Till Dawn – and especially out of London. As well as the red carpet treatment that all main-event players received, they were welcomed by two male models dressed as English gentlemen; and a selection of female models in St George’s flag dresses.
The welcome party at the lavish Crowne Plaza hotel saw lookalikes of The Queen and Tony Blair entertain a crowd full of main-event players and press, with the Queen returning the next morning to do a fun photo-shoot with ten time WSOP Bracelet winner Doyle Brunson. With Brunson and Hellmuth being knocked out of the main event early on the first day, the arrival of Doyle on the second and third days gave an incredible aura to the already brilliant atmosphere. The entertainment over the three days never ceased, with plenty of players having laughs with each other over the felt and during the buffet breaks, despite the £600,000 that was in the monstrous prize pool. Adding to the excitement were some notable hands that gained recognition throughout the event. With a 3-way all-in (pocket Aces against pocket Kings against AK), the one out-King on the river caused great upset and also humour to those present.
With the EPO being such a success, it is impossible to see how this will not become a date in many poker players’ diaries in future years, as the tournament succeeded in offering a high standard of play and a great atmosphere for those in attendance.

Joe Wass

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