If you wander round any casino in London right now it seems almost like your are in America. Indeed if you come to the Sportsman, Fifty London or the Empire today, you would be forgiven for thinking the Bellagio had a makeover, what with all the stars of US poker you can see at the tables or in the lobby.
Yet thus far the World Series of Poker Europe, the bragging rights have gone to those that didn't have to travel too far to get here. Europe is now two for two in capturing WSOP Gold, with only one event left will we be getting the clean sweep?
The HORSE event final table was predominantly European, however most would have taken a US winner in a sweepstake with Chris Ferguson, Jennifer Harman and Kirk Morrision all in contention. Regrettably Joe Beevers and Gary Jones couldn't claim a scalp for the UK, and WSOP hotshot Alexander Kravchenko fell by the wayside, yet it was the least known of all, Thomas Bihl from Germany, who picked up the bracelet in a gruelling heads up match with Jennifer Harman.
The £5000 Omaha looked to be heading the same way, with two or three tables left names like Ted Forrest, Phil Gordon and Allen Cunningham were all in contention. Yet it still wound up being a predominantly European field. The only American was Andy Bloch, who was the second to exit on the final table.
Of course we at Pokernews were gutted that Tony G couldn't lift the bracelet, he played very well and kept us entertained during those early morning hours. It has to be said though that the eventual winner, Dario Alioto from Italy, was brilliant. He never seemed to put a foot wrong at the final table, Tony G said later he may be the best in the world at Omaha and all will see when this airs on TV that he may just well be right.
Now of course our thoughts turn to the big one, the main event, the daddy. Its early doors at the moment but this is the one everyone wants to win and oh would you believe it, non other than American Superstar and modest-about-hit-WSOP winnings Phil Hellmuth is right up there with the chip leaders. Can a European win this one? Check back in a few days and we'll have a better picture on how close or unrealistic that concept is.
Ed note: There are £1000 freerolls every Tuesday and Wednesday at Sky Poker