In the space of a week the UK has managed to announce and lose the biggest tournament of the year.
Of course I mean biggest two different senses of the word. This week Dusk Till Dawn announced that their £50 Grand Prix was returning and hoping to break the 1,600 player mark – nearly double their previous UK record. Soon after it was announced that the World Series of Poker Europe would no longer be taking place in London, as it will be relocating to Cannes in France in October.
It was a real surprise the WSOPE was being ousted from London after three pretty big years there, which I think could only be considered a success. Not only that, but French poker is heavily taxed and regulated, whereas UK gambling is about as liberal as it you will find in Europe. At first it seemed to me to be a really bad decision and a bad advert for the WSOP who I thought were shunning a great host in favour of one whose government would take 4% of the prize pool.
But then I was reminded by a PokerNews blogger that poker is booming in France right now and that could see the field size double. Just last week D4 Events hosted the European DeepStack Poker Championships in Dublin and the majority of the 737 field were French.
I must say, as great as it was I will be glad to see the back of the jam packed September to October London poker month. An English Poker Open, EPT London, WPT and WSOPE all in a month was just too much in my opinion and for me the reason why the WPT had such a low turnout relatively. The WSOPE was the glue that gelled them all together and hopefully the knock on effect will be that WPT London will become a much bigger event, held at a different time of year, so we get two big majors to look forward to on their own terms, rather than a saturated cluster of them.
The more I think of it, the WSOPE probably should have changed venues every year, going to a different European country and letting the poker world get more stamps on their passports, kind of like the world cup.
In brighter news, Dusk Till Dawn showed they do not know the meaning of the word cant by hosting a 1,600 runner tournament later this year. Last year they broke the UK record of 900 and I think everyone was shocked at how much they raised the bar this time round.
The key here is they are having 5 day 1s on the Monday-Friday before everyone reconvenes on the Saturday & Sunday. I’ve never heard of 5 day 1s before in a tournament and the question is can they average 320 players per day? The fact that you have to buy-in online will help in this regard because it will stop a huge influx of players arriving on the Friday and ignoring the other days.
Nobody is going to want to stick around in Nottingham for several days waiting for day 2, so you would imagine the Monday-Thursday crowd will be mostly driving there and back in one night. Nottingham being central and on the M1, I think there will be quite a large radius of people preparing to do that, maybe as far as London. Last time the event was also full of coach parties from local casinos, so I do think it’s possible they will hit 1600.
One thing is for certain, it will be the biggest UK attendance of all time, well past 1000, and the biggest first prize you will ever see for fifty nicker. I for one thing Dusk Till Dawn are going to do it.
Ironically Barry Carter is now in France judging the Brit Heavy European Poker Awards.
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