BLOG – Just how popular can poker in the UK become?

BLOG – Just how popular can poker in the UK become?

Friday, 22 October 2010

I must admit that I thought Dusk Till Dawn had no chance of breaking the UK attendance record for a live poker tournament. Just two weeks ago, after the EPT London had smashed its own record to take the Nottingham club’s target from 731 players to 849, Dusk Till Dawn revealed less than 100 players had registered for their attempt; a £40,000 guaranteed £50 entry tournament with a televised final table.

I was considering bolstering their numbers, predicting a well-structured £50 event with a five-figure overlay and a weaker field. I’d even made arrangements with a friend at Loughborough University for accommodation. But no, Dusk Till Dawn totally made it happen with their 900-player cap hit; a total prize pool of £45,000 and the new UK attendance record for a live poker tournament.

In 2009 the WSOPE £1,000 event broke the 2008 EPT London record for the most-attended live tournament in the UK. One year on the EPT broke its own record before Dusk Till Dawn broke that. In the course of just two years the record has gone from around 600 players to almost a thousand!

This is a very good thing for UK poker – in fact, my BadBeat Journalist Challenge Mentor and I were discussing this at one point. Take a look at how big poker is becoming in this country; there are three or four different poker shows on TV; live tournaments are becoming more frequent, more attended and generally bigger; more UK pros are emerging from the woodwork and more poker sites are advertising everywhere.

We’re like a post-Moneymaker US right now. While the future of online poker across the pond is far from certain we’re enjoying a new boom. Perhaps this is the aftershock from 2003? Who knows, but I hope it lasts.

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