Could Britain Host A Major World Professional Poker Series?
Poker games have soared in popularity in the past few years, and within this period, a game that many people hitherto regarded as a dingy cigarette smoke filled backroom affair turned into a refined mainstream activity. Nowadays, players can find poker variants at plenty of new casinos online and some sites will even go to the lengths of offering their players a bonus. This, in turn, can help players begin playing for free or a small deposit.
The rehabilitation of poker into what it has turned out may have started from the 1990s when it started getting televised regularly. Online poker also arrived at the same time and gave it a monumental boost. Presently, people can now enjoy the game in the comfort of their living rooms.
With mobile poker sites growing in number and strength, more people can now access poker games from wherever they are. The advancements in online games have also influenced the popularity of the live or brick and mortar poker games, as more people started taking interest in playing the game in land based casinos, and these casinos embraced their new customers with excitement.
While most of the players prefer to stick with the cash games, professionals and the more adventurous normally opt for the tournaments, attracted by the fact that they can easily win prizes that you can only imagine, in some of the higher profile games. Because of this, most of the casinos that offer real cash games started organizing some form of tournaments on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, with some other larger events from time to time.
The Millions UK Main Event has been the biggest of such events, and it involves a £5,000,000 prize poll, while the next is the Aspers Casino hosted 888poker Live Event. The latter doles out a first prize of £100,000, and takes the winner into the World Series of Poker Main Event, which is as reputable as the poker Olympics that take place every summer in Las Vegas.
A UK WSOP
While these are very impressive tournaments, many people have been thinking of whether the UK can do more in poker, and possibly host an event that will be in the league of the WSOP, and which would be viewed by the biggest poker tournament fans from across the world.
In practice, this might seem very fine, but you cannot succeed in this without considering the current stats of the WSOP to see how difficult it may be to achieve this. Now, a look at the WSOP event of 2019 reveals that there were 90 separate tournaments and that more than 150,000 players registered to play. For the main event, the number of players at kick off was 8,569, and this number was reduced to nine after a series of events. The nine went further to compete till Hossein Ensan took the first prize and went home with $10,000,000.
In line with the tradition of the tournaments, the main event took place at the Las Vegas Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino where the gaming space covers up to 117,000 square feet, harboring up to 2,500 suites. Now, one of the major reasons why the UK may not be able to handle an event of this magnitude is the size of the casino needed to host such an event. But, this is not me saying that there are no large casinos that can host such events in the UK.
Aspers Stratford would be the first venue to be considered here. This already played host to the 888poker Live Event, and stands as the largest gaming arena in the country. This was launched in 2011 with fanfare, and it has never failed to impress. However, what you have here is a gaming area of just 65,000 square feet, and that is actually 52,000 short of what Rio offers. This simply means that the crowd that will be coming to play the game and those that would want to watch them will outnumber what the venue can take.
However, we are not saying that the events cannot be split like it’s done in the football world cup where different parts of the tournament are split and held in different venues just like different stadia hosts world cup matches in the same country. In the UK, every major city has some casinos that can comfortably host tournaments. There are more than 7 of such in Manchester alone, and they all have poker facilities.
Birmingham, which is the second city in England, has a lot of venues for this, and this will give the games a central location. When you get back to the capital London, the best venue would be offered by the magnificent Hippodrome by Leicester Square. This was developed to host an indoor circus, but it is a perfect fit for the tournaments.
For the top elite events like the WSOP Main Event’s final table, one of the exclusive private casinos could take charge of that. Places like the Park Lane Casino and Ritz Casino will comfortably serve as a top notch venue for such.
A Question of Cooperation
Now, though these venues are owned and managed by various individual firms, a lot of cooperation would be needed for such an event to ever succeed. However, though the world of gambling is terribly competitive, the fact that hosting such events would bring an amazing amount of publicity alone would force the participating hosting venues to cooperate.
That said, we now get to the issue of the body to organize and host the event. The WSOP may be convinced to form a sub-division for this, or one of the big and reputable poker sites in the country may take it up.
Lastly, hosting such an event will only succeed if big names in the gaming world like Liv Boeree, Phil Ivey, and Daniel Negreanu could be attracted. To do this, the prize money has to be tempting enough to be able to lure them in.
Hope you’ve seen that it is not something that you just conceive and get on with, because some serious hurdles will have to be crossed before this will succeed. But the truth remains that when heads are put together and it is properly planned, these hurdles will be easily surmounted. So, let’s hope that the UK will be hosting one of the biggest and most memorable poker tournaments of all time in the nearest future.
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