The PartyPoker.com European Open IV starts in London on February 1st, running until the 8th, with its strongest field to date led by 11-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. The Matchroom Sport organised event will be broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK later this year and distributed internationally.

Hellmuth will join Jesse May in the commentary box for the coverage of the event and said: “I am really looking forward to playing in, and commentating for, the European Open. I am flying from California to London for one reason: to win baby!”

This year’s tournament sees the buy-in rise to $7,000 from $5,000 – creating a $504,000 prize fund that some of the biggest names in poker have their eye on. Hellmuth will face tough competition from last year’s winner Liam Flood. Last year, Flood triumphed over a final table in convincing style, beating former World Open champion Pippa Flanders and John Magill. Wolverhampton’s Darren Hickman finished second.

Familiar faces to look out for this year include PartyPoker.com Premier League title holder Juha Helppi, UK Open Champion Andrew Feldman, recent PartyPoker.com Irish Poker Championship runner-up Michael McCool, Roland de Wolfe, Andy Black, Marty Smith, Roy Brindley, Ian Frazer, Ian Cox, Robin Keston, Neil Channing and Surinder Sunar.

The winner of each of the 12 heats will progress to the semi-final stage, and, for the first time in the event’s history, the runners-up will battle it out for the remaining two semi-final spots in “last chance” turbo heats. PartyBets.com will be releasing odds on the tournament in the near future.

Head of Online Gaming at Matchroom Sport, Eddie Hearn, is looking forward to seeing the big names squaring up. “We are delighted with the field we have assembled for the European Open IV. The inclusion of Phil Hellmuth will certainly spice things up but we have a host of UK talent standing in his way and you can be sure that ‘The Gentleman’ Liam Flood won’t give up his crown without a fight.”

A PartyPoker.com spokesman said: “Every time Hellmuth comes to the UK he has a massive target painted on his forehead and the more he talks the more Europe’s finest become determined to ‘Kill Phil.’ Players such as Feldman, Frazer and Flood all have great form in this format so the Poker Brat’s definitely not going to be impressed when he isn’t made favourite to win!”

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