I’d be willing to bet good money that there are very few poker players out there who make contingency plans for when they inevitably bust from a live poker tournament. This seems strange considering that all but one of the players who buy into, say the partypoker World Poker Tour National London (WPTNUK) accumulator event, are going to crash out of the tournament at some point.
I’ve worked as a reporter at many major live poker tournaments, some have literally been in the middle of nowhere and all players could do after dusting off their chips was head back to their rooms and hope the sketchy WiFi was strong enough to allow them to stream a film. Others, such as the aforementioned WPTNUK, are held at a fantastic, bustling venue that you actually don’t mind busting from because there is so much to see and do.
In case you weren’t aware, the WPTNUK is held at Aspers casino at the Westfield Stratford City complex in London, which happens to be one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe; in fact it is the third-largest in the United Kingdom. But you’re not really interested in all of that are you? It’s not the size of it, it’s what you do with it that counts, or so they say. What you want to know is what you can do in Stratford if you’re not successful in your quest for becoming the latest WPTNUK London champion.
Thankfully, for those of you who prefer not to wonder around the British capital in the cold, Westfield Stratford City is more tightly packed with things to do than Kim Kardashian’s latex pants so you’re in luck if you end up being out of luck in the £100,000 guaranteed tournament taking place this weekend.
Food for thought
If like me, you like to stuff your face with tasty foods from around the world you are in luck because the Westfield Stratford City has 82 stores labelled as dining establishments. 82!
You’ll find all of your favourite fast-food chains here (and some that you’re not so keen on), and can eat fish and chips at the famous Harry Rasmden’s. There’s Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Kitchen, an Indian and Chinese eatery, the delicious Pho and Portuguese Godsend that is Nando’s – if you don’t like Nando’s then I don’t think we can be friends.
Aspers Casino is perfect for having that all-important post-tournament drink where you can tell the bar tender your collection of bad beat stories.
The Sky Bar is a great bar where you’ll find plush sofas, an extensive cocktail listing and superb live music during the weekend. Also at Aspers is the Tanzibar sports bar. Here you’ll find cinema-style seating and 27 wall-to-wall media screens showing live sporting events from around the world 24-hours per day.
Remember not to overdo it on the ale because there are some juicy side events for you to get stuck into over the course of the WPTNUK London festival.
Personally, I hate shopping but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating that others find mooching around therapeutic. I’ve already mentioned that Westfield Stratford City is massive. In fact it has 250 stores for you to go hammer the plastic in.
Treat yourself to some new threads of pretend that you’re on Bullseye by taking yourself to the Apple Store or Breitling and seeing what you could have bought yourself had you managed to reach the money places in the tournament.
Pleasure in your leisure
If eating, drinking or shopping don’t tickle your fancy then you’re left with playing casino games insde Aspers, heading to the cinema and taking your frustrations out on some inanimate objects by slinging a heavy ball at them – ten pin bowling of course.
The shopping complex is home to a 17 all digital screen Vue cinema and the All Star Lanes luxury bowling alley you can eat, drink and be merry until around 11pm each night!
What do you like to do when you bust from a major tournament? Let us know, and keep it clean, in the comments box below.