Hello and welcome to the World Poker Tour National London Main Event, which takes place at the fantastic Aspers Casino Westfield in Stratford City, London.
Just seven months ago, the area around this luxurious complex was bustling with the excitement of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Indeed, the casino is within a stone’s throw from the Olympic Stadium that was the home of the lavish opening and closing ceremonies. But today the excitement that is steadily building is a different type, there is a buzz around the place, a nervous energy that only poker tournaments can bring.
Stars of a different type
Today’s stars will not be sporting shorts and vests, nor will they be displaying their strength by throwing javelins or by breaking world records for sprinting faster than most people drive. Instead, the standard apparel with be sweat pants and hoodies, designer headphones and mirrored sunglasses and the signs of strength will be performed with the aid of colourful ceramic discs. There probably will not be a bicep in sight, but the players will be hoping to run rings around each other over the course of the day.
The £1,500+£150 buy-in WPT National London Main Event opens its doors at 14:00 and will keep its registration desk open until the end of the sixth 60-minute level. If players are to progress to Sunday’s Day 2 they will have to survive for eight 60-minute levels, with a 15-minute break after every other level and an hour long dinner break at the conclusion of Level 4. Those of you who are sat counting on your fingers in an attempt to figure out what time play will end, stop right now because we are helpful souls and we can tell you the players will be bagging and tagging their chips at around 23:30 this evening.
The perfect poker venue
Writing about poker has taken me around Europe where I have seen dozens of tournaments take place. I must stress that out of all of the tournaments I have frequented, none have been in such a perfect venue. The vast casino has table games galore – many of which have a minimum bet of just £0.10 – and downstairs there is a plethora of places to shop, there’s a cinema, a bowling alley and dozens of eateries to keep any unfortunate souls who bust out occupied. While the PartyPoker blogging team may not be in too much of a rush to sample the unknown delights of Tossed, we will almost certainly be devouring some Chinese and Indian street food over the next few days. Of course, we will report back to you on what we find!
Keep your browsers locked to the partypoker Blog from 14:00 where we will be bringing you all of the best bits from the WPT National London Main Event.