EPT London 2011

So I’m sitting at my work desk deliberating what to eat for lunch when I receive a phone call from Pokerstars telling me I had won the guest blogger competition to attend the final day of EPT London! Before I knew what had hit me my flight was booked and the following day I was sitting in the airport waiting to travel from Newquay to Gatwick, knowing that in less than three hours I was about to be at a Pokerstars party! To say I was excited would be an under-statement and the only words that I can think of to emphasise this are expletives and thus banned from this blog!

Anyway after discovering that it is possible to feel sea sick on a plane and that your last resort of salvation once getting lost in London is a taxi driver, I finally arrived at the location! After spending the first couple hours walking around with my jaw dropped to the ground like a hippopotamus and reeling off names in my head of players I had seen on TV or followed on Pokerstars, I relaxed and started to mingle with the players. Obviously after a few drinks everyone lets their guard down and once I grew in confidence and consumed enough alcohol to drown a small fish I thought it would be a wise idea to dive in an tell Jason Mercier how much of a legend I thought he was and that he was to poker what Wayne Rooney is to english football! I’m not sure he fully understood what I meant but he took it gracefully nonetheless. The one thing that truly amazed me was how many countries were represented; (French, German, Swedish, American, etc.) And it’s only when you experience it live that you fully recognise that poker has truly turned into a global game. On a quick side note;

Never try and guess what country a player is from. I thought I would be clever and decided to ask a player if he was French Canadian. Without getting into details the answer was a stern “no” and in fact it turned out he was English and his hometown was Chorley. Oops!

Moving on swiftly to the final table of the Main Event, the hand that I will always remember from EPT London will be the hand that KO’d Martins Adeniya. Adeniya and Benny Spindler held the two biggest stacks at the final table and they ended up flipping for the monster chip lead with Spindler holding 10 10 to Adeniya’s AK. The board ran out J83 2 J and the last remaining Brit was heading to the rails in a state of shock, and it left Spindler sitting on top of a stack that looked like a model version of Mount Kilimanjaro!

It wasn’t just Adenyia who couldn’t believe what had just happened the whole room was in shock. For about an hour afterwards the atmosphere felt like it was in a state of suspended animation. One by one the players and guests alike started to realise that on one hand Spindler was almost guaranteed to be heads up for the £750,000 first prize and the trophy, and on the other Adenyia had potentially just lost a flip worth an extra £664,000! As it turned out this is the correct assumption and although Spindler still had to finish off the job, he did it in a fearless style finally dispersing the never say die Steve O’Dwyer, (Benny’s AK to KJ) to take down his first title!

However it does make you make you realise that sometimes sport can be cruel and the margins between victory and defeat are that small it can be over in a blink of an eye. (Well maybe add an extra agonising couple of minutes for the dealer to rip your heart out!)

What impressed me the most about every single player at the EPT and especially those that made the final table was how well they handled themselves in the face of defeat! Hundreds of thousands of pounds were at stake and the admiration I have developed for these players is second to none. It makes me realise how everyone including myself should act not just on the poker table but life in general. Being able to visit the final day of EPT London is one of the best experiences of my life and although I would love to come back as a blogger, I’m hoping in the future that in fact it will be me sitting down at the final table of EPT London.

I would like to thank Pokerstars for giving me a great opportunity and good luck to everyone at the tables!

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