Do you live in London, or are visiting and would like to know where the best poker tournaments can be played? Fortunately for you London has plenty of poker tournaments all year round, and the variety of tournaments is excellent. As you’ll also see in this article there are a few noteworthy tournaments that are held each year in London where the buy-in is high and the prize payouts life changing.
Top Casinos for tournaments
There are dozens of casinos in London that hold poker tournaments on a weekly basis and here are some of the top ones you should check out for the tournament schedule:
- Grosvenor casino: this casino also has an online website where they offer real money games. They are well managed and run poker tournaments to anyone who can put up the buy-in on a weekly basis. The quality of the poker tables and dealers is excellent as the establishment is run professionally. Located in the heart of London at Edgware Road it’s quite easy to get to if you’re a Londoner.
- Aspers Casino Westfield: one of the more recent casinos to have hit London is the Aspers Casino in the Westfield shopping center. Due to the fact that this casino is located in a shopping center, a decent amount of footfall reaches it. Consequently, it receives a fair share of recreational players which means the tournament fields will be soft.
- Hippodrome Casino: this casino is located in Leicester Square where all the action happens in London. It’s one of the more popular casinos in London and has a reputation for excellence and offering high quality games. It’s not a large casino so the size of the poker tournaments will be capped. However, for the quality of the establishment it’s worth playing there.
- Genting Casino Cromwell Mint: located next to the National History Museum in South Kensington this casino is also on the small side, but just oozes luxury when you visit it in person. It’s a great place to give poker tournaments a go if you are a veteran or just starting out for the very first time.
The casinos mention here is just some of what London has to offer. Explore the city for yourself and you might unlock a bunch of hidden gems that most do not know exist. Also via Facebook groups and other social media portals you can get in touch with people that run home game poker tournaments. This gives you a chance to make some new friends and enjoy poker action.
What to look for in a poker tournament
Poker tournaments are not created equally and you need to figure out how to select the right one. This ensures that you have the best chance of winning from a strategy point of view, and you also have the most fun. Here are the top points of consideration:
- Structure: the structure of a tournament determines how it will play in terms of tournament length and what the tournament dynamics are likely to be. So you need to pay attention to the blind length. Tournaments with low blind lengths equate to a structure where you’ll be forced to go all-in as the only move quicker than you’d like. Also the starting chip count is important – having more chips to play with is always great. This kind of information is typically available online or simply get in touch with the casino and ask for the tournament structure information.
- Number of players: each tournament will be capped by the number of players that can enter. This is typically determined by the number of tables a casino has available. More players equates to bigger prize pools. However, keep in mind that when you play a tournament with a smaller pool of players the chances of winning will be higher. Perhaps at first it’s best to get a few wins under your belt in smaller tournaments before you tackle the bigger ones.
- Buy-in cost: the cost of the entry fee can be anything from £10 all the way to £10,000. Select the entry feel level that you are comfortable with. It’s always wise to only gamble what you can afford to lose.
- Type of poker: while most poker tournaments will be in the No Limit Texas Hold’em variant, some might be Pot Limit Omaha, 7 Card Stud or 5 Card Draw. So you’ll need to pay attention to the little details before you register for a tournament.
Noteworthy tournaments in London
In the past there have been some great tournaments in London that deserve a mention. Here are some of the main ones:
- WSOPE in 2008: the World Series of Poker Europe was held in London in 2008. This was only the second year of the poker series and it was held at the Empire casino in Leicester Square. The tournament series was a success and a number of well-known professional poker players played in it such as Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda and Ivan Demidov.
- EPT London: in 2006 the European Poker Tour leg of London was won by Vicky Coren, who grew up playing poker in London. It is one of those stories that gives poker a lot of interest, because it’s like growing up on the streets of Manchester and ending up playing for a football club like Manchester United. It’s a dream come true. There were 398 players in total and earned a prize payout of £500,000. She then managed to repeat the amazing feat of winning an EPT tournament in Sanremo in 2014.
Pokerstars the online poker giant holds poker festivals all around the world and this includes London. At the Hippodrome casino in January of 2017 a number of events were held and the total guaranteed prize pool for the main event was £400,000. If you missed the tournament series then stay up to date to take advantage of it next time it comes round.