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Poker in the Pub

Spain, Las Vegas, and Beyond!

by Dave Brannan |  Published: Jun 01, 2007

The first season of Poker in the Pub comes to a close after the National Final in May, and it has exceeded all of our expectations. We now have more than 4,000 members and already have hosted eight successful regional finals, with an additional five taking place during May. We have learned some hard lessons along the way, but we are yet to make the same mistake twice, which is encouraging. We also can rest assured that if we do make a blunder, our players are certain to let us know. (I knew the forum was a bad idea!) We are now looking to build on the success of the opening year and really take pub poker to the next level. Regional Final prizes for the second season are going to be much more poker-related, with plenty of buy-ins to large tournaments around the UK. In effect, the nights are becoming free to play satellites in your local pub, which focus on people enjoying their poker.

As much as we love the UK, everyone likes a bit of sun once in a while, and with this in mind, Poker in the Pub will soon be launching on the Continent. Sun, sand, sangria, and poker are going to be the order of the day as we attempt to introduce the UK's most successful pub poker league to Spain.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the league is that from all of the venues that started playing, we can count on both hands the number that have dropped out. This shows that pub poker works from both a player and a pub perspective, and promises a rosy future for the newest pub craze around.

Many venues adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude when we first started the league last year, but these establishments can now see that poker is a great way to generate new business for their pubs, and they are coming on board. This influx of fresh new players is great news for the poker community as a whole, and really helps to bring this great game to the masses. Our players are certainly very enthusiastic, as we can see from the number of games they play and from reading their comments on the forum. Keep it up, folks!

It is great to witness new players coming to the game and gradually improving their play so that they are able to compete with the more competent practitioners of the pastime known as poker. It is always amusing watching an inexperienced player dish out one bad beat after another, as the people around them watch in disbelief. Recently I observed one such player romp to victory after playing pretty much every hand. His "piles of junk" ruled supreme, and looks of astonishment were abound as his 4-2 offsuit triumphed over pocket kings to take his bad beat count well into double figures for the evening. However, the odds always triumph in the long run, and I do not imagine that I will see another such performance for a good while.

Before we start thinking about season two and the sunny shores of Spain, we have to focus on our most high-profile event to date. The first Poker in the Pub National Final takes place at Birmingham's prestigious Broadway Casino in May, and we have pulled out all the stops to offer a fantastic prize package.

First place - Two return flights to Las Vegas, seven nights in the Golden Nugget, and $700 spending money

Second place - Two return flights to Las Vegas, seven nights in the Golden Nugget, and $300 spending money

Third place - One return flight to Las Vegas, seven nights in the Golden Nugget, and $100 spending money

These players will have conquered the UK, but can they best their American counterparts? In the first event of its kind, our lucky winners will be competing against a team of American pub poker players for a $1,500 tournament buy-in, sponsored by our friends at Card Player. Who will come away with the bragging rights? Who knows, perhaps in a couple of years we can have a pub poker Ryder Cup.

At the beginning of June, the lucky winners will be sitting on a Virgin plane heading for sunny Las Vegas. Once there, they will be able to rub shoulders with some of the game's greatest characters and sample the electric atmosphere that is generated by more than 10,000 poker enthusiasts descending on the same small strip of land in the middle of a desert. This is why we play. This is the World Series of Poker.

The winners will be staying at the luxurious and world-famous Golden Nugget Hotel. You can literally swim with the fishes in its $20 million swimming pool, complete with a 200,000-gallon shark tank. However, before they can start packing their swimwear, they will have to defeat the cream of the UK's pub poker players, and that promises to be no easy task.

For those players who have not yet qualified for the National Final, they have one more chance at the next Regional Finals. Players from across the UK will be battling it out in Glasgow, Birmingham, Lincoln, London, and Torquay for the chance to play for those luxury holidays to Las Vegas.

The new season kicks off straight after the National Final, with the first cards being dealt on Monday, May 21, 2007. If you would like to get involved, please visit the website at