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Online Poker News Archives - November 4, 2004

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Copyright 2004 Newspaper Publishing PLC
The Independent (London)

November 4, 2004, Thursday


    THE BIGGEST ever redistribution of wealth on the European poker scene is about to take place, starting this weekend. Three major tournaments will be happening at the same time - in Blackpool, Amsterdam and Monte Carlo.

    A few years ago, before the online poker rooms had popularised the game, this might have diluted the attendances. Next week, however, all three are likely to be mobbed by players looking for a big pay-day.

    The Monte Carlo Millions at the Salon Francois Blanc is restricted to 72 players, all of whom either put up or won a $ 20,000 (pounds 11,000) package to participate. This was sold out almost a month in advance.

    Several Americans have overcome their fear of flying and will be in the starting line-up. These include the former world champion Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, John Juanda, Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey.

    As a side show, the quartet will be playing a heads-up match, one vs one, against the Hendon Mob - Joe Beevers, Ram Vaswani and the siblings Barny and Ross Boatman. At stake will be the small matter of $ 100,000 (pounds 55,000).

    Meanwhile, even bigger prize money will be on offer at the annual Master Classics of Poker at the Holland Casino, Amsterdam.

    Last year, more than pounds 1m changed hands and the winner of the main event, the Swede Johann Storakers, took home EUR243,000 (pounds 167,000). This year, the buy-in for the no limit hold'em affair has been increased to EUR5,000, about pounds 3,500, a hike of 66 per cent.

    Rather than deterring potential players, the increase is likely to have the opposite effect. The organisers have increased the field limit from 220 to 270 and spread the competition over three days rather than two.

    The forecast prize pool is around the pounds 700,000 mark, and the winner's purse is likely to top the pounds 250,000 mark for the first time. The support events will probably generate as much again, and an indication of the poker frenzy about to descend on the Dutch capital is that the opening competition was sold out two weeks ago.

    Stay-at-home Brits who don't fancy the idea of lobbing pounds 5,000-plus into a week of poker will be heading for the Northern Lights Festival at the Grosvenor Casino, Blackpool. Buy-ins during the series range from pounds 100, with the main event priced at a more modest pounds 500. Even so, about pounds 300,000 or so will change hands in the town, which is tipped to become the UK's Las Vegas.

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